On the way back from the church’s holiday craft fair, I bought a 16 pound turkey at Vons for $11. That is not a deal.
In America, 88% of households buy 16 pound turkeys for Thanksgiving according to EconEdLink. If you are willing to wait you can buy a $16 pound turkey for $8 or less closer to Thanksgiving.
Why did I buy it now? I needed a prototype this weekend. A proto-turkey as rehearsal for the real Turkey Day meal.
As backup I plan to serve Chicken Saltimbocca since that would only require flattened chicken breasts, toothpicks to hold the rolls closed and a few slices of prosciutto.
cutting board for meat
kitchen garbage can
Spray bleach and paper towels for cleanup
dried crushed rosemary
raw whole turkey
Use bleach spray and sanitize your sink.
Cut open the plastic package for the turkey. Throw away the netting and plastic wrapper. Place the frozen turkey on the cookie sheet and create a slide for it in your sink. In other words, place the sheet at 45 degrees. Anticipate that the runoff from the thawing turkey will go down the drain. Run a meek flow of cold water from your kitchen faucet into the turkey cavity holding the dreaded frozen turkey neck.
Drain the turkey. Re-position the turkey so it sits on top of a cutting board inside of a cookie sheet. The cookie sheet is to catch the run-off. Gross, huh? Be ready to spray down your kitchen prep counter, sink and floors with bleach after this project to halt salmonella.
Twist and break off the wings. Dislocate the sockets. I can understand why vegans stay away from this gruesomeness. Use the kitchen shears to help you cut through cartilage. Only when you have a firm grip, use the Santoku knife to remove excess skin and fat. Discard excess skin.
Take the two drumsticks and place them in a roasting pan.
Use the Santoku knife and remove slices from white meat and dark meat areas. These small pieces of turkey meat will be cooked on the stove in a skillet and done in 30 minutes or less.
When you are down to the carcass. You can use that for soup. It’s up to you if you want to keep or throw away the giblets and liver. Some say the liver makes soup too bitter. The turkey neck is useful for soup stock.
Season the meat in each cooking vessel with rosemary, salt, onion, cinnamon and olive oil. The proportions of the seasoning is up to you. I recommend going heavy on the cinnamon and light on the rosemary. Rosemary in small amounts is delicious but can taste too much like a mouthful of pine needles if more than 1 Tablespoon.
For Soup: Place pieces of seasoned carcass with 1 quart of water. You can add water if that is not enough to cover all the turkey bones in the stock pot. Cover with lid. Set on high heat and boil for 1 hour. Turn down heat to simmer for two more hours. You can choose to add vegetables such as carrots and celery if you wish.
When you serve the stock, strain all the bones and vegetables out with a kitchen sieve. You can freeze the clear soup in ice cube trays or in small portion plastic-ware.
For the Skillet:
Heat skillet and add olive oil. Stir fry the seasoned meat. Cover with skillet lid and turn down heat. Cook all the way through until pieces are no longer pink.
For the Oven:
Preheat oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Season the turkey legs. Place the roasting pan on the lowest rack in the oven. Roast for 40 minutes or more until the dark meat is cooked through. Warning! Open your kitchen windows because your apartment may get smokey because of the oven’s high heat melting the turkey fat.
In my opinion, the rosemary skillet Turkey was the best!
Happy Thanksgiving Day rehearsal!