We finally cooked the turkey we bought from Pat’s Pastured in November. We intended to do it sooner, but it requires quite a bit of planning. First, the turkey must be taken out of the freezer at least three days ahead, in order for it to become totally defrosted (something we discovered one year, to our dismay). The roasting itself isn’t terribly difficult—an 18-pound bird is obviously harder to handle than a four-pound chicken, but once you get it washed, covered with herbs and in the oven, it cooks beautifully on its own. We haven’t bothered with stuffing the last couple of years.
Once cooked, and after the first meal is savored, the turkey presents another challenge. What to do with all the meat? Time must be set aside for cooking meals to freeze. Today we chopped several pounds of carrots, celery and mushrooms, along with two jars of roasted peppers. The vegetables were sautéed and then assembled into several dishes: turkey tetrazzini*, turkey pie filling and turkey soup. So over the next couple of months we will enjoy our turkey a few more times.
Pat’s heritage breed turkeys don’t remotely resemble the ubiquitous broad-breasted whites, raised for their large breast meat. Even after more than four months in the freezer our turkey was juicy and wonderfully flavorful. Cherisse usually prefers the dark meat, but she enjoyed every part of this bird. We’ve had turkey sandwiches for lunch, sliced turkey with rice and vegetables for dinner, and a new favorite, nime chow.
A heritage breed turkey might be more expensive, but the cost per meal is low…and it tastes great.
*See recipe tab