The Confessions (and recipes) of a Turkey Hoarder









A lot of people wonder at pea’s annual turkey mania. It is a sort of obsession. Come November, there are “turkey wars”. The local grocery store chains fight with each other to have the least expensive turkeys. Usually prices for turkeys go down to about thirty-nine cents a pound.

That is pretty damn cheap for meat.

Now, this ridiculous price only lasts for about two weeks, and there is a limit of one turkey per visit, and you have to usually spend fifteen to twenty bucks in other stuff to get the turkey at that price.

No problem, pea has a *plan*. 😀

Firstly, she does the bulk of her “staples” shopping around this time. Canned goods, pastas, sugar and flour. Dry durable packaged goods with long shelf lives. Lots of these items go on sale, and with a doubled coupon, can be had for extra cheap…

So, by assuring that everything purchased is both on sale, and has a coupon, the initial sales quota can be had for a dollar or two actual money, rather than the fifteen or twenty demanded, plus the final cost of the turkey, each stock-up turkey trip usually costs about ten to twelve dollars. The other trick is to get the BIGGEST effen turkey possible on every trip, to net more usuable meat at the cheapest price. We also have two very large freezers. A five foot upright in the pantry, and a large chest freezer in the cellar.  In a good year, we will have ten to twelve turkeys, averaging about twenty three pounds apiece…not counting the bird for Thanksgiving.

Now, before all everyone starts to think that we must be sick of eating turkey, virtually none of it is roasted ala thanksgiving. The awesomeness of turkey hoarding is just how versatile raw turkey is. Once thawed, the turkey can be taken apart (Dawn knows all about this) fairly easily. Then the creativity begins.

The breast meat can be sliced into thin cutlets, dunked in egg-and-breadcrumb and pan fried….instant “chicken” fingers. And they do NOT taste like turkey. At all. A twenty five pound turkey nets a LOT of fingers, which can be eaten as is…or spread on cookie sheets and frozen, then stored in zip bags for quick dinners. Cover them in marinara…bake til bubbly, cover in cheese…super yum. Make a lemon butter sauce, add capers and you have chicken piccata. Heated in the toaster oven, with Frank’s hot sauce and blue cheese on rolls…chicken finger subs.

Cut into larger, chicken breast sized slabs and marinated in various things, they are great grilled as is, or sliced onto various salads, or chopped for chicken salads of all stripes. The tenderloins are great with various sauces roasted, grilled or simmered in the crockpot, and are great for any escalloped dishes.

Raw dark meat is even more disguiseable. People having the dark meat dishes have mistaken it for pork, veal, venison and beef.  Cut off the bones and into chunks, it makes great stew…just treat it like beef…taters, onions, carrots, celery…seriously yum.

Grilled it is even more outstanding. Marinated and threaded onto skewers with peppers and onions and grilled, it rocks…very much like pork.  The wings get special treatment. Cut into the “flat” and the “drummie” they get roasted, plain. Then, each kind goes into a zip bag and frozen. At the end of that year’s turkey season, there is a bag of frozen roasted “drums” and frozen roasted “flats”.  Thawed, the flats get grilled with bbq sauce…almost just like ribs 🙂 The drummies go into the crock pot with marinara sauce, pepper chunks and onions and make a fabulous “chicken” ciaccatore.  Pre-roasting before freezing renders out all the nasty fat from the skin.

Then there are all those bones. Stock and soup time. The stock can be frozen, or canned for use anywhere you need broth or flavor. And any sort of soup can be made from the bones…”chicken” noodle, vegetable…and it doesn’t scream turkey flavor once all the veggies and seasonings simmer in.

Lastly, all that boiled and semi-flavorless meat from the bones makes a great treat mixed into the cats’ or dog’s food…so nothing goes to waste.

All that wonderful stuff…for thirty-nine cents a pound 😀

Turkeys are worth hoarding 😀

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