This year we ended up with a 20 lbs turkey! Unfortunately, there's no photo of our roasted turkey. The giant bird was too big for our roasting pan, so we used an aluminum one from the store - which tore halfway through cooking. We had to tun to the store, get another pot, transfer everything, and re-foil. In the end, it turned out great, but by the time our turkey was done we were tired and frustrated and in no mood for food photos or social media.
So here's a very pretty stock photo of roasted turkey instead:
We're quite excited to take this challenge on and see how many meals we get out of our giant bird. We managed to strip off about 10.7 lbs of meat (4,884g to be exact). We're predicting 9 - 11 meals for two people.
When we strip the leftover meat, we then separate it into vacuum-sealed freezer bags. We rifle through recipes and decide in advance what we want to use our turkey for, then freeze the amount of turkey needed for each recipe in a bag labeled with the recipe name.
Then we make turkey broth! Our 20 lbs turkey yielded 130oz of broth (3.8 liters).
We always choose to reserve 5.5 cups of broth for the next turkey roast in a vacuum-sealed bag: • 4 cups gets for gravy • .5 cups for stuffing
• 1 cup for the bottom of the roasting pan
Meal 1 & 2: Traditional Turkey Dinner.
Our first two dinners are back-to-back nights of traditional turkey dinner, with stuffing and mashed potatoes from our garden, drizzled in giblet gravy. This year we had a lovely harvest slaw on the side!
Meal 3: Mango and Basil Turkey Salad
View recipe For sandwiches we freeze about 185g of meat. This is enough to make two generous sandwiches.
This is a classic in our household. The turkey salad is made with mango and ginger aioli, green onion, and fresh basil.
Meal 4 "Turkey Taco"
The idea was lovely: turn the stuffing into a "taco shell," layer it with mashed maple butternut squash, crispy shredded Brussels sprouts, top with turkey and gravy. This one ended up being an epic kitchen fail! Our "stuffing taco shell" didn't quite work out. We didn't use enough binder, so it just turned into a... stuffing hash?
But we don't waste food, so we ate it anyway! We just layered up stuffing hash, turkey, and gravy with the crispy Brussels sprouts on top. Then enjoyed the butternut squash on the side with some corn. We'll be giving this another try next year!
Turkey Meal 5: Classic Turkey Salad Sandwich
After the previous kitchen fail, we decided to go simple. Besides, we needed a quick and easy lunch for work. We shredded some turkey, diced an apple, sliced a celery stick, and mixed it all with mayo. Then added a little salt and pepper, placed it on fresh white bread with some butter lettuce.
Turkey Meal 6: Diner Style Hot Turkey Sandwiches
One of the reasons we make so much gravy is because we love Hot Turkey Sandwiches. This old-school style meal can still be found at authentic diners. It's a pretty straight forward dish. Pour a puddle of hot gravy onto the plate and place a slice of fresh white bread on top of it (we get our at Nutana Bakery). Then layer reheated sliced turkey breast and pour more gravy on top of that. This is, obviously, intended to be eaten with a fork and knife. The bread becomes a wonderful delivery device for copious amounts of gravy, turning into a sort of gravy bread pudding.
The trick here is reheating the turkey breast so that it is still moist. We slice the turkey breast and layer it into a ceramic dish. We pour over our saved turkey broth until the meat is covered, then add a dollop of butter. Cover it with aluminum foil, and place it in an 350°F for 30 minutes. Remove the turkey and place it on the bread. Feel free to re-freeze the broth for gravy to pour over mashed potatoes, or add it to a turkey soup. This dish is awesome served with mashed potatoes or fries, and a generous pile of buttered sweet peas.
Turkey Meal 7: Braised Cabbage and Turkey Sandwich
This sandwich is one of the reasons we make copious amounts of cranberry sauce to freeze. We use our port-cranberry sauce to braise red cabbage, both a delicious side and sandwich topping. Then reheat some turkey meat (see above: Diner Style Hot Turkey Sandwiches), and layer it on bread with goat cheese and bacon.
Turkey Meal 8, 9 & 10 : Turkey Tetrazzini
It is at this point that we realized our giant turkey would provide much more than 11 meals.
Turkey Tetrazzini is one of those dishes we patiently wait for all year long. This pasta casserole is made with a rich and creamy cheese sauce, mushrooms and peas. It's so outrageously good we struggle not to over-eat, but we do always make a big batch. Over the course of a week we enjoyed one Turkey tetrazzini dinner and two lunches. Like any proper casserole, this actually tastes better the next day.
We didn't take the best photo, mostly because we've been waiting for this all year, and once it was ready, we wanted to eat and not food stage!
To be continued....