(My belated turkey post.)
Last year I pre-ordered a 11 lb. free range turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. This year I failed to do so, because I didn’t know if I was going to cook a turkey.
November, 21: When I finally decided to have one, as I had every year, it was already three days before Thanksgiving. I went to Sunflower Market to get a free range turkey. There was only one left. A huge one. A 21-pounder. I turned to an employee and asked if it was indeed the last free range turkey they got. The answer was yes, so I stood in front of the meat fridge and thought about it for a long time. It was $31.50 ($1.50/lb), way over my budget. They still had dozens of smaller size regular turkeys, but after learning how those birds were made to be deformed and treated badly, it was either all natural/free range, or no turkey for me. After many minutes and many sighs, I lifted the 21 lb. bird and put it into my cart (Oh my back…).
Novemver, 25: Usually on the day of Thanksgiving we visit families and eat their turkey, so I cook mine the next day. I like my turkey simple. No stuffing, I just put several flavoring herbs and veggies inside the cavity, then roast and baste. I normally use cloves of garlic, stalks of celery, thyme and rosemary. This time I added sliced apples and a little orange peels.
So far, it’s the same old thanksgiving turkey dinner. And I can keep eating left over turkey slices as long as I have cranberry sauce. After that, I start being creative, especially this year with the 21 lb. bird – that’s a lot of food.
November, 27: The first thing I do when the turkey is done is to separate meat from bones, so I can make soup from it. Bay leaves, thyme, pepper cones and shallots go into the pot. When it becomes nicely strong broth, I strain it, put it back into the pot with diced onion, carrots and celery. Later diced turkey meat, cooked noodles and frozen green peas are added. Season and freeze in small containers. My son loved the soup for lunch Sunday.
November, 28: I used nice big pieces of dark meat to make turkey katsu – breaded turey. Pieces are dipped in 1. flour, 2. beaten egg/milk mixture, 3. bread crumbs, then deep fried. Unlike tonkatsu (breaded pork), meat is already cooked so frying is just for flavor and color of crumbs. It turned out very good, with Bulldog sauce, shredded cabbage and white rice, just like tonkatsu.
November, 29: What else can I make with turkey…? Turkey chili! That sounded good, so I opened a can of tomatoes and a can of chili beans, added diced turkey meat, onion, green bell pepper, garlic, cumin, chili pepper, and home grown cilantro. Left over of this was divided into small containers and frozen.
November, 30: I diced white meat, tossed in broccoli, raisins, walnuts with mayo and dijon mustard and made turkey salad. Great for brunch.
… Before I got really sick of turkey, the whole bird was gone. I miss it already. Next year, I’m going to pre-order one, though.