We love Turkey. Roasted is delicious, but what a pain sometimes. For many years, I would purchase that honkin’ bird, ya’ know, the 20 + pounder! Very awkward, not to mention that you’re suppose to cook the dark meat to a higher temperature than the white meat, how’s that? I notoriously get either the white meat dry as dust or the thighs were RAW!
A few years back, I was watching Food Network, you know the week before the holidays and they feature different personalities cooking all array of dishes and how to help de-stress it all. Ted Allen cooked up separate pieces of Turkey that he bought, but I went a step farther. I took a whole bird, a sharp knife, a pair of kitchen shears and went to work. That’s right, I channeled Julia Child and disassembled the Turkey the day before into the whole breast, thighs, and drumsticks, reserving the wings and back bone for stock. I just kept the parts in the ‘fridge until it was time to cook. Who’da thunk in? As a matter of fact, if you do a Web search, you’ll find several folks who have. Really though, it does cut down on a lot, not to mention buying the whole turkey is much less expensive than the parts. From there it’s pretty much the same way as you’d roast the whole bird:
Preheat to 425. Pat all of the parts very dry with paper towels. Place skin-side up on racks set in a roasting pan, being sure to leave space between the turkey parts to allow air to circulate. Pour 1 cup water into the pan. Drizzle the turkey parts with melted butter and scatter in some aromatics, sage sprigs, thyme, parsley, bay leaves, whatever you like. Bake until it just turns brown, about 30 minutes. Lower the temperature to 400. Continue roasting until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast (avoiding the bone) registers 165⁰ for the breast and 175⁰ for the thighs, about an 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes. Transfer the turkey parts to a platter and tent with foil.
Turkey, it’s not just for holidays
[Edit: since moving and getting a brand new kitchen, I find that my Natural Gas range cooks a bit differently. So, I would start “temping” the birdie after the first hour of roasting. At 1 1/2 hours of cooking, the breast meat was at 180⁰. Fortunately, it wasn’t too terribly dry, nothing some gravy doesn’t fix 😉 ]