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Hone Your Craft

Sara Dudzinsky Makes the Best Turkey Ever

Hone Your Craft BY erica 11/11/2011

Sara waiting to chow down at The Bent Brick.

Both Sara Dudzinsky and her boyfriend, Will Preisch, are passionate creative-types: She’s the designer of minimalist, earthy jewelry line Better Late Than Never, and he’s the chef at Portland, Oregon’s The Bent Brick, one of the buzziest restaurants in one of the top food towns. They can also often be found standing over a stove together at home, and this turkey recipe that allows you to work ahead has become their Thanksgiving go-to. “We made it for the first time four or five years ago—not long after we moved back to Portland,” Sara says. In short: It tastes like home.

Sara & Will’s Thanksgiving Turkey
“This method of cooking a turkey is very untraditional—and yields delicious results. We cook the dark meat and the white meat separately and we confit the legs and wings in duck fat, while roasting the breast on the bone.” —will

Medium-size turkey
2 to 4 quarts duck fat (depending on the size of the turkey)
2 bunches thyme
2 bunches sage
2 heads garlic


Two days before: Break down and season the bird.
Place the turkey on a cutting board. Remove the neck and the gizzards from the cavity; reserve these for gravy if you desire. Remove the legs from the turkey: Make an incision in the skin by the hip, where the leg attaches to the body. Repeat on the other leg. Pull both legs down and away from the backbone, dislocating the leg from the hip of the turkey. Run your knife down the exposed part of the thigh, separating the leg from the hip.  Repeat on the other side. Snap the backbone of the turkey from the rib cage. You can do this with a towel and your hands or with a heavy chef’s knife. You will now have the turkey separated into three major sections: the turkey breasts attached to the rib cage (white meat), the turkey legs with wings (dark meat), and the materials for a stock if you’re making one (gizzards, back bone, and neck).
Chop the thyme, sage, and garlic well. Season the breast and the legs very generously with salt and rub them down with the thyme, sage, and garlic mixture. Refrigerate overnight, leaving the breast uncovered to help the skin get crispy in the oven.

One day before: Make the confit.
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Place the turkey legs in a large Dutch oven and cover with duck fat. Cook for 4 to 5 hours, until the turkey meat is falling off the bone. Let cool in the fat. Refrigerate overnight.

Day of: Prepare the breast and serve.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Remove your turkey breast from the fridge and place it on the counter for two hours and allow it to come up to room temperature. Put the turkey breast on a roasting pan with a rack and place into the oven. The amount of time the turkey takes to cook depends on how big your turkey is. Since you aren’t cooking the breast and the leg at the same time, you don’t need to take your turkey to such a high temperature—this is why our turkey breast is going to be so juicy and delicious. Gauge its progress using a digital thermometer, take the turkey’s temperature at its thickest part: the center of the breast. Remove it from the oven when the thermometer reads 118-degrees and allow it to rest for 20 minutes on the stovetop.
While your turkey breast is roasting, reheat the turkey legs on the stove, melting the fat and heating them through. It should take about 45 minutes at a low simmer to prepare them.
Carve and serve the turkey breast and legs.


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