November brings to mind many things, but usually in that mix of things, turkey finds its way into our thoughts. I’m not quite sure why they are not readily available throughout the rest of the year because turkey meat is not only delicious, it is an affordable way to food-prep many healthy meals when busy weekdays don’t afford us the time to cook.
While sandwiches and soups readily come to mind when we think of turkey leftovers, I have created for you a variety of options you are sure to love.
But first we have to cook this bird, infuse it with flavor and prepare all the parts we can use for a variety of options.
If you prefer to smoke or fry your turkey, you can still use the procedures here for after it is cooked, but I am simply going to roast it in the oven.
Oven Roasting a Turkey
Set the oven on 400.
– Wash the turkey with cold water inside and out.
– Set the bird in a pan large enough to catch the dripping that will extract from the meat while it cooks. A good 3 inches or more is advisable for the height of the pan
– I prefer to cook the turkey upside down, breast down, because the breast meat takes on more flavor and does not dry out this way.
– If you have fresh herbs, it is nice to slide your finger between the flesh and the skin, and slide sprigs of fresh herbs against the meat.
– Salt the cavity of the bird and the skin.
– Place the turkey in the oven uncovered for 15 minutes
– Turn the oven down to 350 and cover the turkey with a lid or foil.
– A rule of thumb for oven roasting a turkey is 20 minutes per pound, but I have found that rule to be way too much time. A meat thermometer is your most accurate way to know when the bird is cooked, and stick the thermometer into the thick of the thigh, and not the breast for a more accurate reading. 165 is the internal temperature you are looking for. If you don’t have a thermometer, just look for the meat to begin to fall off the bone around the leg area.
Once the bird is cooked and you have enjoyed the first meal, try to make the time to pull all the meat off the carcass while it is room temperature. It is more difficult after it has been in the fridge.
– Place the white meat, and dark meat in a closed container and put into the fridge
– Put all the bones into a large pot. Try to break the breast section in half to fit into the pot.
– Salt, pepper, chopped celery, onions, and fresh herbs can all go into the pot.
– When you are ready to cook, fill the pot ¾ full with water. (This can be done a day later)
– Bring to a boil. Lower, cover, and simmer for an hour.
– Once the broth is cool, you can separate the broth into several containers or airtight plastic bags.
– Broth can remain in the fridge for 3 or 4 days, or freeze it.
You now have all you need for many, many meals.