Thanksgiving Turkey the Easy Way!

Thanksgiving is for remembering all we are thankful for, including our family and friends. For me, it seems the food we enjoy at Thanksgiving always triggers good memories from the past, too.  I love a golden, roasted Turkey with homemade gravy, fruit salad, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, green beans, and of course, PIE!  For us it is the start of the holiday season.

While the results of hours of cooking are gobbled down in what seems like minutes, the leftovers make the effort worth it even more, right?  I am already looking forward to turkey enchiladas, pot pie, baked pasta, stir fry, toasted turkey and Swiss cheese on rye, and the other last-minute meals we will make from the leftovers.

But this year, my husband and I have been traveling a lot and work has been really busy, so we are going to take a page out of Giada’s holiday book for Crispy Truffled Turkey and make an amazing turkey a fast way.  You may ask, how do I know it will be amazing?  Well the answer is easy.  I already tried out the recipe after being inspired by an episode of Giada’s show.  (Thanks Giada!  You get all the credit.)  When I did the trial run, I didn’t have any truffle salt, truffle butter, and I was super short on time, so I made a couple of modifications to the recipe, but the result was still incredible.  The turkey was ready fast (in turkey time) and was really moist, golden brown, and delicious!

(This photo was taken a few minutes before the turkey was ready, and it was already a beautiful golden brown!)

After watching the episode of Giada’s show where she made her Crispy Truffled Turkey, I was motivated to see if I could really roast a golden, moist turkey in under an hour and a half like she did.  (I believe the show may have originally aired in an earlier season.)  Her recipe decreases the cooking time by spackcocking the turkey, which means you remove the backbone and essentially flatten the turkey.

I made a few changes to the recipe based on available ingredients and time, but the results were still amazing.  So, here is what I did, but you should definitely also check out Giada’s Crispy Truffled Turkey, which was my inspiration.

First, I went to the store looking for a fresh whole turkey (no time for thawing), but they didn’t have one.  Instead, they had a fresh, whole bone-in turkey breast, along with separate turkey thighs and legs.  That gave me the idea that I could just use the pieces of turkey and the recipe would be even easier.  No need to spackcock the turkey because it was already in pieces that could be laid out on a sheet pan.  All I needed to do was crack the breastbone on the underside of the turkey breast so that it would lie flatter.  First part of the mission accomplished.

Next I realized that I didn’t have time for the recommended 12 to 24 hours for the dry rub to sit on the refrigerated turkey, and I didn’t have the black truffle salt called for in the recipe.  But I did have Kosher salt and time to apply a dry rub consisting of salt, thyme, and red pepper flakes (3 Tablespoons kosher salt, 1 teaspoon fresh, chopped thyme leaves, and 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes).  I dried the turkey’s skin with paper towels and then rubbed the dry rub mixture on all sides of the turkey pieces.  I let the dry rub soak in while the turkey rested at room temperature for about 30 minutes and while the oven heated to 450 degrees F.

While the turkey rested, I scattered celery and carrot pieces, fresh rosemary sprigs, and a quartered onion on a rimmed baking sheet (3 celery stalks cut into thirds, 2 carrots cut in half, 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, and 1 onion cut into quarters).

After the turkey rested for 30 minutes, I placed the pieces of turkey skin-side up on top of the veggies on the baking sheet.  Then I patted the turkey dry with paper towels, being careful not to remove all of the red pepper flakes.  Now it was time to cover the turkey in melted butter.  I didn’t have any truffle butter like Giada used, so I substituted 2 Tablespoons of melted butter and combined it with the 2 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.  I poured the mixture over the turkey and then used a brush to spread the oil and butter mixture evenly over the top of all the pieces of turkey.

I then roasted the turkey in the 450 degree F oven until a thermometer read 155 degrees F in both the thigh and the thickest part of the breast.  It only took about 1 hour 10 minutes to 1 hour and 20 minutes, but you should definitely start checking the temperature even earlier.

It is important to let the turkey rest about 20 minutes before carving.  You can use the juices for adding flavor to your gravy too!

While I didn’t follow all of Giada’s instructions due to time constraints and missing ingredients, the results were still spectacular.  Jeff said it was one of the best turkeys we have ever had, and we have had some really good ones.  Therefore, this week we will be repeating this recipe for our Thanksgiving dinner.  It was fast, easy, and a winner!

We wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and hope you too have dreams of turkey, cranberries, and pie dancing in your head!

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