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Lunch / Dinner

Roast Turkey Pieces & Dressing with Pomegranate Molasses Butter

When you just can’t wait for Thanksgiving dinner, try your hand at this quick method of cooking turkey — in pieces, on top of the dressing. You get perfectly cooked and moist turkey, with out-of-this-world dressing, in about half the time it typically takes to cook a whole bird. Not only do the pieces cook faster (within about two hours), but you don’t have to worry about them cooking too much or too little — as each piece is cooked, you remove it. Perhaps best of all, there’s no fussing with carving the bird tableside. And if you have any concerns with the concept of cutting up a turkey, ask a butcher to do it. Just make sure you get the trimmings to make stock and gravy.

For a streamlined meal, cut the turkey up the day before and make the stock and gravy. Season the parts (sort of like dry brining), wrap, and chill overnight. Then the day of, roast and eat.

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Trim excess skin and fat from turkey; discard. Remove and reserve neck and giblets for stock.

Arrange turkey, breast-side down, on a cutting board; cut along both sides of backbone with poultry or kitchen shears to remove. Reserve backbone for stock.

Flip turkey, breast-side up; cut along both sides of breastbone, then cut and pull breast meat away from the keel bone (the plastic-like piece of cartilage). Remove and discard keel bone.

Pull each leg away from body and slice between legs and breasts, cutting through the skin and joints to remove; slice into thighs and drumsticks by cutting through joints at top of drumsticks.

Pull each wing away from body to locate joints; cut through skin and joints to remove.

Season turkey pieces with salt and pepper; transfer to a baking sheet, wrap tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 350°. Remove turkey pieces from refrigerator at least 30 minutes before roasting.

Prepare Challah Bread Dressing according to recipe. Arrange turkey pieces, skin sides up, on top of dressing.

Whisk together butter and molasses; baste turkey pieces.

Roast and baste pieces every 30 minutes until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of each piece registers 165°, adjusting position of legs and wings as necessary to maximize browning, and tenting with foil any pieces browning too quickly, 1¼–2¼ hours. Transfer pieces to a platter and tent with foil as they’re done.


Cut down both sides of the backbone where it meets the rib cage. It’s OK if it comes off in pieces.


Splitting the breast in half isn’t hard to do, but the bird can be slippery so be careful and work slowly.


When you’re basting the turkey, if the legs and wings look pale and need more air circulation, rotate them.

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