Roast Spatchcocked Turkey with Gravy and Sausage and Herb Dressing

by Susan Hanna

I was a bit skeptical about this recipe from Canadian Living, but now it’s my go-to roast turkey recipe. Believe it or not, a 12-lb/5.4 kg spatchcocked turkey (one with the backbone removed and flattened) cooks in 90 minutes. It also cooks evenly, so the breasts don’t dry out by the time the legs are cooked. And butter and sage rubbed under the skin makes the meat even more moist and flavourful. Ask your butcher to spatchcock the turkey or do it yourself with a pair of kitchen shears. It does take some brute strength, but lean hard on the bird to flatten it. I spatchcocked the turkey a day in advance so I could use the backbone to make the stock for the gravy and refrigerate it overnight.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I use Imagine Organic brand stock, Ace Bakery bread, Craisins, Free From breakfast sausages and Gay Lea butter. For more recipes using all-natural ingredients, visit Eye For a Recipe.

Ingredients:

Turkey stock

  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) canola oil
  • Reserved turkey back, giblets and neck
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves (optional)
  • 1 900 ml pkg (30 oz) no-salt-added chicken broth

Stuffing

  • 1 loaf white bread , cut in 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes (about 20 cups/5 L)
  • ½ cup (125 ml) dried cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
  • 6 small breakfast sausages , casings removed
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) butter
  • 1 onion , chopped
  • 1 leek (white and light green parts only), chopped
  • ¾ teaspoons (3.75 ml) salt , divided
  • 2 cloves garlic , minced
  • ½ cup (125 ml) chopped parsley leaves
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) chopped sage leaves
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) thyme leaves
  • 2 cups (500 ml) no-salt-added chicken broth , warmed, divided
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) pepper

Turkey

  • 3 ribs celery , cut in chunks
  • 2 onions , cut in wedges
  • 10 sprigs thyme
  • 1 whole turkey (12 to 14 lbs/5.4 to 6.3 kg)
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 to 6 sage leaves (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) each kosher salt and pepper

Gravy

  • ¼ cup (60 ml) butter
  • 5 tablespoons (75 ml) all-purpose flour
  • Strained pan juices from roast spatchcock turkey
  • pinch each salt and pepper

Preparation:

Turkey stock

  1. In large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Roughly chop turkey back and neck into 2 to 3 pieces each; add to pot with giblets and cook, turning occasionally, until browned all over, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove to bowl. Add onion to pot; cook until golden, about 3 minutes. Return turkey bits and any juices to pot. Add bay leaves (if using) and chicken broth, scraping up browned bits. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer for 40 minutes.
  2. Strain through fine-mesh sieve into bowl. Skim off any fat on surface. (You should have about 4 cups/1L stock.)

Stuffing

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C). Mist 13- x 9-inch (33- x 22-cm) baking dish with cooking spray or brush with canola oil. Place bread on baking sheet; bake until lightly toasted, about 5 minutes. Let cool. Place bread and cranberries in large bowl.
  2. Meanwhile, in large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add sausages; cook, breaking up with wooden spoon, until browned, about 4 minutes. Transfer to bowl with bread mixture; stir to combine.
  3. In same skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion, leek and ¼ tsp (1.25 ml) of the salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, parsley, sage and thyme; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add ¼ cup (60 ml) of the chicken broth, scraping up browned bits. Scrape into bowl with bread mixture; stir to combine.
  4. In separate bowl, whisk together remaining 1 ¾ cups (438 ml) chicken broth, eggs, remaining ½ tsp (2.5 ml) salt and pepper until thoroughly combined. Drizzle over bread mixture, tossing until coated and egg mixture is absorbed. Transfer to prepared dish. Cover tightly with foil; bake until thermometer inserted in centre reads 165°F (74°C), about 20 minutes. Uncover and bake until top is golden and crisp, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool for 20 minutes before serving. Serves 12.

Turkey

  1. Position rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 450°F (232°C). Line large rimmed baking sheet with overlapping foil; scatter celery, onions and thyme over pan and set large rack over vegetables.
  2. Pat turkey dry with paper towel. Remove giblets and neck from turkey; reserve for use in gravy. Place turkey breast side down on cutting board. Using poultry shears, cut along each side of backbone; remove backbone and add to giblets and neck. Turn turkey breast side up. Press firmly on each half of turkey breast to flatten.
  3. Place turkey on rack on prepared pan, breast side up; tuck wing tips under. Loosen breast skin and rub butter between skin and flesh; slide in sage (if using). Brush turkey skin with oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Roast turkey for 70 minutes, covering with foil if browning too quickly.
  5. Reduce heat to 400°F (204°C); rotate pan and cook until instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of breast reads 170°F (77°C) and in thickest part of thigh reads at least 180°F (82°C), 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. Loosely tent turkey with foil; let rest at least 15 minutes before transferring to cutting board to carve. Carefully scrape vegetables and pan drippings through fine-mesh sieve into bowl; skim off excess fat and reserve pan juices for gravy. Serves 12.

Gravy

  1. In saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Sprinkle in flour; stir until light brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in ½ cup of the turkey stock until absorbed; whisk in ½ cup more stock until smooth. Gradually whisk in remaining stock; bring to boil. Reduce to simmer; cook until thickened slightly and reduced to 2 ½ cups, 20 to 25 minutes.
  2. Stir pan juices into gravy; bring to boil. Reduce to simmer; cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Stir in salt and pepper, but taste before seasoning; if you use flavourful stock and pan juices, you may not need added salt. Serves 12.

From Canadian Living