Tag Archives: turkey gravy

Spatchcock Your Way on Thanksgiving Day -Crisp Skinned Butterflied Roast Turkey

Thanksgiving is just a few days away now and you probably already have a plan of what you are going to do if you are hosting dinner this year or just staying home. I’m traveling this Thanksgiving so we won’t be cooking anything here, but with such a good deal on turkeys right now I couldn’t resist picking up a couple and used one this weekend to have a new turkey recipe to show for this week. If you have a smaller turkey for your meal (about 10 to 12 pounds would be small), there is a great way that you can cook your turkey, have it done in about 2 hours and have super crispy skin to go with perfectly cooked meat. If you have never tried spatchcocking a turkey before, it can seem a little intimidating at first, but all you really need is a cutting board, some poultry shears and a couple of good knives and you can make it all happen. You can also ask your butcher to do it for you if you happen to have one that you like. I decided this would be the easiest way to make our trial run turkey and came across this recipe from Serious Eats for an herb-rubbed, crisp-skinned butterflied roast turkey. I liked the recipe, but to be honest the herb rub did not overwhelm me, so I eliminated it, and went with this basic option, also from Serious Eats, that uses some basic salt, pepper and vegetable oil instead, and went ahead with this recipe. You could certainly use the herb rub if you like and follow the link for the original recipe.

Crisp Skinned Butterflied Roast Turkey

3 large onions, roughly chopped

3 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped 

4 stalks celery, roughly chopped 

12 thyme sprigs

1 whole turkey (12 to 14 pounds total), butterflied, backbone, neck, and giblets reserved

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 quarts homemade or store-bought chicken or turkey broth

2 bay leaves

3 tablespoons butter

4 tablespoons flour

To butterfly the turkey, pat the turkey dry with paper towels, then place it breast-side-down on the cutting board. Holding it firmly with one hand, make a cut along one side of the backbone, starting down near where the thighs meet the tail.Continue cutting, working your way around the thigh joint until you’ve snipped through every rib bone and completely split the turkey up to the neck. Use your hands the spread the turkey open slightly. Be careful, the snipped bones can be quite sharp.Make an identical cut along the other side of the backbone. This cut is a little trickier, so make sure not to get your fingers in the way of the blade. Using a clean dish towel or rag to hold on to the bird will make it easier to keep control.There may or may not be a large excess hood of fat up near the neck. If it’s there, remove it. If you wish to make carving even easier, the wish bone can also be removed by making a thin incision with the tip of a paring knife or boning knife along both sides of it, and pulling it out with your fingers.

Turn the turkey over onto what once was its back, splaying its legs out in a manner that can only be described as inappropriate. Press down hard on the ridge of the breast bone. You should hear a couple of cracks, and the turkey should now rest flatter. Flatter is better for even cooking and crisper skin.Tuck the wing tips behind the breast. This step is not strictly necessary, but it’ll prevent your turkey from looking like it wants to give you a high-five as it roasts.

Adjust oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 450°. Line a rimmed baking sheet or broiler pan with aluminum foil. Scatter 2/3rds of the onions, carrots, celery and thyme sprigs across the bottom of the pan. Place a slotted broiler rack or wire rack directly on top of the vegetables.

Pat the turkey dry with paper towels and rub it on all surfaces with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Season the turkey liberally on all surfaces with salt and black pepper (if using a brined, salted, or Kosher turkey, omit the salting step). Place the turkey on top of the rack, arranging it so that it does not overlap the edges, pressing down on the breast bone to flatten the breasts slightly.


Transfer the turkey to the oven and roast, rotating occasionally, until an instant read thermometer inserted into the deepest part of the breast registers 150°, and the thighs register at least 165°, about 80 to 90 minutes.


While the turkey roasts, make the gravy. Roughly chop the neck, backbone, and giblets. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a 3-quart saucepan set over high heat until the oil is shimmering. Add the chopped turkey parts and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining onions, carrots, and celery and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to soften and brown in spots, another 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock, remaining thyme, and bay leaves. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce the heat to a bare simmer. Allow the stock to cook for 45 minutes, then strain it through a fine mesh strainer into a 2-quart liquid measuring cup and discard the solids. Skim off any fat from the surface of the broth.


