25 Nov Newly wed and naive, cook finds first turkey trying
I’ll never forget cooking my first turkey. Young and newly married, naïve and optimistic, I remember thinking, how hard could this be, as I pulled the thawed turkey from the fridge.People have been thawing these birds, pulling out the bags, throwing them in the oven and
After all, I’d grown up watching my ever-capable mom whip
My grandpa generously had given me a turkey to roast for this particular Sunday dinner, and I, thinking a turkey’s a turkey, had mindlessly slid it into the refrigerator to thaw
Taking it out of the refrigerator, I flipped the thawed turkey into the sink for a quick onceover. Yikes! Was that a neck? I asked myself as a flap of loose turkey flesh slapped the bottom of the sink with a thud. I peeked inside and quickly discovered this oddball bird was no Butterball. I was in trouble.
I picked up the phone, quickly dialing Mom for help. “What in the world do I do with this thing?” I asked in a panic.
“Just reach in and pull out the bag,” she said calmly.
Right. The bag. What bag? I sheepishly reached in and fished
“No bag, Mom,” I reported into the phone.
“Oh, honey, of course there’s a bag. It’s got the giblets and the gizzards in it for the gravy, but you take it out before you put the turkey in the oven.”
“Nope, no bag, Mom, and no button that pops up when it’s done. He has a neck and organs and everything. Where did this
“Oh, Grandpa won it at a bingo game,” I remember hearing over the phone. The words echoed in my ear, “Grandpa won it at a bingo game.” Was she kidding? This was clearly not what I had in mind for my first turkey roast, and I surely hadn’t allowed for all the time it was going to take to get this turkey in shape to bake before we went to church in less than an hour!
But, alas, there was no getting around it. The whole family was coming to our house for turkey dinner that evening, and the crude creature sprawled out in our sink was the turkey we would serve.
Of course, not before I had to saw and tug and pull out the innards and rinse that bird and stuff and baste and roast that beast for hours.
At long last, I remember closing the oven door and making a silent vow not to have even one bite of that revolting bird. I recall sliding into the pew at church, feeling a bit queasy after the full-on fowl fiasco and wondering how in the world anyone was going to enjoy that thing.
But somehow they did, moist delicious roast bingo prize turkey that it was.
The offensive ordeal soured me on the whole idea of baking a turkey, however. I can’t say I’ve done more than two additional turkeys in the almost 15 years we’ve been married since my unfortunate initiation. “Thank God for Mom” is all I can say every Thanksgiving she offers to bake the big bird.
Ah, the traditional Thanksgiving turkey: brined, basted, baked and carved for your Thanksgiving dining pleasure, but then what? Dishes galore piled high in the kitchen sink and the vestige of the turkey lingering on the cutting board. What to do with the leftovers?
Here’s hoping you’re roasting a perfectly-prepped-pull-out-thebag- and-go Butterball turkey this year. And if you happen to end up with more turkey than you can eat on Thanksgiving, here are some recipes to make the most of the leftover turkey lurking in the fridge.
COBB-LE COBB-LE SALAD WITH CREAMY BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE AND CRANBERRY BRIE CRISPS
Make Cranberry Brie Crisps Preheat oven to 500°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cut a brie wedge in ½-inch slices leaving rind intact. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon dried cranberries in a line over each brie slice and 1 teaspoon sliced almonds next to cranberries. Bake for six to eight minutes until brie is bubbly and melted. Remove from parchment and cool on a cooling rack.
CREAMY BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE
In a pint jar combine: 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream, 1 teaspoon honey and salt and pepper, to taste. Replace lid and shake to combine.
BASIL PESTO TURKEY SANDWICHES 2 cups cooked turkey, cut in small pieces 1/3 cup real mayonnaise 2 tsp. (or more) squeeze basil (in the produce department) Salt, to taste 6 large fresh basil leaves 4 slices whole wheat bread Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Combine turkey, mayonnaise and squeeze basil and mix thoroughly. Season with salt to taste.
Line bread slices with fresh basil leaves.
Top with basil pesto turkey mixture and make sandwiches.
Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper, if desired.
Makes two sandwiches.
TURKEY ENCHILADA BAKE
Make turkey filling: In a large bowl mix together: 2 cups cooked turkey, ½ cup chopped green chiles, 1½ cups sour cream, 1 teaspoon chili powder, ½ teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon cumin.
Fill eight flour tortillas with turkey filling. Mix together 1 cup grated Monterrey Jack cheese and ½ cup grated Pepper Jack cheese. Sprinkle cheese on top of turkey filling on each tortilla.
Roll tightly and place seam side down in a buttered baking 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
Pour two cups heavy whipping cream over the top of the rolled enchiladas in the pan. Sprinkle with remaining grated cheese and sprinkle and additional 1 tablespoon chili powder over the top. Cover and refrigerate until ready to bake. Uncover when ready to bake.
Bake at 350° for 30 to 40 minutes, until heated through and bubbly.
WHITE TURKEY CHILI
In a Dutch oven or large heavy pot over medium high heat, combine: 4 cups diced cooked turkey meat, 2 16-ounce can white beans (cannellini), drained, 6 cups chicken stock, 2 cloves garlic, minced, ½ cup chopped green chiles, 2 teaspoons cumin, 2 teaspoons chili powder, 2 teaspoons oregano. Simmer gently until heated through. Serve with a dollop of sour cream, a drizzle of salsa and crushed tortilla chips on top.
TURKEY-WALDORF SALAD TUCKED IN A PITA
In a medium mixing bowl, combine: ½ cup real mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, and salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Add 2 cups cooked diced turkey meat, 1 apple, chopped, ½ cup celery, sliced thinly, ½ cup green grapes, sliced and ½ cup chopped walnuts.
Cut pita breads in half, tuck a butter lettuce leaf in each and fill with Turkey-Waldorf Salad.