A 14-pound Thanksgiving turkey? Roasted in less than 90 minutes? [Ed. note: You're really jumping the shark with this one.]
No, it's true! This turkey is truly a Thanksgiving life-saver. No wet brining (a nightmare) or basting (keep that oven door closed). Last week's "blog test" bird was so sumptuous the BF forgave me for not serving stuffing with it.
The secret: butterflying (a.k.a. spatchcocking) the bird and giving it a dry salt brine. You get a crispy, salty skin, juicy meat on the inside, and boy my brother Mike loves the word "spatchcock."
For directions on how to spatchcock a turkey, J. Kenji Lopez-Alt has the perfect walk-through here: www.seriouseats.com/2012/11/how-to-spatchcock-cook-turkey-thanksgiving-fast-easy-way-spatchcocked.html. The bird will have to be prepared this way before you make the dry salt and baking powder brine.
Last year for Thanksgiving, the BF and I hosted six guests and served a 14-pound spatchcocked turkey. Baked it at high heat for 85 minutes. The skin practically cracked when you picked at it, the meat was succulent and moist. This is now the one and only way I ever roast chicken or turkey.
Need further testimony? Serious Eats' Lopez-Alt explains, "Spatchcocking is a method of removing the turkey's backbone to flatten its body prior to putting in the oven. This flatter shape ensures that the meat cooks more evenly and more quickly, allowing the legs to reach a safe temperature without overcooking the breast. The result is hands-down the easiest, most reliable route to a juicy, moist turkey with incredibly crisp skin. It may not look like a traditional Thanksgiving centerpiece, but your tastebuds will certainly thank you."
The BF, Marlowe and I thank you and wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!
PS: A year ago we geared up for the holidays with this gingerbread roll with eggnog whipped cream (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/gingerbread-roll-with-eggnog-whipped-cream). Everyone wants a log. [Ed. note: From Blammo™.]
Adapted from: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, Serious Eats
Number of servings: 10-12
Directions - Butterflying/Spatchcocking Turkey
Ingredients - Dry-Brine (prepare 24-48 hours ahead of time)
Ingredients - Turkey
I probably drive the BF crazy [Ed. note: like no one else, and for some reason I can't help myself], but I start asking him to choose his birthday cake-dessert about a month before his birthday. Usually give a choice of some great found recipe that includes either apples, caramel, butterscotch or lemon. Love hunting for the perfect recipe, with the goal of getting his eyes to bug out.
These apple pie bars are a client favorite, and whenever I make them the BF ends up in the kitchen, plaintively staring and asking if there are "extras." [Ed. note: "Oh those were for the clients?"] Needless to say the dessert has become one of his favorites, so I decided to make it for his birthday in lieu of a traditional cake. This was a very special birthday, by the way. [Ed. note: #LOLOLD]
One of the great things about this dessert is the shortbread dough is used for both the bottom crust and crumble on top. (Meaning there's no pie crust to roll out.) As the brilliant Ina Garten likes to say, "How easy is that?"
To really send it over the top, drizzle the bars with gooey caramel (optional, but recommended). Perfectly okay to eat with your hands, or dish/bowl them up with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
In addition to offering an alternative to your everyday pedestrian cookie, these bars have another perk: they travel well. Simply wrap up the baking pan and cut the bars when you get to your destination. As for optimal portion size, Garten advises, "I cut the bars in fairly large 3 x 3-inch squares if I'm serving them on a plate with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side. If I'm serving them on a platter of small petits fours to pick up with your fingers, I'll cut them in smaller bite-size pieces."
PS: Speaking of Thanksgiving, a year ago we were thinking ahead with this whipped cranberry butter (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/whipped-cranberry-butter). Also, Adam Sandler sings!
PPS: Another client-approved holiday-time dessert, your friends and family won't know this yummy mini pumpkin cheesecake is sugar-free and low-carb. That is, unless you tell them. So don't. (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/mini-pumpkin-cheesecake-sugar-free-and-low-carb)
Adapted from: Ina Garten, Cooking For Jeffrey
Number of Servings: Makes one 9 x 13-inch pan
Pommes Duchesse. Sounds fancy. Looks fancy. But really, this is simply a fun way of "piping" mashed potatoes into a baking dish, just in time for the Thanksgiving countdown (in my book, never too soon).
These potatoes are an always-requested Thanksgiving staple in our household, and also a perfect accompaniment to any poultry or red meat (as one of our relatives is not fond of turkey). Another regular vegetarian guest annually asks, "You're making the potatoes, right?"
Looking more elegant than regular mashed, they work well for any special occasion, and aren't any more difficult to make. [Ed. note: Don't say this to your guests. Lie. Lie and tell them it took you months to prepare this and those ingrates should kiss the ground you walk on and okay I'll shut up.]
The original recipe calls for piping the potatoes into eight puffs of potato swirls. Those are glorious, and I've made them that way many times, but here I decided to freestyle the swirls and just make a decorative pattern in the baking dish. Either way you decide to do it, it's good.
If you don't have a pastry bag and a piping tip, just spoon the mashed potatoes into the baking dish and create decorative swirls with the tines of a fork. The end result will still be crispy on the outside and soft and buttery on the inside.
However you decide to present them, Pommes Duchesse will be an impressive addition to any holiday (or everyday) feast.
PS: A year ago we were feeling pretty healthy with this butternut squash soup with red curry croutons (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/butternut-squash-soup-with-red-curry-croutons).
Adapted from: Geoffrey Zakarian, The Kitchen (Food Network)
Number of servings: 8
I'm Jacquie, personal chef & recipe developer in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Lover of books, bourbon, chocolate and movies.