25 September 2009
Mmm... Doesn't that look tasty? I mean, even with poor lighting it looks tasty. (Taking pictures of food is always tricky, don't you find?)
I've always thought that cooking a whole turkey is something to be done once a year -- maybe. You've gotta buy it and thaw it and rinse it and rub it and stuff it and season it, and the whole thing just sounded like a big hassle. Until I actually did it. So if any of you out there are thinking these same things about turkey preparation, I have a secret for you. It's not hard. It's easy, in fact.
I followed the instructions that I found here. Which are approximately as follows:
1.) Obtain a turkey. (I obtained mine the way I obtain most of my large chunks of meat -- my mother-in-law cleaned out her freezer. Thanks, Mary!)
2.) Let it thaw in your fridge. (This will take 2-3 days, so just chill for a while.)
3.) Remove packaging. Stick your hand all the way down inside and remove the neck and the giblets, if you're lucky enough to have a turkey that comes with them. Save the neck and giblets! You're gonna want to put them in the broth that you are obviously going to make with the carcass when you're done.
4.) Rinse the inside and outside of the turkey, then pat dry with paper towels.
5.) Rub that bird down with olive oil. Sprinkle liberally with sea salt and pepper.
6.) (This is all going on in the giant roasting pan you bought for $3 at that estate sale.)
7.) Stick in a 325 degree oven for about 3 hours. Don't cover it. If it starts to brown too fast for your liking, put the lid (or some foil) over the pan. Cook till the little plastic thingy pops out.
Now, at this point you will have a gorgeous turkey, ready for consumption by a.) a large group of people on a normal day, b.) a normal sized group of people on Thanksgiving, or c.) three teenage boys one day after school.
Or you can do like me (who only has to feed one husband and one nursing mama), and tear the turkey carcass to bits and separate the bits into three categories:
Skin and Fat
And here is everything divided up into bags.
That's 8 bags of meat to throw into skillet meals or casseroles, one bag of skin + fat for making cracklings, and one bag of Karkass, to be combined with the neck and giblets (which are in a bag in the fridge) to make broth (blog post to come).
Yes, I go all 4th grade Indian on my turkeys. Chickens, too. And ducks.
(But seriously, if you don't click on any of the other links in the post [and who could blame you?], click on the cracklings link. It's a fabulous article, and you need to know how to make cracklings.)