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Can turkey ever be good?

Turkey is my least favorite meat, yet my friend (who I'm spending Christmas with) is adamant that we should have turkey.

If I go all out and get a non-intensively reared bird, what's the difference in taste and texture? I find turkey to be grey, dull and flavourless, even when cooked well.

Also there's just two of us, so a whole turkey is kind of insane.

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  1. I hated turkey when I lived in the US. In recent years I have been getting from my Paris butcher dinde fermier (farm turkey) from a Dordogne farm. It tastes so different that if the American turkey is turkey, then we should call this something else.
    This year we also tried a new recipe adapted from the classic Peking Duck recipe and using, among other things, maple syrup and a hair blow-dryer. :)
    It totally delivered, considering the apopreciative reaction from my guests that include some major cooks.
    I must say I prefer turkey leftovers, and what one can do with them - turkey rémoulade sandwich with homemade mayo, turkey congee… - to the classic "dinner turkey". But that's just I.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Parigi

      Yeah, I think it works better in a pie or something with a thick gravy/sauce.
      I'm in the UK here, but I'm thinking the turkey is probably a very similar intensively reared thing.

      1. re: Soop

        Two delicious things you can do with turkey--

        1) stew the legs and thighs--brown them well, add lots of chopped onions and carrots, red wine, slow braise--serve with kasha or bulgar

        3) make scaloppini with the breast--you can make saltimbocca (those little breaded and fried ham and cheese packets)

        Personally, I think the secret is to cut it up into pieces and make things you enjoy.

    2. I've found that free-range turkeys, especially heritage-breed birds (i.e. Bourbon Red. Narragansett, Slate) or even wild turkeys have much better flavor and texture than factory-farmed broad-breasted white commercial turkeys. The same is true for any poultry that I've tried. Free-range heritage chickens taste much closer to wild pheasant than any grocery store chicken. Exercise and a varied diet, as well as possibly slower growth make for much better eating fowl.

      1. I've had all kinds of turkeys from the factory farmed butterballs to heritage free range organic turkeys from specialist farms. I've had turkeys that were dry and flavorless and moist and juicy.

        Shrugs.

        I still don't care for turkey.

        The heritage turkeys are better and have more flavor but given the expense you might as well just skip the whole thing and have chicken.

        1. I'm with you, Soop.

          I find it boring, tasteless and, at Christmas, so very predicatable. And, because, we cooking for several family members we can go for the whole bird - free rangle or organic. They cost a fortune - perhaps £70. And, even, they're bland.

          I wouldnt have turkey in the house if it was up to me. But it's so embedded in the Xmas tradition that it just has to be done.

          I think you've got two ways forward as your friend is insistent. Just buy a whole bird - cheapest you can find, forget quality - be prepared to throw some out but also get some leftovers frozen away (say, as a curry).

          Other option is to buy one of the free range turkey breasts that are around. Marks & Spencer has a possibility (but you need to pre-order) - just under 2kg (so still big) at £32.50. That's what we're buying - but we're going to cut it in two and freeze one half for another time.

          Either way, just forget about really enjoying the turkey and concentrate on enjoying all the trimmings - always so much better.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Harters

            Wow, that's actually a great idea. If I make the sausagemeat stuffing I made last year, pigs in blankets, goosefat 'taters and some nice veggies, I barely even have to taste the turkey!

            This could be a winner.

            I wish she'd see the light though, we could have a rib of beef!