Melt the butter over medium-high heat in a 2-quart saucepan. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly until the flour is golden brown, about 3 minutes. Whisking constantly, add the broth in a thin, steady stream until it is all incorporated. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce it to a simmer, and cook the gravy until it is reduced to about 1 quart, about 20 minutes longer. Season to taste with salt and pepper, cover, and keep the gravy warm.


When the turkey is cooked, remove it from the oven and transfer the rack to a new baking sheet. Allow the turkey to rest at room temperature for about 20 minutes before carving. Carefully pour any collected juices from out of the roasting pan through a fine-mesh strainer into a liquid measuring cup. Skim off the excess fat and discard. Whisk the juices into the prepared gravy.

To begin carving, start by cutting off the first leg by slicing through the joint where the thigh meets the body. Next, find the joint between the thigh and the drumstick by rotating the drumstick back and forth. Cut through the joint with your knife, then repeat the process with the other leg. Remove the wings by locating the ball joint near the top of the breast and working the knife through it. The wings can be left whole or further separated into drumettes and flats by cutting through the first joint. Hold the breast firmly in place with one hand. A clean kitchen towel can help if you have a slippery grip or fingers sensitive to heat. Then slice down one side of the breast, using the tip of the knife to follow the contour of the bone. Continue using the tip of the knife so slowly work the meat away from the breast bone, pulling outwards at it with finger tips to separate the meat from the bone. Again, a clean towel can help if you have sensitive fingers. As you continue to slice, the breast should fall away in one complete piece. Make sure you take the tenderloin along with it. Repeat the process for the other side.

You now have two breast halves, two drumsticks, two thighs, four wing pieces, and one carcass from which to pick meat for leftovers soup. To continue cutting the breast into serving pieces, slice each breast into even slices on a bias. The hip bone is still attached to the back of the thighs and must be removed. To do this, pick up the flat bone from one side and shake it gently back and forth until the thigh bone pops out of its socket. Pry away the hip and save it along with the carcass for soup. Cut along one side of the thigh bone with the tip of your knife, removing as much meat as possible along that side. Repeat on the other side of the bone. Save the bone along with the rest of the bones for soup.Slice the dark meat across its width into thin serving portions and add it, along with the other meat, to a warm platter and serve the turkey with the gravy.

It may seem like it is complicated, but trust me it isn’t. I was able to butterfly the turkey without any trouble and it comes out perfectly, with the crispest turkey skin you might ever get. The carving does take a little getting used to, especially if you are accustomed to doing it a traditional way, but once you get into it, it goes pretty smoothly. I had an easy time with the breast meat, but the thighs were a bit of challenge. However, it is great to be able to cook a turkey this quickly so you do not have to spend countless hours cooking and if you prepare your sides ahead of schedule you will have no trouble getting dinner on the table just when you want it. The gravy, by the way, comes out fantastic. The rich stock you make while the bird is cooking is perfect for gravy and makes the meal.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!


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Posted by on November 21, 2016 in Cooking, Dinner, Gravy, Uncategorized


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The Perfect Roast Turkey? It Seems Pretty Darn Close

It seems like there are dozens of different ways to make your Thanksgiving turkey and hundreds of different recipes out there to suit whatever need, ingredients or things you may want to try when it comes to the turkey. For me, roasting a turkey doesn’t get much better. Since I am not hosting Thanksgiving this year, Michelle decided she would like to have a turkey dinner to help celebrate her birthday this past weekend. Now I didn’t really need a recipe to make the turkey, but I came across this method from Saveur Magazine that professed to make the perfect roast turkey, so I figured I would give it a try to see how it worked out.

Perfect Roast Turkey and Gravy

1 13-14 pound fresh turkey

2 tablespoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 cups homemade chicken or turkey broth

3/4 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth

2 tablespoons brandy

4 tablespoons fat from the roasting liquid or butter

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

4 cups warm turkey or chicken broth

Remove the giblets from the turkey and refrigerate them for a later use. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels. Sprinkle the kosher salt and black pepper liberally all over the turkey, spreading a little in the turkey cavity and being sure to season the back, breasts and thighs. Arrange the turkey on a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate, uncovered (this will help to dry out the skin, giving you a crisper skin during the roasting) for one to two days.

