Spatchcocked Turkey with Butternut Squash Stuffing
To help control the mania of Thanksgiving, we developed this recipe to simultaneously cook the turkey and stuffing in a single pan in just a couple of hours. The secret lies in a clever and easy technique we’ve used to evenly cook the white and dark meat of chicken, and it works great for turkeys, too. As the Dijon-and-butter-coated meat roasts, a bed of butternut squash and bread cubes catches all the delicious pan juices to create a flavorful stuffing. While the roasted turkey rests, broil the stuffing right in the roasting pan to get some crispy surface bits. You won’t have drippings, but you can make this turkey gravy a few days ahead and rewarm it when you’re ready to eat.
For the stuffing:
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
- 4 medium celery stalks, medium dice
- 2 medium yellow onions, medium dice
- 2 teaspoons coarsely chopped fresh thyme leaves
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 (1-pound) loaf day-old unsliced bread, such as French or Italian, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 medium butternut squash (about 3 pounds), peeled and cut into large dice
For the turkey:
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick), at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon coarsely chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
- 1 (12- to 15-pound) natural turkey
- 1Heat the oven to 450°F and arrange a rack in the lower third.
For the stuffing:
- 1Melt the butter over medium heat in a 16-by-13-inch roasting pan set across 2 burners. Add the celery, onion, and thyme, season with salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened, about 6 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, add the bread and butternut squash, and stir to combine; set aside.
For the turkey:
- 1In a small bowl, mix the butter, mustard, thyme, and measured salt and pepper until well combined; set aside.
- 2Remove the turkey’s giblets and neck, then rinse out the cavity and pat the turkey dry with paper towels.
- 3Place the turkey on a cutting board breast-side up with the legs toward you. Gently pull 1 leg away from the body and, using a knife, slice through the skin between the leg and body to expose the thigh.
- 4Place your hand under the leg and push the thigh up toward you until you see the thigh joint pop out. Repeat with the other leg.
- 5Using kitchen shears, cut along the side of the breast through the ribs from the bottom cavity up toward the wing, stopping when you reach the wing joint. Repeat on the other side. Open the turkey up by pulling the breast up and away from you. Flip the turkey over. Cut through the backbone right above the legs to separate the turkey into 2 parts.
- 6Season the turkey generously all over with salt and pepper. Using your hands, loosen the skin on the breast and evenly distribute half of the butter mixture under the skin. Spread the remaining butter mixture evenly over the skin on the legs. Tuck the wings behind the breast.
- 7Place the turkey pieces skin-side up on top of the stuffing in the roasting pan, overlapping the breast piece over the legs as needed.
- 8Place the pan in the oven and roast the turkey for 30 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350°F. Continue to roast until a meat thermometer inserted into the inner thigh registers 165°F to 170°F and the juices run clear, about 60 to 75 minutes more.
- 9Remove the roasting pan from the oven. Transfer the turkey pieces to a cutting board and let them rest for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, finish the stuffing.
- 10Turn the oven to broil. Stir the stuffing to evenly moisten it with the pan juices. Broil for about 5 minutes, stir, and continue to broil until the bread is deeply browned in spots and the liquid in the pan has evaporated, about 5 to 6 minutes more. Carve the turkey and serve with the stuffing on the side.
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