45 Minute Turkey…Really?

With the stores being full of turkeys this time of year, I’ve made it one of my goals to become better acquainted. Not that I’m not an entire noob when it comes to birds mind you, as I’ve got a pretty solid one-two punch, but there seems to be so many family traditions. While I’d love to have deep enough pockets to try everyone’s suggestions, it’s just not the case. And in fact, sometimes we just don’t have the time. Which is where I think this recipe fits perfectly. 45 minutes!

That’s all Mark Bittman tells you it will take in this handy dandy video. In fact, if you actually watch the process, it comes out even earlier. Too good to be true? Let us find out. I stopped by Superstore on my way home from work as I’d seen a solid pile of both fresh and frozen birds. Grabbing a basic fresh utility turkey, cost was about 20 bucks, I headed to the produce section and grabbed onions, garlic, celery, carrots, herbs and a lemon. Heading home, I watched and then watched again, while simultaneously reading the directions. Snipping out the back bone was easy, but I did find the whole ‘pushing down with all your weight’ rather slippery. Into a pan full of chopped up vegetables, I seasoned the bird liberally with olive oil, fresh cracked pepper, kosher salt and herbs.

Almost Crab Like...

45 minutes in and this bad boy wasn’t done. Not at 60. No, not even at 90. It took a whole 2 hours (30 minutes at 500, 90 at 400) before this bird was finished cooking. The result though was awesome, as it was roasted to a perfect, golden brown and delicious. The skin was crispy, and the meat was tender. If I have one suggestion, I’d say make sure your bird is definitely room temperature, and that you stick with the smaller birds. Other than that, I can’t imagine this being too difficult, and while it wasn’t as fast as I would have liked, it was still delicious.

These Legs Were Made for Walking...

45-Minute Roast Turkey
1 8- to 12-pound turkey
10 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly crushed, more to taste
1 branch fresh tarragon or thyme separated into sprigs, or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or tarragon
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil or butter
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Put turkey on a stable cutting board breast side down and cut out backbone. Turn turkey over, and press on it to flatten. Put it, breast side up, in a roasting pan. Wings should partly cover breasts, and legs should protrude a bit.

Tuck garlic and tarragon under the bird and in the nooks of the wings and legs. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.

Roast for 20 minutes, undisturbed. Turkey should be browning. Remove from oven, baste with pan juices, and return to oven. Reduce heat to 400 degrees (if turkey browns too quickly, reduce temperature to 350 degrees).

Begin to check turkey’s temperature about 15 minutes later (10 minutes if bird is on the small side). It is done when thigh meat registers 165 degrees on an instant-read meat thermometer. Check it in a couple of places.

Let turkey rest for a few minutes before carving, then serve with garlic cloves and pan juices.

10 servings

7 thoughts on “45 Minute Turkey…Really?

  1. I’m actually a big believer in forgetting about roasting the bird in its original form. My defense: I love the thighs, and when roasted whole, you get a bit of good crispy skin, the rest [next to breast, under bird] = soggy. No good. When it’s disassembled or as you did, flattened, skin is better, cooks quicker and in my experience, more evenly. I actually disassemble the thighs, wings, breasts, drumsticks and let them all roast separately. That’s my 2 cents.

  2. Mmm, crab turkey! I hate cooking turkeys because, like Kevin I find roasting the WHOLE bird extremely time consuming with mixed results with doneness. Will definitely give this a whirl next time it’s my turn to cook a bird!

  3. I’m so glad you tried this!
    I saw Bittman’s post and video about it and wondered if it would work. I’m still too novice of a carnivore cook to try it myself, but am happy to see it turns out so well. Nice job!

  4. Katherine & Sarah – Let me know how it goes. I definitely think I’ll be trying it again.

    Kevin – I never thought about breaking the entire bird down, but I may just have to do it now. For scientific purposes of course 😉

    Cream – Thanks!

  5. This looks incredible! I admire your adventurous spirit. After so many years of turkey roasting – I know I have the traditional method down pat without soggy or overcooked and undercooked parts…but, whenever I venture off that path receive a lot of flack from the family expecting their “traditional turkey”. The next holiday season – Easter, it will be, I have decided I am buying two turkeys and am doing a To Brine, or Not To Brine post. I love tastings and comparisions!

  6. Mmm, crab turkey! I hate cooking turkeys because, like Kevin I find roasting the WHOLE bird extremely time consuming with mixed results with doneness. Will definitely give this a whirl next time it’s my turn to cook a bird!

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