This recipe can certainly be made using a whole bird, however we prefer to spatchcock our turkey for a few reasons; it gives us more room in the oven and cooks quicker, more evenly and with crispier skin.
If using there are many readily available store bought brines.
1 (12 to 14 pound) spatchcocked turkey, free range organic
1 bunch fresh rosemary, leaves finely chopped
1 bunch fresh sage, leaves finely chopped
2 sticks butter, room temperature
1 large onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 large or 2 small carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 ribs celery, cut into 1/2-inch dice
4 cloves garlic, smashed
2 Granny Smith apples, cut into 1/2-inch dice
5 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
1 bunch thyme-tied with butcher’s twine
1 quart chicken stock, divided
2 cups apple cider, divided
1/2 to 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
Brine the turkey
If using store bought brine, follow the directions as brining time may vary and require rinsing.
After the brining period, remove the turkey from the brine the night before roasting and pat it thoroughly dry with paper towels.
Place onions, carrots, celery, garlic, apples, bay leaves, cinnamon stick and thyme in a roasting pan and season with salt and pepper, set aside.
Combine the rosemary, sage, and butter for the herb crust in a small bowl or food processor. Season, to taste, with kosher salt.
Work the butter under the skin of the turkey and massage it into the breasts and the legs. Massage the butter on the outside of the skin as well. Tuck the wing tips under the wings. Arrange the turkey on top of the veggies and refrigerate overnight UNCOVERED! This will help the skin dry out and become really brown and crispy. Make sure that there is no raw food near the turkey in the refrigerator. After refrigerating overnight, the turkey is ready to go in the oven.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Put 2 cups chicken stock and 1 cup apple cider in the bottom of the roasting pan. Roast the turkey in the preheated oven until the skin starts to get some color, about 40 minutes.
Lower the oven heat to 350 degrees F for the remainder of the cooking time. Baste the turkey every 30 minutes or so and add more stock to the roasting pan, if needed. Cook about 17 minutes per pound, keep in mind that a spatchcocked turkey cooks faster.
Remove the turkey from the oven when an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the turkey registers 160 degrees F, (make sure that the thermometer is not touching a bone when doing the reading).
Remove it from the roasting pan and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. Cover loosely with aluminum foil.
Strain all the veggies over a bowl to separate them from the stock/mixture and discard the veggies.
Skim off the fat and add it to the roasting pan. This is the fat for the roux. Put the roasting pan over 2 burners and over a low heat and whisk in the flour. Cook until the mixture looks like wet sand, about 4 to 5 minutes.
Slowly whisk in the remaining 1 cup apple cider, remaining chicken stock and the stock/cider mixture.
Cook until the mixture has thickened and reached a gravy consistency. Taste, toss in some torn sage if you have any left and adjust the seasoning. Pour into a serving pitcher or bowl.
Carve the turkey, transfer to a serving platter and serve with the gravy. If you prefer you may use one platter for the white meat and one for the dark meat.
You can either spatchcock it yourself by following the directions in our post How To Spatchcock and Brine Poultry or simply ask the butcher to do it for you. Make sure to have him keep the backbone, gizzards and neck for you so that you can make our quick Turkey Stock which you can use instead of chicken stock to make the gravy. We definitely recommend brining, many stores sell brining kits with an over-sized brining bag included.