            Thanks as always Harters :D

          2. Look, if you don't like turkey, how it is raised or how it is cooked AIN'T gonna change that. It sounds like your friend is the host and you are the guest. If that's the case you'll do well to "shut up and eat," and SMILE! But if your status is co-host and you're a financial contributor to the festivities, then you can try for a compromise such as ADDING a nice baked ham to share the spotlight with the turkey. Be a happy Santa!!! '-)

            14 Replies
            1. re: Caroline1

              i do believe they're brits and turkey is THE traditional meat at christmas, and as such, much more etched in stone than some american meals may be.

              have had everything from cheap supermarket birds to heritage pastured. there is a distinct and superior difference in the latter. i usually host a small thanksgiving, so don't mind the expense. that being said, i also prefer the dark meat. if your birds are still looking like jayne mansfields the ratio of light to dark is all wrong. if i'm buying extra pieces, i always buy extra legs.

              are you two cooking together? have you thought about dry-brining the bird?

              http://articles.latimes.com/2011/nov/...

              lots of threads on here for it and it really improves both flavor and texture. it does take 3 days to brine and another day to air-dry before cooking, so plan ahead.

              you may also want to have your butcher spatchcock it, so it cooks more evenly and avoids overdone white meat.

              http://www.seriouseats.com/2012/11/ho...

              open a nice bottle and enjoy the day!

              1. re: Caroline1

                Soop, what about a turkey drumstick confit? I guarantee you'll get some serious flavour with that type of prep. With the breast you can bone it out, butterfly and tie into a roulade around the sausage meat you mentioned. Could be a knockout dinner, though a bit of extra work.

                1. re: Caroline1

                  @hotoynoodle, yeah we're in England, very traditional (but *somehow* only since around halfway through the last century. Before that, it was goose for hundreds of years, but somehow Bernard Matthews pulled off some legendary coup, and now everyone eats substandard verpriced turkey. Weird.)

                  @Caroline, Yeah, it's at her house (despite my protests) but I'm going to be helping out. I have traditions too dammit! I've been cooking the xmas dinner for years now and I always boss it! Sadly she refuses to even accept a two meat compromise.

                  @Sweatpea, your idea sounds AMAZING. I'm not afraid of a little effort in the kitchen, and that sounds like it's packed with flavour. I might even put a layer of mushroom paste in there.

                  1. re: Soop

                    Yeah, you're in for it! Damn Charles Dickens! My family (mother and her parents) were born in Jolly Olde, and came to this country when my mother was seven. Consequently, when I started school already knowing how to read and write, it was a royal pain failing spelling tests because I spelled "color" with an "o" in it!

                    That said.... An even OLDER and equally British tradition is the Christmas Goose! Deeeeeeeeeeee-licious! When my kids were growing up, for years I made traditional English (with maybe a touch of French haute cuisine thrown in) Christmas goose, with flaming Christmas pudding for dessert, and the whole nine yards. Even crackers! And nooooooooo... I'm NOT talking about a soda cracker at each place. I'm talking about the traditional Brit "cracker" which consists of a festively wrapped tube with a tail sticking out one side that sets off a bang (as in a cap gun) and the cracker has "Cracker Jack" style toys inside, along with a tissue paper hat that everyone wears at the table. FUN!!! So some crackers, for all of us Americans to learn about and enjoy, are not always crushed into soup! OR soop! '-)

                    Tell her you want a traditional Christmas goose!!!

                    Of course, this advice is absolutely useless if you don't like goose either! Jolly good luck, Old Chap! '-)

                    1. re: Caroline1

                      My brother in law and family lived in America for a while. The niece, then aged 11 or 12, had a miserable first few months at school over the different spellings.

                      By the by, she adopted a great trick of assuming a very decent American accent when talking in public. An accent she immediately dropped when she walked through the front door of the house.

                      1. re: Harters

                        Exactly what I went through, more or less the same age.
                        But I figured out how to win friends by helping others cheat at grammar tests.
                        If I casually rested one finger on my cheek: who.
                        Two fingers: whom.
                        Please share with her.

                        1. re: Parigi

                          Thanks, Harters and Parigi! And the problem is FAST becoming moot! There are school districts here in the United States that are planning to discontinue teaching cursive writing (handwriting) because it is falling into "disuse" by way of technology. I would totally fail a texting spelling test, I hate posts written in all small case with no punctuation. And I live in fear of the future, because here in the U.S., how in the hell are they going to teach civics if the students cannot READ the bloody Constitution for themselves! OR the Magna Carta! <sigh> Planet Earth: best spot in the Universe to observe raging insanity!

