BLACK TURKEY DAY — While most of you were clogging the roads and trying to stay alive and away from those few willing to kill or main to buy, buy, buy on Black Friday, for me it Black Turkey Day. For many reasons we were celebrating Thanksgiving on Black Friday. My contribution? A Kosher Turkey Breast so those of us who made that difficult contract with the God- father could be somewhat obedient while chewing harder and longer.
Turkey has no fat, which is why butter ball turkeys or bacon wrapped turkeys are so envied by Kosher keeping Jews. Well, at least converts who remember the taste of bacon and butter braised meats.
Bacon heads my short list of most missed forbidden foods. We didn’t have bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches at my mother’s house, we had bacon sandwiches, gobs and gobs of crisp bacon, dabbed with mayo cradled between soft bad-for-you Wonder Bread. Had chocolate been among the forbidden, I might not have made it to Micvah—Jewish ritual bath and baptismal font. But I digress, back to Black Turkey.
Over the years I have managed to turn Kosher Turkey into a reasonable succulent dish. At least husband, a food critic’s critic, thought I did Turkey fairly well. However, this year an hour and half ride to our hostess’ house Iron Chef challenge. Food Network said in such circumstances cooking, slicing, and reheating in the juice that the turkey cooked in, while second-rate, was moderately acceptable.
Why when I get no respect from them—see my Six Rules of Safe Drinking Post do I continue to follow their advice? Says something about me. Not sure what, but something. Stupid at worse. Forgiving of those who trespass against me at best.
Not totally in the thrall of Food Network, I decided to braise the bird. Their recipe was for a roasted turkey breast, but competing food advisors said braise was the One True Path to juicy. I planned to braise the breast the night before, slice it in the morning and heat it in the broth of the braise.
So when you were over-stuffed and lulling around, I was cooking my turkey in the Broth of the Braise. The braising recipes called for creating a bed of celery, onions and green peppers. . Didn’t have green peppers, but sitting on my counter were a number of little green apples. My heart knew those little green apples were begging to be become contributors to the Broth of the Braise. As you will see that idea was clearly planted in my aging skull by the chefs of the Food Network. How dare I suggest they drink more moderately?
Chop, chop, chop and then into my cast iron Dutch Oven went my little green apples. Food Network called for using a cast iron Dutch Oven. Of course, they were trying to sell you one for mucho money. Fooled them. I had such an oven tucked away.
Tucked away because it is so heavy, when I lift it my back doth protest. Pulled back muscles seemed like chicken feed on my quest for a succulent Broth of the Braise (yes, I am now obsessed with those words). protesting.
Pot up, out and on stove, I.crisped the skin to a lovely golden brown. Removed the breast for the pot. Laid down a sweet bed of little green apples, celery and onions. Tenderly put the turkey breast to bed and went off to doing something else.
Two hours later, a lovely, turkey breast, golden crispy skin smiled up at me. The small sliver I took as cook’s reward was very juicy. So into the frig went breast in its succulent Broth of the Braise. The happy cook, singing ‘Broth of the braise” under her breath, went off to bed.
Come morning and time to slice things up, after lifting the Dutch Oven’s lid, I looked down on a witch’s brew. The golden crispy skin lay wrapped in a shroud of grey. The Broth of the Braise was smoky black; the little green apple’s boot black. My turkey breast looked like a meal vampires might crave when they wanted flesh and not blood.
Good news, yes there is good news. Enough of the shroud wiped off so that with careful slicing I managed to revive half a breast. The Broth of the Braise got dumped. The salvaged slices were reheated in chicken broth. Thank you Manischewitz. Did I worry about ill effects. Not me, well maybe a bit, but threat of humiliation by confessing Black Turkey to family got the upper hand. The God-father was kind to me. No one died.
Husband ate four big slices and two little ones before complaining it was a bit tough. If he only knew.
Moral, no little green apples in cast iron cooking pots. Either that or don’t make the Food Network chefs angry.
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