An Autumn dish of Turkey and Root Vegetables with Syrah

By Forming a Flavor Bridge


As many of you know I adore Nebbiolo, and have a soft spot in my heart for aged California Cabernet. What may be surprising to many is that Syrah is locked in a desperate struggle with Sangiovese for the third spot on my list of favorite wines.

I have been on a bit of a Syrah kick lately. Some of that is due to the fact that I have been tasting quite a few for next week’s Spotlight on Syrah email which will be sent out on Tuesday.  More importantly perhaps is that Syrah is simply a superb match for my Autumn Table.

From stews, to roasts, with plenty of root vegetables in the mix, my foods of fall tend to be rich, but not to weighty, and full of deep, layered, earthy flavors.  This past weekend I had some Syrah, young and old, laying about so I turned to the kitchen to use a bit up and create a dish that captures some of the trademark notes of the wine, bacon fat and black olives, forming a brigde between the dish and the wine.

What to expect: Syrah

One of the few grapes to really be a global success. Syrah combines a meaty core of ripe berry fruit, with tones that range from herbal to peppery, in a package that tends to be medium bodied with good acidity and moderate tannins. With age the wines can gain lovely leathery and black olive notes that make them a great match for savory and gamy dishes.

Bacon Fat and Black Olives: Classic Syrah descriptors

Find Ogier's La Rosine
Ogier’s La Rosine is a mini Cote Rotie, of sorts.  Though the grapes  come from vineyards that lay between Cote Rotie and Condrieu, this 100% Syrah wine shares many traits with Ogier’s Cote Rotie. In it’s youth it exhibits typical Northern Rhone Syrah notes of grilled meats, red plum fruits and floral tones. With age the fruit melds into the background and  reveals layers of spice, earth, leather, and of course bacon fat and black olives.

Roasted Turkey and Root Vegetables with the Essense of Syrah
This is a simple, one dish meal that combines roasted root vegetables with Turkey thighs. It's a recipe that would work well with gamy meats like Duck and Wild Boar as well, since it is formulated to work particularly well with Syrah. If you are not serving Syrah, fear not. This recipe works well with almost any dry wine, white or red. I have used virtually the same recipe, substituting Chicken and Pinot Gris for the Turkey and Syrah, with great results.

To download a printable PDF file of this recipe please follow this link.

Roasted Turkey Thighs with Aromatic Root Vegetables.


3 pounds of Turkey Thighs, about 4 pieces in my case
1 lb Parsnips, sliced on the bias into ½ inch coins
1 lb Carrots, sliced on the bias into ½ coins
1 lb Rutabaga, quartered and sliced into ½ inch slices
10 garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons Fresh Thyme leaves
1 tablespoon Minced fresh Rosemary
1 tablespoon Kosher Salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ lb thick sliced bacon, cut into ¼ inch strips
1 cup wine (I used Syrah)
24 Moroccan cured black olives, halved


  1. Preheat oven to 475 °F with rack in middle.
  2. Blend together the olive oil, fresh herbs, salt and pepper.
  3. In a roasted pan toss the vegetables with the oil mixture and spread the vegetables out into an even layer.
  4. Layer the Turkey thighs, skin side up, over the vegetables.
  5. Put the roasting pan into the oven.
  6. After 20 minutes remove the pan and add the bacon to the vegetable mixture tossing to combine., and keeping the Turkey thighs skin side up on top.
  7. Replace the pan in the oven and reduce heat to 350 °F.
  8. Bake for an additional 15 minutes, then remove pan from oven and add the wine and the olives to the vegetable mixture, tossing thoroughly to combine.
  9. Return to the oven and bake an additional 20 to 25 minutes. Once the turkey thighs are cooked through (165 on an instant read thermometer) remove the pan and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
  10. Plate each Turkey thigh than add some of the vegetables as an accompaniment and drizzle the juices over the thigh to complete the plate.

Mentioned in this article


  • Snooth User: Gantt Hickman
    Hand of Snooth
    168755 721

    I think I might have to give this a try. Syrah is also one of my favorites which I think you know.

    Oct 30, 2009 at 2:05 PM

  • Snooth User: dmcker
    Hand of Snooth
    125836 5,000

    Great recipe, Greg. I have a weakness for olives with poultry (and even the turnip family), and syrah definitely goes well with that combination. Time to add turkey to the repertoire!

    Oct 30, 2009 at 3:17 PM

  • A favourite for the Australian Christmas table is cold turkey and a sparkling shiraz - Rockford Black Shiraz would be a great example.

    Oct 30, 2009 at 4:03 PM

  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
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    Thanks everyone. I like the idea of Sparkling Shiraz with leftovers!

    Oct 30, 2009 at 7:01 PM

  • Snooth User: dmcker
    Hand of Snooth
    125836 5,000

    So Greg, is Zin in 5th place?

    Oct 30, 2009 at 8:10 PM

  • Snooth User: Nimasu
    268844 4

    Love roasted veggies -- will definitely try this!

    Oct 31, 2009 at 11:08 AM

  • Snooth User: thewineattic
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    163357 298

    I will try Syrah with my turkey. I usually have something like a dry rose or pinot noir. So I am looking forward to a change. Thanks also for the great recipes.

    Nov 02, 2009 at 1:22 PM

  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
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    Zin might very well be number 5ish!

    Nov 03, 2009 at 11:04 AM

  • Snooth User: gasgirl
    253410 5

    What turkey breast instead? Does that change the dish too much?

    Nov 03, 2009 at 7:14 PM

  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 238,748

    Don't know. I've never made it with Turkey breast. Which is only partially true. I originally made this dish with a cut up wild turkey. In that case it worked well. The wild turkey has a much smaller breast which is moister. I would be concerned about the breast drying out if you followed this technique but with a few modifications it could be done.

    Nov 04, 2009 at 9:04 AM

  • Snooth User: jmbailey
    297268 3

    I just wrote an article on another site about wine pairings with Root vegetables and suggested a Rose of Syrah (for a strictly veggie dish). Syrah definitely has a great flavor profile for the earthiness and subtle fruit in beets, and other delicious root delicacies...good call!

    Nov 11, 2009 at 6:48 PM

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