A fun alternative to your classic whole turkey!
FOR THE TURKEY BRINE:
4 cups water
1/2-3/4 cup Kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
10 whole allspice
10 black peppercorns
5 star anise
7-8 thyme sprigs
1 whole turkey (11-15-pounds, cut into 8 pieces)
FOR THE RUB:
2 heads of garlic
6 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
6 tablespoons butter
3-4 sweet onions (peeled, quartered and thinly shaved)
2/3 cup red wine
2 teaspoons thyme leaves
To Brine the Turkey: In a large re-sealable ziptop bag, combine the water, salt, light brown sugar, allspice, cloves, peppercorns, star anise and thyme sprigs. Shake to dissolve salt and sugar. Place turkey parts in bag and place in refrigerator for at least 6 hours or overnight.
Remove turkey from brine, rinse thoroughly and pat dry. Gently loosen skin from turkey pieces and set aside.
For the Rub: Preheat oven to 400ºF.
Remove the outer papery skin off the garlic, then cut 1/4-inch off the top of each head. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over each head of garlic, then wrap each head in foil. Seal the foil packets and transfer to a sheet tray. Place sheet tray in oven and roast until completely soft and caramelized, about 1 hour. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. When cool enough to handle, squeeze the garlic cloves from the skin into a medium bowl and mash with a fork into a paste.
In a large saute pan over medium-low heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, butter and onions. Cook stirring frequently until browned and caramelized, about 55 minutes. Deglaze with red wine and reduce until almost all the moisture is gone, about 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely, then add the onion mixture, thyme leaves, salt and pepper to the garlic paste and stir to fully combine.
Rub the onion mixture underneath the skin of the turkey.
Heat a heavy bottomed saute pan over medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Sear each piece of turkey until golden brown on all sides. Place seared pieces on a baking sheet, and finish cooking them in the oven. Cook until an internal temperature of 160ºF is reached, about 30 minutes.
Tip: The white meat tends to cook slightly faster than the dark meat, so be sure to remove the breasts and wings once they are fully cooked and allow the legs and thighs to continue cooking.