Flattened Roast Turkey with Duck & Pomegranate Port Reduction

Temps des Fêtes 2013
food and drink

BY: Jennifer MacKenzie

You might have cooked a flattened chicken on the barbecue before and marvelled at its juiciness and all-over crisp skin. Well, the same goes for a flattened (or spatchcocked) turkey. Flattening the bird makes it cook more quickly; all of the skin is exposed to the heat and gets nice and crispy, and the breast doesn’t dry out as it can with an intact bird. The added depth of flavour from the dried, smoked duck breast and sage under the skin and the sweet and tangy reduction take this turkey to a whole new level. It’s worth buying a rimmed baking sheet large enough to fit the flattened turkey with some space around the perimeter to avoid spill-over in the oven. A 21 x 16-inch (53 x 40-cm) sheet fits the turkey called for here quite nicely. If you can’t find the dried smoked duck breast, use regular prosciutto or a smoked cured ham instead.

1 turkey, 12 to 14 lbs (5.5 to 6.5 kg)
3 oz (90 g) dried smoked sliced duck breast, finely chopped
1 tbsp (15 mL) finely chopped fresh sage
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp (30 mL) butter, melted

½ cup (125 mL) finely chopped shallots
1½ cups (375 mL) unsweetened pomegranate juice
½ cup (125 mL) port
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Pomegranate seeds (optional)

1 Place turkey, breast-side down, on a large cutting board with the neck furthest away from you. Using a sharp knife or kitchen shears, cut along the right side of the backbone, starting at the tail and working up to the neck. Repeat on the left side to remove the entire backbone. Flip the turkey over so the breast side is up. Using firm pressure and both hands, press down on the breastbone just to the right of the centre to crack and flatten the breast. Repeat on the left side. The turkey can be well-wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated until roasting (up to 8 hours or 1 day depending on freshness).

2 Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Line an extra-large rimmed baking sheet with foil leaving about 2 inches (5 cm) overhang.

3 Place turkey, skin-side up, on baking sheet, flattening legs out to the side and tucking wing tips under wings and the top of the breast.

4 Combine chopped duck breast, sage, ¼ tsp (1 mL) salt and ½ tsp (2 mL) pepper in a bowl. Lift skin of turkey to make pockets just large enough for your fingers between the skin and the meat, starting at outer edge of thighs working down to the drumsticks, and from both the top and bottom of the breast. Spread duck mixture between skin and meat as evenly as possible. Smooth skin from the top to press out air pockets.

5 Combine melted butter and ½ tsp (2 mL) each salt and pepper in a small bowl. Brush all over turkey skin. If turkey is at, or close to, edges of baking sheet, bring the foil up to shield the turkey slightly to prevent juices from spilling over.

6 Roast turkey for 10 minutes.

7 Turn heat down to 325°F (160°C).

8 Roast for about 2 hours or until meat thermometer in the thickest part of the breast reads 170°F (75°C). Transfer turkey to a cutting board and tent with foil for 20 minutes.

9 Spoon about 1/3 cup (80 mL) of pan drippings from turkey pan and transfer to a saucepan (reserve extra drippings for stock, if desired). Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté for about 5 minutes or until translucent. Add pomegranate juice and port and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and boil, stirring often, for 10 to 15 minutes or until reduced by about half. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

10 Carve turkey, removing legs and breast meat from bone, and cut into slices. Serve with pomegranate port reduction and pomegranate seeds, if desired, for garnish.

Serves 8 to 10

What to Serve

Stock Type499087