Yes, this is a recipe for a 1-hour turkey! This turkey isn’t for every family, especially if you have a grandma or other family member that craves the Norman Rockwell moment of a bronzed, whole turkey presented on a large platter.
Years ago, while in culinary school, my class asked our French-born chef instructor how he preferred to cook his Thanksgiving turkey. He pressed his lips and expressed he was very frustrated with the way Americans roasted their turkeys. Here are his three tips:
Never roast a whole turkey. A whole turkey takes a long time to roast in an oven, causing the breast to overcook before the legs finish. Breaking the turkey down more than cuts the cooking time in half, preventing a dry bird. I have my butcher prepare the turkey, cutting it into 6 pieces – 2 breast halves, 2 legs and 2 wings – and save the back, neck, wing tips and giblets for Simple Turkey Stock. This way no parts of the turkey go to waste and I get a delicious stock to flavor the pan drippings. I like to make my stock a day before I roast the turkey.
It’s called dressing. A stuffed turkey takes even longer to cook than an unstuffed bird. But since I don’t roast a whole bird it technically can’t be called stuffing, it’s dressing. I make my dressing in a 3-quart baking dish the night before and bake it while the turkey rests.
Serve turkey with jus, not gravy. Embrace the pan drippings from your turkey and serve those instead of a thick gravy. I cook the turkey on a cooling rack and pour wine and Simple Turkey Stock into the bottom of the pan. The liquid evaporates and concentrates during cooking and also mixes with the drippings from the bird. The turkey is well seasoned overnight with a dry brine so a light jus is perfect for serving.
1-Hour Roast Turkey
12 pound turkey, cut into 6 pieces (2 breast halves, 2 legs, 2 wings), back, neck, wings tips and giblets reserved for Simple Turkey Stock
6 cloves garlic, smashed
1/4 cup fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup fresh rosemary leaves
1/4 cup Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup sparkling wine, room temperature
3 cups Simple Turkey Stock, warmed and divided
Cranberry Ginger Compote, for serving
In a food processor combine garlic, thyme and rosemary and pulse until the garlic is minced and the herbs are of similar size. Add the salt and pepper and pulse a few times until well combined.
Gently slide your fingers under the skin of the 2 breast halves and 2 legs to loosen. Slide some of the herb and salt mixture under the skin. Rub the wings and the outside of the breasts and legs with the remaining mixture. Gently place turkey parts skin side-up on a rimmed baking or half sheet pan and place in refrigerator overnight, uncovered.
Remove turkey from refrigerator to sit at room temperature 1 hour before roasting. Preheat oven to 425 F and adjust rack to the middle row.
Place turkey parts skin side-up on a cooling rack and place the cooling rack back on the rimmed baking or half sheet pan. They will fit snuggly. Brush turkey with melted butter. Pour sparkling wine and 2 cups Simple Turkey Stock into the sheet pan under the turkey. Place turkey in oven and roast for 30 minutes. Rotate the sheet pan 180 degrees then reduce temperature to 375 F. Roast until breasts reach 150 F with an instant read thermometer, about 25 to 30 minutes more. Remove turkey from oven, place on a cutting board or platter and tent with foil for at least 15 minutes and up to 1 1/2 hours.
Meanwhile, remove cooling rack from sheet pan and pour pan drippings into a small saucepan. Set hot sheet pan on a level surface, such as two stove burners, and add remaining 1 cup Simple Turkey Stock. Use a wooden spoon to loosen any brown bits stuck to the pan. Pour liquid into saucepan with the rest of pan drippings.
Spoon off almost all of the fat from the pan drippings. Bring to a simmer and let bubble until it reduces and thickens slightly, about 5 to 15 minutes. The jus won’t be as thick as a traditional gravy but it will be very flavorful from the herb and salt rub. Add more Simple Turkey Stock if you find it too salty. Keep warm.
Carve turkey and serve on a platter with jus and Cranberry Ginger Compote.
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