                          Where is Dr. Who when you need him????

                          1. re: Caroline1

                            The good Doctor is currently in limbo, Caroline. Although he is about to regenerate around Christmas. It'll be interesting to see if he retains the new actor's Scottish accent unlike his predecessor but one.

                            1. re: Harters

                              Which only shows to go: The future AND the past are wonky! '-)

                        2. re: Harters

                          Mastering an accent so you can blend in is a VERY useful trick! I think it was Jack Paar, host of the "Tonight" show on NBC before Johnny Carson took over (eons ago) who used to say something like, "You know, if you wake up an Englishman in the middle of the night, they talk JUST LIKE US!"

                          But then there's the slang barrier too. Way back in mid-60s London, the Brit/Cockney(?) expression for "Call me" (as in telephone) was "Knock me up." At the time a dear friend was newly arrived here in America and quite innocently used the phrase as a parting comment to acquaintances she would run into while out and about. umm... For anyone not familiar with what "knocked up" means in American slang, it means pregnant! "Cultural literacy" can be VERY tricky, even when we share the same language! '-)

                          1. re: Caroline1

                            I've had my "knocking up" issues on the Whats For Dinner thread. It's also a Brit phrase for a rough and ready creation - whether a piece of carpentry or food. So, I might take minced beef, onions, garlic and carrot and "knock up" a quick pasta sauce.

                        3. re: Caroline1

                          My English relatives still have roast goose for Christmas. It's fabulous, especially served with proper British potatoes roasted in goose fat. And I've had roast beef with other families on Christmas as well. So while turkey is the most common Christmas meat it's certainly not the only one out there.

                          1. re: Roland Parker

                            Goose fat is ace. It is even healthy.

                      2. re: Caroline1

                        I agree with Hotoynoodle. The heritage birds taste nothing like the factory raised birds. We had a heritage turkey leg and the flavor was closer to the best pork we had ever tasted. It was crisp on the outside and dark and moist inside. A real treat. I agree though as a guest, be happy and make a side dish you like to compliment the bird. Have fun and happy holidays!

                        JeremyEG
                        HomeCookLocavore.com

                      3. Turkey is a fickle beast. Though I have had my share (read: most every turkey) of dry - flavorless stuff, I do enjoy it when it comes out right. In fact, properly prepared turkey breast is among my favourite sandwich meat.

                        The best turkey I have had as been the result of meticulous preparation. Deconstructed, wet brining, low heat, etc... It's a bit of a chore, but the results have been great. .

                        1. If you don't care for turkey (I'm with you), going all out is just going to up the disappointment level. Just think of it as a centerpiece, like a bowl of flowers. Also, snag as much skin as possible.

                          1. Brining of meats is an interesting concept.

                            It seems to be a particularly specific north American technique. Certainly not a practice here in the UK, nor have I come across it in other European cuisines - although my knowledge doesnt extend across all that many of our 40+ countries.

                            Out of the question, of course, to experiment with the British Xmas meal.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: Harters

                              I saw a Nigella Lawson Christmas show where she brined her turkey in a huge tub she kept outside. Dry brining is much more space efficient.

                              1. re: drgreg

                                dry-brining is better for flavor, texture and space-saving.

                                harters, it's just basically a dry rub of salt and seasonings. nothing krazee!

                                1. re: drgreg

                                  That wasn't salt she was using.

                                2. re: Harters

                                  There's a youtube video of Heston Blumenthal brining a chicken for roasting.

                                3. I have always had very good luck with Cook's Illustrated's Easy Roast Turkey Breast, especially for just a few people. I follow the directions exactly, though I sometimes add garlic to the butter mixture. In the end, it's still turkey, but the butter under the skin gives it good flavor and it's not dry...maybe the water in the pan helps avoid that. And when I let it rest, I cover it loosely with foil.

                                  http://happysnakes.org/Recipe_Roast_T...

