The act of cooking a turkey is quite intimidating, but there’s always a reliable solution to be found in the art of spatchcocking, as fully outlined in this recipe from SeriousEats. A spatchcocked roasted turkey ensures that both the white and dark meat are cooked evenly, the skin is delightfully crispy, and the entire operation is finished rather quickly, much to the delight of any nearby salivating dinner guests.
Spatchcocking is the traditional method of removing a turkey’s backbone in order to flatten its body before cooking it in the oven. This flatter shape ensures that the meat is cooking more evenly and more quickly, allowing the legs to reach a safe eating temperature without sacrificing the integrity of the breast by overcooking it. This method is an easy, reliable avenue to take if you want to impress your family with the juicy, moist turkey meat that lies beneath an incredibly crisp skin.
Ingredients for Spatchcocked Roasted Turkey:
- 3 large onions, roughly chopped
- 3 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
- 4 stalks celery, roughly chopped
- 12 sprigs of thyme
- 1 whole turkey (12-14 lbs), butterflied while preserving the backbone, neck, and giblets
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 ½ quarts low-sodium homemade (or store-bought) chicken or turkey broth
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons flour
Directions for Spatchcocked Roasted Turkey:
- Begin the process by adjusting the oven rack to the middle position as it preheats to 450°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet or broiler pan with aluminum foil and scatter about two-thirds of your onions, carrots, celery, and thyme sprigs across the pan’s bottom. Place the slotted broiler rack or wire rack directly on top of the vegetables.
- After patting the turkey dry with paper towels, rub all surfaces with 1 tablespoon oil and season it liberally on all sides with salt and black pepper. Tuck the turkey’s wings behind the back, and place the bird on top of the rack, arranging it so that it doesn’t overlap the edges. Then, press down on the breast bone to flatten the breasts slightly.
- Transfer the turkey to the oven and roast, rotating it occasionally until an instant-read thermometer registers at 150°F in the deepest part of the breast, and the thighs register at at least 165°F, all together about 80 minutes.
- While the turkey is roasting, make the gravy by roughly chopping the neck, backbone, and giblets. Heat your remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a 3 quart saucepan over high heat until it’s shimmering, then add the chopped turkey parts, and cook it while stirring occasionally. When it’s lightly-browned, after about 5 minutes, add your remaining onions, carrots, and celery, continuing to cook until the vegetables start to soften and brown in spots. After about five minutes, add your chicken stock and remaining thyme and bay leaves, bringing it all to a boil and reducing it to a bare simmer. Allow this to cook for about 45 minutes, wherein you’ll strain it all through a fine mesh strainer into a 2 quart liquid measuring cup. Discard any solids and skim off any noticeable fat from the broth’s surface.
- Melt your butter over medium-high heat in a 2 quart saucepan, add flour, and cook it, stirring until the flour is golden brown (about 3 minutes). Constantly whisking, add your broth in a thin, steady stream until it’s all incorporated, then bring it to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until it’s all reduced to about 1 quart. Season to taste with salt and pepper, cover it up, keeping your finished gravy warm.
- Once the turkey is cooked and removed from the oven, transfer it to a new baking sheet, and allow it to rest at room temperature for 20 minutes before you carve it. Carefully pour any collected juices through a fine-mesh strainer into a liquid measuring cup, skimming off excess fat and whisk it into your gravy.
- Carve your turkey, serve it alongside your gravy, and enjoy!
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