Ok, so, I just want to emotionally prepare you for this: this is the best turkey I’ve ever had. It’s juicy beyond belief, crazy flavorful, and the skin – oh Lord the skin! – is insanely crispy.
And just to convince you that I’m not full of it, I had 3 different people try it and they agree with me, so, you know: science.
This is basically a porchetta recipe, but with turkey thighs instead of pork. The flavor profile of fresh herbs, fennel, and white wine are brilliant with turkey, and the slow cooking technique gives you extra crispy skin. Also, it’s sort of a no fail situation. Because it’s all thighs, you don’t need to worry about inconsistent cooking. Also, you can scale this up or down as much as you want, though guessing about 3/4 a pound per person is pretty safe.
I usually suggest brining no matter what, but I was lazy and skipped it when testing this, and the thighs were still super juicy and delicious. So I’d say, brine if you like, but not necessary with this one.
3 leafy sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed
20 fresh sage leaves
3 leafy sprigs rosemary, stemmed
2 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons fennel seeds, crushed
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 1/2 teaspoons medium coarse sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper
three 1-pound boneless turkey thighs (skin on, not tied)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup dry white wine
Heat oven to 250ºF.
Finely chop thyme, sage, rosemary, and garlic together (you can do this by pulsing in a food processor, or by hand). Grind fennel seeds in a mortar and pestle, and add to mixture along with chili flakes, salt and pepper. Stir together well.
With a paring knife, make about 10 incisions (about 1/2-inch deep) all over the turkey and stuff with about a third of the herb mixture. Tie turkey with kitchen twine, brush the oil over the skin, and rub all over with the remaining herb mixture.
Set turkey in a roasting pan, fat-side up. Roast for 1 hour. Pour the wine over the turkey and baste with the wine and accumulated juices. Continue roasting, basting once every 30 minutes, until the skin is well browned, 1 to 1 1/2 hours more (internal temperature will be 160 to 165ºF). Turn up the heat to 500F, and cook for another 15 minutes, until the skin is crispy and golden brown. Remove from oven. Let meat rest 15 minutes before slicing and serving.