                                  1. I like turkey. A lot. Some people do, some don't.
                                    If I didn't I wouldn't make it.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: magiesmom

                                      Personally, I find turkey less exciting than free toothpicks at a roadside diner's check out! Undoubtedly the result of my mother cooking and serving turkey at least around 18 times a year, year in and year out. "Please, Sir, may I have some more porridge?" because I'm certainly not interested in turkey! But for family's and tradition's sake, I do serve it at Thanksgiving, but be damned if that bird is reaching MY Christmas table!

                                      To each his own. Blessings on all of you good hearts who looooooove turkey! Tolerance paves the road to happiness! '-)

                                    2. Do a turkey confit with turkey thighs.

                                      So good you don't even need all the dressing, or gravy, or much less a knife. Just a fork (for the Emily Post in all of us) and a good appetite.

                                      1. Easy solution: Buy your friend a pound of Boar's Head and roast something better for yourself :-)

                                        1. I gotta say one more thing. "Intensley reared bird" Is that a common Brit way to refer to the Butterball nightmare? IF not, it's a seriously great descriptor! But I could just be lagging behind culturally too.... Pray tell, which is it?

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: Caroline1

                                            Intensively reared may be the "Butterball nightmare" but not knowing what that is means I can't comment. I don't like "intensively reared" as a description. it doesnt encompass the sheer awfulness of that style of "agriculture". I much prefer "factory produced".

                                            1. re: Harters

                                              Thank you. I did not even know what "intensively reared" until I read it here. It did make the reality sound much much better. Strange that the tastier type of meat is, logically, considered not intensively reared. lol.

                                              1. re: Harters

                                                To my way of thinking, "factory produced" COULD simply mean that that is where the poor critter was plucked and dressed, whereas "intensely reared bird" says to me forced growth through hormones and antibiotics and all of the bad things that are such a major threat in the American diet today. I don't know how strong a hold "Agribusiness" as America knows it may have a hold in ANY EU country, but in the USA, a "Butterball" brand turkey, sold whole or sold as whole breasts, with or without the bones, is such a massively mutated creature through breeding and food alterations that if one of those poor giant breasted birds was to be transformed into human form, it would make Dolly Parton look as flat chested as a seven year old boy! But.... There are an amazing number of people in this world who think Butterball turkeys are built the way nature made them. NOT!

                                                I interpret it as a good sign -- a VERY good sign -- that you don't know what a Butterball turkey is. Maybe there is hope!

                                                Anyway, for me, "intensely reared bird" is an incredibly descriptive phrase, not only for turkeys, but for any animal that Agribusiness has artificially forced to reach "harvest weight" at a very young age through the use of growth hormones and antibiotics. I love the term, and if Soop coined it, and he's not working as a food writer, maybe it's time!

                                                1. re: Caroline1

                                                  Yeah, that's exactly what it means, but no, I didn't coin it!
                                                  I think it's just one of those things you get from watching a lot of foodie TV shows from chefs who are ecology minded.

                                                  This is a pretty interesting show if you can find a way to watch it: http://www.channel4.com/programmes/hu...

                                            2. Buy a breast and do a ballotine.

                                              1. I actually really enjoy turkey and am quite sad that the Thanksgiving leftovers are gone. I've had various types of turkey, but I think cooking method matters more than anything or at least not overcooking it. I actually eat turkey probably at least once a day throughout the year and when cooked properly, I prefer it to chicken although the flavor will never rival other cuts like beef and pork but it's not meant to. Perhaps you could go for thighs/legs, maybe a heritage bird and hope for more flavor but if you don't like turkey I think you might just not like turkey.

                                                1. Not a turkey fan here. Of all I have tasted, I liked Cajun injected and fried the best. However, to me the whole point of turkey is before it hits the plate, in other words, the smells. You could melt some butter, pour in a little Sherry, and just leave it on a low burner to get most of the effect.

