Sunday, November 29, 2009

Turkey, Divided

Every year I wind up cooking the Thanksgiving turkey. I don't mind it, but it's a tad stressful: it's a long cooking time and it's tough to tell partway through how well things are going. And of course, if you get the dark meat done properly, the white meat won't be done right, and vice versa. The turkey is just a poorly-constructed animal, really.

So this year I decided to fix that. With a nice sharp knife I completely dismembered the turkey. The breast and torso went into the oven with a temperature probe set for 165, with the wings put in upside-down (that is, tips down, limb up) The legs, however, were done on the stovetop -- I browned some pearl onions and mushrooms, set them aside, then scorched the skin side of each leg. I flipped the legs back skin-side up, put the onions and mushrooms back and glugged in some marsala wine, added some black pepper and salt, then set the whole thing to cook on low heat for the several hours the breast spent in the oven.

The white meat came out no better or worse than expected (I'm not a fan anyway), but I was able to cook it exactly as long as I wanted. But the legs just came out fantastic. On top of that, since I cooked them with the lid shut there was plenty of great stuff in there for making gravy, which went very well over everything.

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