Sunday, November 22, 2015

Thanksgiving Spatchcocked Turkey with Gluten Free Gravy

I remember making my first Thanksgiving Turkey when I was a teenager and it felt like I got up in the middle of the night to start things. It was obviously a big turkey and my family wanted to celebrate with a late lunch.  That Turkey took 6 hours to roast   I was terrified and that it wouldn't turn out right and t remember basting and basting that thing. The good news was that it turned out well, especially considering we previously had dried out store bought cooked Turkeys, so there wasn't any real competition. Everybody was happy, but I've been looking for a faster way to make Turkey ever since!  

Last year, I decided to try Spatchcocking the Turkey and it was wonderful! The Turkey cooked in about half the time and because more of the skin was showing, it browned up crisp and really tasty all over - enough for everybody!  There were still plenty of juices to add to the gravy and because I cut out the backbone, I had Turkey Broth made by the time the bird was done.  

Spatchcocking is really easy.  You take a big pair of kitchen shears and cut out the backbone on both sides. Then save it to make Turkey Broth and then Gravy.  I did this on the large sheet pan. Then you turn the Turkey over and arrange the legs so that it looks like the knees are touching and you press down hard on the breast until you hear a crack. Then you rub Olive Oil or melted Butter all over and season it as you like. I prefer Lawry's Seasoned Salt mixed with a little Garlic Powder and I probably always will.  You can get as fancy as you like. You can put the Butter with Sage Leaves under the skin and you can use any other herb or seasoning combination that you like. You also cook it on fairly high heat so it takes as long as roasting a chicken.  

Spatchcoking works for me since I no longer stuff the Turkey. I make Gluten Free Cornbread Dressing (previous post) or Sausage and Gluten Free Bread and Sausage Stuffing (see Stuffed and Baked Delicata Squash but double the recipe). And, I no longer have to get up early to make the Turkey - it only takes about  1 1/2 hours!  I'm posting this before Thanksgiving to encourage you to try roasting a Turkey this way.  For those of you in the US, I hope you have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Spatchcocked Turkey

1 12 pound fresh Turkey
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 teaspoons Lawry's Seasoned Salt (can also use just plain Salt or other Seasoning Mixture)
1 teaspoon Garlic Powder

For Turkey Broth and Gravy:

Turkey Back and Neck (roasted or unfrosted)
3 cups Water
1/2 Yellow Onion
1 Carrot, Chopped
1 Celery Stalk, Chopped
Salt to Taste
1/4 Tablespoons Cornstarch mixed with 1/3 cup Water

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. In a small bowl, mix together the Seasoned Salt and Garlic Powder.  Put the Turkey on a large Jelly Roll Pan.  Turn over and cut out the back bone down both sides with a strong pair of Kitchen Shears. Turn the Turkey over and press down on the breast bone until you hear a loud crack (you may have to press several times). Rub oil all over the Turkey and then sprinkle with the Seasoning Mixture.  Put into the oven and cook for 30 minutes.  Baste and reduce oven to 350 degrees. Cook for another 45 - 60 minutes more, basting one more time or until a Meat Thermometer reads 165 degrees in the thickest part of the Thigh. Start checking after one hour of cooking. Let rest for 15 - 20 minutes before carving.

Meanwhile, add Turkey Back and Neck to 3 cups of Water in a pot. Add 1/2 of a whole onion.  Add neck if desired as well although I usually roast it and then add it after for about 10 minutes at the end for a better flavor. Once the broth is done, strain and put back into the pot. Then, pour off the Turkey drippings from the pan making sure you scrape of the crusty bits and then strain the fat. Add drippings to the broth. Taste for salt level and add more if necessary.  Turn on heat and bring to a boil.  Add half of the Cornstarch slurry and cook until thickened. If it is not thick enough, add the rest of the Cornstarch Mixture and cook for a few minutes longer.

Five Element Analysis

Turkey is considered part of the Wood Element, like most fowl and none of the Seasoning add much of the other Elements. Luckily, Turkey is the main dish so be sure to add lots of side dishes, like Mashed Potatoes for the Earth Element to put the gravy on, cranberry sauce and/or a Green Salad that adds the Fire Element. Dressing with Pork Sausage or Oysters that contributes the Water Element and all the rest of the classic dishes that we serve here in the US to make a Five Element feast!

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