Fabulous! Perfect for a smaller crowd. I really impressed my parents with this turkey recipe. Points for me!
I used this method for our Thanksgiving turkey, though I made a traditional giblet gravy instead of the cream gravy. I may NEVER cook a whole turkey again! The meat cooked so evenly and it was done in half the time of my usual whole bird. All of my guests were happy with the results. Now, I do not know my way around boning a chicken or turkey. The meat man at Publix didn't bat an eye when I asked him to do it. Like another poster, I almost waited too late to get started, thinking I could begin on T'giving day. Luckily, I reviewed the recipe the night before and was able to brine the turkey and get the stock going. A huge success!
Made this recipe for our Thanksgiving feast this year using a fresh American Bronze Heritage turkey from a local Wisconsin farmer. It was out-of-this-world good. Both white meat and dark meat were juicy and succulent and all was cooked evenly at the same time. A real plus when dealing with a big bird. I grew up cutting up whole chickens so was not daunted by cutting up this turkey, but a good boning knife and sharp kitchen shears help a lot. Once it's cut up, it's a very simple, low maintenance recipe. I also made the turkey stock from the neck and wings, which was also excellent. Just make sure to plan to do the prep work the day before roasting. I realized almost too late that the bird needed to be cut up and "brined" in kosher salt at least 8 hours ahead of time. The real hurdle was getting over the idea of cutting up the Thanksgiving turkey before roasting it...there's no star-of-the show presentation before everyone digs in.
The cooking temp of 325 is way too low to "roast". I usually roast a butterflied chicken at about 375 for an hour. So I cooked our quartered Thanksgiving turkey at 375 instead and it still took 3 hours to cook. This really delayed our dinner. Turkey was good and moist when it was done. Gravy was just ok. Needed a lot of doctoring up. Overall....a disappointment.
I have been roasting chickens this way for some time. A turkey does take more time and strength. Finding the joints is the key. I do a few things to improve the flavor. Instead of immediately popping the wings, back and giblets into a pot of water, I first season and then brown them in the oven. Pouring the water first into the roasting pan to loosen the browned bits and then into the stock pot with the browned turkey pieces and vegetables adds richness to the flavor. When the turkey pieces are tender, I remove from the pot, cool and then remove all of that meat. It goes into the gravy and the dressing. Any left over can be used in the soup the next day or put into the freezer with the extra stock. This stock is very flavorful and I don't find it necessary to reduce, but it can be done to intensify the flavor. More stock is made on Thanksgiving.I find this method of roasting a turkey more practical. It is easier to deal with large pieces than with a large, heavy bird.
I haven't completed this recipe yet, but thought I would pass along a few tips for anyone else who might be tackling it for tomorrow (Thanksgiving 2011). Quartering a turkey is not for sissies - give yourself plenty of time (at least 30 minutes - perhaps as much as an hour if you're new to butchering). For me, removing the legs was the easiest part; I cut right up to the joint, then grabbed the leg with a paper towel and twisted; it was obvious how/where to cut. The wings were way harder and did not dislocate as easily, and halving the breast is downright daunting. I'm optimistic this is going to be a great dish - would love to hear from anyone else working this recipe tonight. Be patient, be careful, and for heavens sake, be sober! As a follow up, this turned out very moist.The stock was very good, but I didn't get browned bits, so the gravy needed a lot of help. The suggestions from another reviewer sound like a smart approach. I'll definitely do this recipe again.