                                                  1. My favorite preparation is smoked or halved and cooked on a large Weber kettle. The best birds I have ever tasted I grew up on in Sonoma county...Willie Bird fresh free range organic. Perfection.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: MamasCooking

                                                      I agree, some say they can't tell the difference between Butterball and other turkeys but for years I've eaten Butterball at my parents' house. The past few years when I've cooked my own Thanksgiving dinner it's been a free range organic bird and I've loved it. This year I bought an heirloom bird and it wasn't too different, so will probably stick with the regular free range.

                                                    2. It's interesting how many are saying, "Just do a breast." Ipsedixit is the guy who gives the right answer in my book, that what's needed is a thigh or two. I've always believed that chicken and turkey breasts were good for sandwiches, period, and was delighted when I found I'd married into a family that felt the same way. When everyone was still alive and living at home, Thanksgiving was when we'd have a "four-legged" turkey, with an extra set of legs and thighs.

                                                      This year we had dinner with a group of friends, and the guy who made the turkey got a supermarket bird, wet-brined it for a day or two and then just roasted it in an open pan. The food-safety nannies would not have approved of the amount of pinkness around the joints, but it was pretty damned good. I didn't bother tasting the breast meat …

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: Will Owen

                                                        Safe turkey can still be pink but I agree with the dark meat idea if op is looking to max out flavor.

                                                        1. re: Will Owen

                                                          Those drum sticks have grown in popularity over the years to the point where you see them at fairs & places like Disney.....at Disney they are north of $9.00 ea.

                                                          I cut the drum sticks / thighs / wings off and cook them on a separate sheet and pull them at different times. The breast I tent with foil to retain moisture (sacrificing the skin) and thin slice later for cold sandwiches or hot on toast with gravy.

                                                        2. As you've guessed, most turkeys are raised mostly for size, with little regard for flavour. That's especially true of the battery birds you see in Tesco et al. (Although I think technically true battery birds are now illegal - some EU regulation?)

                                                          A really first-rate, carefully raised turkey *can* taste quite good. It will have a firmer texture (because it has less water) and a stronger flavour than an ordinary one. A good source (but you have to be quick in ordering) is:

                                                          http://www.wellhungmeat.com.

                                                          If you have a local poulterer then you're really in luck; he should be able to find you something very nice indeed.
                                                          Bear in mind too that flavour tends to be inversely proportionate to size, so getting a smaller bird is generally a better choice.

                                                          That said, in comparison to most other fowl, turkey is really rather plain. You can think of it a lot like a very big chicken - and thus that the best flavour you can get out of a turkey is about the same as you'll get from the very best chicken you can buy. As with chicken the breast is much milder than the legs and wings - so if it's flavour you're after, ask for a thigh at the table.

                                                          Many families like to cut up the entire turkey into slices (or with inept carvers chunks and shreds), and then pile everything onto a big plate. I've found this is a very bad thing to do. Turkey meat loses a lot of flavour quite fast when piled in this way, and of course it becomes considerably harder to choose dark or white meat unless people have been sufficiently considerate to put them in separate piles.

                                                          It should be noted as others have mentioned that turkey pie is a lovely way to make use of any leftover meat, and you can boil the carcase for stock as well.

                                                          Parigi - "apopreciative": is this some way of guests attempting to conceal dismay behind a supremely ambiguous response (think apoplectic + appreciative) :-D

                                                          9 Replies
                                                          1. re: AlexRast

                                                            " "apopreciative": is this some way of guests attempting to conceal dismay behind a supremely ambiguous response (think apoplectic + appreciative)" "
                                                            I hope not. LOL. But great word, which I will steal from self. Thanks.

                                                            1. re: AlexRast

                                                              Thanks for this Alex.
                                                              Can confirm on the piling, and a turkey pie is the way forward.

                                                              I'll use your advice for the turkey :)

                                                              1. re: AlexRast

                                                                Yeah, you too mate :D

                                                                Just as an update, we're going with your idea, and it turns out, I get my way with just about everything else! So far we're talking:

                                                                Canapés: Smoked salmon, mini yorkshire puddings with roast beef (yumyumyum) maybe some mustard, devils on horseback

                                                                Main: Turkey, Goosefat taters, Spring greens, sprouts, carrots, gravy, sausagemeat stuffing, pigs in blankets, maybe I can fit broccoli cheese in?!

