Stars To Steer By

The misadventures of a creative mind

T-Day: The bird-pocalypse December 5, 2013

This is going to be a relatively short post, which is a little sad considering the task. Several months ago, The Daring Kitchen informed it’s cooks that they were going to have to roll up their sleeves, take a deep breath, and plunge into learning to de-bone a chicken, guided by the extraordinary Jacques Pepin. It was actually quite challenging for me, but a lot of fun at the same time and so I said that I would try this again with a turkey for Thanksgiving.

Well, Thanksgiving was yesterday and I sort of kept my promise. One of my cousins actually brought the bird for the Thanksgiving dinner, and since we had an abysmally small turnout, (only ten people can you believe it?! Normal for us is 30-40 sometimes closer to 50) my mom said I couldn’t cook a second bird day of. However, she said I could cook one the next day for my immediate family to have as “leftovers”. So this morning I got out a paring knife and got to work. And I worked, and worked, and worked. It dawned on me at some point that butchering one chicken – and I mean butchering in the sense that I made a terrible mess out of a perfectly friendly bird – probably hadn’t prepared me to take on it’s older, meaner, and much more stubborn cousin. The tendon’s on these creatures are beastly. You could use them as towing cables on small cars. And if super glue stuck to items half as well as this bird tried to stick together we wouldn’t have invented epoxy.

In my defense, I am a very stubborn person and refused to admit defeat to a dead bird smaller than my torso. (Bigger than my torso and I might have considered it.) So I sloughed on, making a mess where Mr.Pepin creates perfect cuts of meat. And finally, the carcass was out, the bones removed, the flesh laid out and ready to stuff. Which was the easy part – a box of Stovemix bead crumbs, a sauteed onion, some ground beef, and some chopped apple … we were out of sausage and celery. Pile that on the splayed turkey, make sure the wings and legs have some stuffing in them and tie the whole thing up. I tossed mine in the oven at 325 for 2 hours and hey presto the first turkey I’ve ever made!

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Tip for life in the future: When you see a little old french chef walking toward you looking friendly and smiling at the world, turn around and run. Those guys must have hands made of iron ore to be able to tear apart birds they way they do and you don’t want to get on the wrong side of them – can you imagine your hands after a “friendly” handshake, a quick arm wrestle, or a game of Uncle?


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