December 31, 2014

The Crocked Turkey

Our daughter, Barbra, once said, "Mom, why is it that everything you do has a bit of a nightmare attached to it."  Was I offended?  Heck no.  I thought that crack was hysterical.  She clearly appreciates her mother.  

So for the holidays, I am a traditionalist.  Enter the turkey. I heard somewhere that cooking the turkey in the crock pot won't dry it out.   Since, over the years, I've tried the oven, an externally greased brown paper bag, which surprisingly never caught fire, a rotisserie and the clear cooking bags, why not the crock?

Off to the grocery store I sent my husband, Bruce, with my handwritten list. Because, sadly, they are teaching fewer and fewer lessons on cursive, he was, as is always necessary, forced to ask an elderly stranger, who does know cursive, to decode my scribblings. While he got most everything on the list, he forgot the green beans for the casserole. With no beans, we could have none of that kind of casserole, which, in turn, forced me to eat both cans of French Fried onions, not at the same time, of course.  I was smart and hid the second can from Barbra who, like her mother, would have polished off the sucker with the speed of summer lightning, as they say. I've taught her well.

Back to the turkey.  The recipe said to get a six or seven pound bird and that is what Bruce delivered.  I don't know how big our crock is exactly, so I guessed.  I guess a whole lot when I cook. Forget that this appliance is a couple of decades old and the glass lid is long gone.  It still gets hot and a metal spatterware plate works well as a substitute lid.   So there I was, positioning the bird in the pot or trying to.  Then I remembered reading you should put the whole breast side down when roasting so the juices stay in the meat. And then I thought, too, it might be interesting to have a taste test.  To that end, I turned the breast on it side, covered it with carrots, apples, onions, onion soup mix and a bit of water.  My goal was to determine if the submerged portion was juicer.

But first I had to cover the pot.  I tried.  The blue metal plate would not rest on the crock.  The crock was too full.  What should I do?  Weight.  I need weight, I thought.  And so you have the next photo.  After stacking a red metal frying pan, heavy glass lid and metal bunt pan on top, the blue plate fit snugly.  It was off to bed for me.

We awoke to delightful turkey smells, the result pictured below. 

 In dramatic fashion, note the careful placement of the carrots around the turkey slices.

Oh how tender was the meat, all the meat. Remember I had turned the breast on its side, half in the juice, half out?  Well, so much liquid cooked out of the onions and apples, the turkey was completely covered, so that experiment will have to be repeated.   I was, however, disappointed that there was not as much sliced turkey from the breast as I had expected.   As I picked the turkey,  I turned it over and found that there was another entire half of breast! Remember, I may have mentioned in an earlier blog how when I cut up a whole chicken, we play a game Bruce likes to call Guess the Piece. I never did well in my poultry anatomy class, as you might imagine.

"Where's the trash can?"  Somebody yelled.  "It's on the washer." (We'll save the explanation of the deeper meaning of this paragraph for another blog.  It's a stand alone story...)

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