                                                                Cheese! I get to eat cheese, so I'll get some comte, some stilton and.. probably a brie, maybe some goats cheese. Definitely goats cheese.

                                                                Desert: Chocolate yule log.

                                                                Gosh damn I can't wait!

                                                                1. re: Soop

                                                                  Look out for Delamere goats cheese. Really good if you can find it - made near me in Cheshire.

                                                                  Only comment on what reads like a really good menu is spring greens and sprouts may be a bit samey.

                                                                  1. re: Harters

                                                                    True, but I want to roast the sprouts and serve them with pancetta. Can't remember how I did it before but I remember it working. I'd better add asparagus too actually.
                                                                    The carrots are basically there for colour, variety and because they're pretty much free, I'm not a huge fan.

                                                                    Delamere goats cheese huh? What's it like? If it has that smokey taste I'm aiming for, I'll definitely give it a shot

                                                                    1. re: Soop

                                                                      It's not smoky - but it is creamy and nicely goaty.

                                                                  2. re: Soop

                                                                    what are spring greens in december in england? ;)

                                                                    1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                      Hmm, that's a good point. The name would suggest it's spring grown. I'll just check my handy-dandy seasonality chart...

                                                                      We're good. Looks like March June and July are the only months it's not in season. Hardy crop!

                                                                      1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                        "Spring Greens" are a type of non-hearting cabbage and, as Soop indicates, are available over a very long season. I love 'em and often buy them in preference to normal cabbage.

                                                                        Something for Soop to look out for at this time of year are sprout tops. This is the top of the usual stalk of sprouts and they're often sold as a substiture for spring greens - similar texture and flavour, although the individual leaves are smaller.

                                                                  3. The best turkey dish I ever made was this:
                                                                    -- Take the bone out of some thighs, but leave the skin on
                                                                    -- Marinate them in lemon, garlic and oregano
                                                                    -- Smash them down a little to even out the thickness
                                                                    -- Broil them over charcoal

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: Sharuf

                                                                      To this non-fan of turkey, that actually sounds...edible.

                                                                    2. Fricasseed turkey wings are one of my favorite things. That's a nice thing to do to thighs and drumsticks, too.

                                                                      1. Here's some pictures of a Split Breast turkey I just made last night. Turkey was on sale for .48/lb. after Thanksgiving. This piece was 2.5 pounds, or $1.18.

                                                                        The quick version of cooking directions....

                                                                        450*F for 20 minutes
                                                                        Drop down to 275*F for 1 hour 15 minutes.
                                                                        Hit 150*F Internal.
                                                                        Held at 140*F for one hour inside the oven.
                                                                        Carryover brought it to 155*F
                                                                        Sliced.

                                                                        Pretty darn good...tender and moist.

                                                                        The Second, a Turkey Roll... boned, rolled and tied with both white and dark meats..... with similar directions, only roasted at 225*F and for 3.5 hours.

                                                                        The last two pictures are the leftovers today, cold, remaining breast taken off and slice fairly thin without breaking apart...indicating it was not dry.

                                                                         
                                                                         
                                                                         
                                                                         
                                                                         
                                                                         
                                                                         
                                                                         
                                                                         
                                                                         
                                                                         
                                                                         
                                                                         
                                                                        12 Replies
                                                                        1. re: fourunder

                                                                          Wow, that looks great. That's about as professional as turkey gets!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                                          1. re: Tom34

                                                                            More pictures and the complete directions to follow next week. .....stay tuned.

                                                                            I also have a Steamship of Pork to share, 16 pounds, slow roasted for 12 hours and rested for 2....it came out pretty good too.

                                                                            1. re: fourunder

                                                                              Will check back.......slow roasted for 12 hrs in oven or outdoor cooker?

