Thursday, November 26, 2015

Turkey

We have plans to have our Thanksgiving meal out this year.  

For the last decade or two, we have not had a kitchen conducive to cooking a large meal and while we have a larger kitchen now, neither of us were in the mood to tackle a huge meal so I made reservations at the Hilo Hawaiian for their holiday buffet.  

Not being a terribly social person, I neglected to inform Safeway of our plans and as we were paying for our groceries, the clerk informed us we had earned a free turkey (I think we spent just over $100).  She asked us what size we wanted and I said SMALL.  She bagged up a 20 pound bird and handed it to us with a smile.  

Honestly, I have difficulty telling the difference between irony and spite.  

What were we going to do with this turkey?  My first thought was to donate it to a local shelter or kitchen, but there doesn't seem to be the same collection of turkeys going on here as there is on the mainland, so the frozen bird came home with us.

I sought google for guidance as neither of us have cooked a turkey in over 20 years.  I found dry brining.  Here is the link to the article I read - LA Times.
One advantage to this technique is that it can be done with a still frozen turkey.

We pulled out our large cooler and headed back to the store for oven bags.  It took two days for the bird to thaw enough for us to remove the giblets and start the dry brining process. 

Each day you massage the turkey to redistribute the brine, but you leave it in a sealed bag the whole time, so it's not terribly messy.  You do that for three days and then cook the bird as you normally would.

We measured the temperature of the bird and we realized we overcooked it a bit, but the flavor was excellent.  The breast was a tad dry but certainly good enough for sandwiches.  Our favorite Thanksgiving meal is turkey sandwiches anyway so we cut up the cooled bird and bagged it for the fridge and freezer.  

We then processed the carcass in the Instant Pot to make bone broth.  We'll make Nom Nom Paleo's Westlake Soup later.  

The sandwiches taste fantastic.  We make ours with stuffing and cranberry sauce.  Guilty pleasure:  we use stovetop stuffing (gasp!) and canned jellied cranberry sauce, but the mayo was home made!


Happy Thanksgiving to you!

Note:  Get your stovetop stuffing early around here.  It sells out!

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