Remove the turkey from the refrigerator about two hours before roasting to take the chill off the bird. This will help it to cook more evenly. Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Tuck the turkey wings behind the neck and tie the tips of the drumsticks together with kitchen twine. Arrange the turkey breast side up on a rack set in a sturdy roasting pan. Pour 1 1/2 cups of the turkey or chicken broth into the bottom of the pan and slide the turkey into the oven, immediately lowering the heat to 350 degrees. Let the turkey roast for 2 1/2 to 3 hours total, rotating the pan after about 1 1/4 hours. Meanwhile, combine the remaining broth with the giblets in a saucepan over medium heat. Simmer gently, partially covered, until the giblets are tender, about 45 minutes. Remove the giblets, saving them to add to the gravy later, and keep the broth warm.

Baste the turkey by spooning pan drippings over the breasts every 45 minutes. If you notice the breasts or drumsticks getting too dark, cover them loosely with aluminum foil during the last 30 to 45 minutes of roasting. The turkey should cook at a rate of about 13 minutes per pound. To check the doneness, pierce the meaty part of thigh with a sharp knife and check that the juices run mostly clear with only a trace of pink. Don’t wait for them to become perfectly clear; this may br a sign that the turkey is already overdone. To double-check yourself, insert an instant-read thermometer into the thigh, being careful not to hit the bone; it should read 170 degrees.

When the turkey is done, grab both sides of the roasting rack with oven mitts to lift and tilt the turkey and let the juices pour from the cavity into the pan. Set the turkey aside, tenting it very loosely with foil, to rest for at least 30 minutes while you make the gravy. Pour all the liquid from the roasting pan into a heatproof bowl or 1-quart measuring cup and set it aside. Set the roasting pan over 2 burners at medium-high heat and add the white wine or vermouth and the brandy. Bring to a boil, scraping with a wooden spoon to dissolve any cooked-on bits and return the reserved liquid to the roasting pan. Boil, stirring often, until the liquid is reduced to nearly half, about 8 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside.

Once the liquid from the roasting pan has settled, spoon off and transfer the surface fat to a medium saucepan to make a roux for your gravy. If you can get 4 tablespoons of fat from the surface, use that; if not, you can make up the difference by using some butter. Heat the fat over medium-low heat and whisk in 1/3 cup of flour until it is smooth. Cook for about 4 minutes, until the roux is a light amber color, and then gradually whisk in the reserved pan drippings. Bring the mixture to a simmer and slowly whisk in 4 cups of the warmed broth. Let the gravy simmer and thicken, whisking occasionally, for about 15 minutes (or longer if you want a thicker gravy). For a hearty giblet gravy, finely chop the neck meat along with the gizzard and the heart and stir it into the finished gravy. Season the gravy with salt and pepper to taste and keep the gravy warm while you carve the turkey.

I don’t know if this is the perfect roast turkey, but I have to say if it isn’t it’s pretty darn close. I had never salted the turkey like this before, but it did seem to help the bird when it came to retaining moisture and juice and it wasn’t too salty, though we did find that you don’t really need to add much salt, if any at all, to the gravy because the pan drippings had plenty. The bird was perfectly browned and moist and the gravy was wonderful. Saveur does provide a method for making your own turkey broth ahead of time using turkey parts that you can buy, but I didn’t do this and just used chicken stock that I had instead and I think it turned out fine. I think you could certainly substitute store-bought chicken or turkey broth to save you some time if you don’t want to make your own turkey broth.

That’s all I have for today. I have lots of other recipes that are perfect for Thanksgiving as I made a lot of side dishes to go along with this turkey, so check back all week for some great ideas on ways to make turnip casserole, Brussels sprouts, maple glazed carrots, sausage, apple and sage stuffing, creamed pearl onions, some great appetizers like broccoli dip in a bowl and meatball sliders and a lemon layer cake I made for dessert. Check back and see what comes up next. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!




Posted by on November 11, 2013 in Cooking, Dinner, Gravy, Holidays, Poultry, Turkey


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