                                                                              1. re: Tom34

                                                                                Inside, overnight in the oven @ 210 1AM - 1 PM. two hour hold, Thanksgiving Day dinner @ 3-30PM....the camera phone screwed up the pics.

                                                                                 
                                                                                 
                                                                          2. re: fourunder

                                                                            It looks great! I was just going to ask on the other thread if this would work for turkey parts, I guess it does. Any tips for turkey wings?

                                                                            1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                              Pretty much the same, only I would skewer them at the joints to elevate and suspend them so they could cook evenly with air circulation up and over.... and not let the skin touch the pan, rack or grill grate so it wouldn't stick. Same 225-275 and then the blast to crisp the skin. Hold for the two hours wouldn't be necessary, but i would probably still do an hour.

                                                                              1. re: fourunder

                                                                                Great, thanks. I imagine they'd take less than 1 hour 15 minutes so I'll just check them after 45 minutes perhaps. I picked up a few packages which were on sale yesterday.

                                                                                1. re: fourunder

                                                                                  Blargh I was planning to try this this weekend but realized only have a boneless skinless breast. Would this method work or will it be too dry without skin on while roasting?

                                                                                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                    You can substitute something else for the skin....bacon or vegetable, e.g. wilted lettuce leaves or cabbage leaves to protect the flesh.

                                                                                    1. re: fourunder

                                                                                      Wow, never tried that before. Just wilt the leaves by boiling or microwave and cover? I happen to have both a head of iceberg and cabbage in the fridge which haven't been assigned a use yet.

                                                                                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                        I've never tried the microwave, but the boiling water surely will make them pliable.....use the cabbage as first choice.

                                                                              2. re: fourunder

                                                                                Wow Fourunder, that's just incredible!

                                                                              3. TorontoJo's brined then roasted spatchcocked turkey is the best ever. I didn't know that roast turkey could be so juicy and flavourful. I think the trick to juicy turkey is brining it well.

                                                                                When I didn't feel like roasting an entire turkey this past Canadian Thanksgiving, I stuffed one breast (with skin on) with my favourite bread stuffing, and roasted 4 turkey wings separately, so we'd have some dark meat as well. Both the stuffed breast and the wings turned out well, but weren't as juicy as TorontoJo's whole roasted turkey.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: prima

                                                                                  Shucks again, prima, thank you. Not that it was in question, but you get a perma-invite to U.S. Thanksgiving! ;0)

                                                                                  Just a note that I do a dry brine.

                                                                                  BTW, what's the recipe for your favourite bread stuffing?

                                                                                2. Factory farmed turkey, like all factory farmed meat, is pretty much destined to have only the flavors you put into it. And most people overcook the breast meat so it's about as tempting as a sheet of waxed paper.

                                                                                  However, turkey can ALWAYS be good, moist and juicy, AND flavorful. But you have to start with a good bird. Free-range is key, and organic or sustainably raised makes a difference as well. Yes, it costs more that an Butterball, but the difference in flavor and texture is well worth the cost.

                                                                                  OTOH, not everyone (like you!) cares for turkey, and that's okay. Convince your friend to meet in the middle somewhere. Emphasize that you don't care for turkey and find a protein you both like. Establish a new tradition!

                                                                                  One of my all-time favorite Thanksgiving dinners featured Goanese (Indian) Roast Pork.

                                                                                  1. I don't like turkey, either, and I've had some that were supposed to be amazing--you know, locally raised, silk bedding, organic food, named, christened, confirmed, brined, etc. I still didn't like the meat.

                                                                                    However, if I have to cook one again, I'll do what a lot of the Chinese people I know do: they season it with sesame oil, garlic, ginger, red pepper, and scallions to give it an Asian flavor. I haven't tried it this way, mind you, but if I think of it the next time I'm confronted with a turkey, I will!

                                                                                    1. I am finally happy to say yes, yes, yes!!! I just made this recipe, modeled after the famous Zuni cafe chicken, and it was a monumental success. http://savour-fare.com/2009/11/18/a-t...