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This blog is designed to be used like a cookbook. I've put tags on each recipe so you can go to the section on that topic just by clicking on the word in the cloud or the list. Some recipes are under more than one category to help you find what you're looking for.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Spatchcocking a Turkey

First, let's take a moment to appreciate what a glorious word "Spatchccoking" is. I have no idea where the word came from.  It sounds vaguely Hungarian.  I had never heard of this technique until Elizabeth saw it in a Parade magazine a month ago and sent me the link with the thought, "What do you think?".  Ever the adventurous one, I agreed that we should give it a try.  And we are transformed, reformed, converted, ready to change our ways.

It does take a certain leap of faith and willingness to  change the way you cook.  You will not end up with a Norman Rockwell version of a turkey.  You will have a flattened version, much like if a truck ran over your turkey while you weren't looking. But the meat will be juicier and the bird will play well with others instead of hogging the oven. It cooks in half the time.

Here's what you do to spatchcock a turkey. 

First things, first:  Remember that turkeys are big birds. 
Basically, you remove the backbone and then lay the bird flat on a cookie sheet, as flat as you can get it.  The instructions I got called for kitchen shears but I knew better and got the biggest searrated knife I owned and the firmest grip I could muster and grabbed that bird with its tail in the air and it's wings holding balance on the counter and just reamed the knife down, sawing hard as I went.  You gotta watch not only the knife but the sharp edges of the bones as you cut through the rib cage.  Repeat the same process.  You're basically just cutting the back out, leaving the breast and wings as you are familiar with them.  You will need to cut through the breast center to flatten it; no need to cut through it completely, just enough to release it.  Pat around on the bird to assure yourself lyou have it as flat as you can get it.  Tuck the wings underneath themselves. 





Rub butter all over it.  Or olive oil.  Salt and pepper.

You will notice how big this bird is.  Turkeys are like that.  That's why we serve turkeys for big meals like Thanksgiving instead of chickens. You don't see anybody pigging out over a chicken. This presents a problem for your oven. 

You may not have, indeed--you probably will NOT have room for a big bird.  Instead, I got two small turkeys.  Here is a picture of one of them before and after:



 

I cooked them both at the same time.  Yes, there was room because they lay very flat and I used both shelves.  The recipe calls for 450 degrees for 90 minutes.  This sounds wrong but it works.  You can trust me.  I did it at my house, in my oven.  And you are looking at the picture of the turkey that came out of my oven set at 450 degrees.  This gave us a whole lot of extra time.  I cut up the turkey and covered it with foil and set it aside.  I think I set it in a roasting pan set on warm with a little water in the bottom for steam and let it rest there for about 30 minutes while we used the oven to heat the casseroles and the rolls.
 
I do believe this was the lowest stress Thanksgiving meal I've ever cooked.  And I am not known for my stress-free Thanksgivings. But they are tasty.

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