Friday, December 09, 2005

Be your own butcher (and the turkey wing story)

This is the second post on the many uses I made of this gigantic bird I bought on sale at the grocery store about a week ago. You can look at my first post here. What I forgot to mention on that first post is that I committed a big culinary no-no by partly defrosting the bird before boning it and refreezing half of it. It is supposed to be an unsafe practice as bacteria have more time to develop and, I am guessing, the texture of the meat would also be affected. In other words, if you want to follow my steps, do it at your own risks.

The reason I partially thawed the turkey was to allow me to take it apart in smaller pieces: two boneless breast, two boneless legs, two wings each segmented in three and a pile of bones, neck and cartilages to make stock. Fresh turkey is better but always more expensive and, although it is unfortunate, one has to make concessions.

I defrosted the bird in brine made with water, white wine, salt and some bay leaves. Adding just a little bit of wine to your brine is a wonderful way to add a complementary flavour to almost any poultry, about ¼ of the liquid is enough, more and you’ll get something resembling Chinese drunk chicken (which is not necessarily a bad option). When I say that I only partly defrosted the turkey it is because there was still some slightly frozen parts when I deboned it; I didn’t want bacteria to have time to build their own microbial cities and societies so I did what I had to do as fast as the bird was workable.

At the end, the two breasts were placed in Ziploc bags along with some of the brine to freeze until they were needed. The legs were boned and rolled with herbs, cheese and spices (see next post) and I kept the meatiest part of the wings for diner and added the wing tips to my pile of bones from which I made this stock. To this I also added some bones leftovers from previous chicken meals.

I'll talk about stock making in a further post but let's talk about those wings. At home, both my partner and I like very spicy food so I simply made a rub with salt, chilli powder, paprika and cayenne pepper and applied it to the drumette and wing before baking them. Since a turkey is a fairly large bird, it was enough to feed the two of us, especially since we have had a liver appetizer before the main course. We added a small parsley salad, some sautéed cabbage and some beets to the plate to make it complete.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I had never liked turkey. I don't like the bland flavour and the dry meat of turkeys. I especially hate the usually Thanksgiving and Christmas turkey. You stuff the stomoch and tie it up and then into the oven. But it is such a marvelous idea to cook different meals with different parts of the turkey.