Since I already love Amanda's spatchcock-braise-roast method for cooking chicken, I thought—why not turkey, too? I combined her method with AntoniaJames's recipe for Spatchcocked Turkey and Tom Colicchio's recipe for Butter-Roasted Turkey. The result is far and away the best turkey I’ve ever made—the meat is succulent and juicy, the skin is shatter-crisp, and best of all, the bird cooks in about half the time. I cooked my 13-pound turkey in a 14" x 20" x 3" roasting pan, which fit snugly into my home oven. It was more than enough for 8 people, with plenty of turkey remaining for leftovers. I cooked my bird for 2 hours and 15 minutes. —Cristina Sciarra
24 hours before you plan to cook the turkey, spatchcock the bird. (Reserve the neck and the wingtips—you’ll use them to make the gravy.) If you can get the farmer, turkey seller, or butcher to do this step for you, even better. Otherwise, you’ll need a strong arm, but I made it happen with a pair of poultry shears and a serrated bread knife. Then, rinse the turkey well and pat it very dry. Salt the turkey all over with 2 tablespoons kosher salt. Lay the bird flat (breast side up) on a baking sheet. Tent it just slightly with plastic wrap, and move it to the bottom shelf of the refrigerator.
9 hours before you plan to cook the turkey, take the butter out of the refrigerator, and place it in a small bowl on the counter. Leave it to soften.
8 hours before you plan to cook the turkey, blitz 1 tablespoon kosher salt, the fennel seeds, the lemon zest, the thyme leaves, the rosemary, and the black pepper in a food processor for about 30 seconds. Mix the spice-and-herb blend with the softened butter. Rub the seasoned butter all under the skin of the turkey, making sure to get into every nook and cranny. Move the turkey back into the refrigerator, this time without plastic wrap. (You want the skin to dry out a little.)
1 hour before you plan to cook the turkey, remove it from the refrigerator.
30 minutes before you plan to cook the turkey, turn on the oven to 425° F.
Dice the onion, the green apple, the fennel bulb, and the carrot. Scatter the vegetables inside the bottom of the roasting pan you’ll be using. Meanwhile, bring the apple cider, the turkey stock, and 1 cup water to a simmer, and then add that to the roasting pan, too. Move the turkey (breast side-up) into the roasting pan, on top of the vegetables, cider, and stock.
Move the turkey into the oven to roast. As a general rule, cook the turkey for 10 minutes per pound (I roasted my 13-pound bird for 2 hours and 15 minutes). Cook until the internal temperature of a turkey leg reaches 165° F, and then let the bird rest, uncovered, for about 1 hour. If the skin looks like it is getting too dark in the oven while cooking, just cover the darkening parts with a bit of tin foil.
Cristina is a writer, cook, and day job real estate developer. She studied literature, holds an MFA in Fiction Writing, and completed the Basic Cuisine course at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. She lives in Jersey City with her husband--a Frenchman she met in Spain--and their sweet black cat, Minou. Follow her writings, recipes, publications and photography at theroamingkitchen.com.