Monday, December 1, 2008

Kosher Turkey and Kosher Salt

Chalk this year’s Thanksgiving up to another notch on the learning tree. First, full disclosure - I am not Jewish. But I thought buying a kosher turkey seemed like a healthy idea. My local Trader Joe’s sold both a brined and non-brined kosher turkey. Since this was my year to switch from brining to a salted turkey, I bought a non-brined one.

Once home I searched fore and aft for the package of giblets, even sticking my head into the cavity. (It was a big bird.) No neck or giblets. Apparently those fowl parts are not kosher. I can live with that, though I’m unclear how turkeys live without them, or why the processor couldn’t have put the fowl parts into a hermetically sealed bag.

TJ’s loses a point from the consumer communication police for not informing us kosher-challenged Gentile-types.

Whole Foods gets a good-guy point for giving me a large neck and two portions of giblets, free of charge. Trust me, they made up for it from my other purchases.

Apparently kosher birds are already salted, but I had no way of knowing if it was as much as my salting recipe called for. Regardless, I followed the recipe – which called for kosher salt. Good call. The bird was the best ever – at least based on a survey of four.

I graded myself an “A” for the entire menu – based on the moans-and-groans meter. The frizzled leeks were fine, but next time I’m going for frizzled onions (sliced VERY thin, and deep-fried). I like leeks (onion’s second cousin) but I like the stronger taste of fried onions even better with this dish.

I used the turkey leftovers two ways – first as Turkey Salad Sandwiches (with pecans, red grapes, and tarragon), and second as a Turkey Pot Pie. Like the earlier “Not your Mama’s Green Bean Casserole” this could be renamed “Not Your Mama’s Turkey Pot Pie,” This recipe includes pearl onions, celery, cremini mushrooms, red boiling potatoes, leeks, and peas. It’s also a perfect use for leftover turkey stock. Now we have Turkey Pot Pie leftovers.

I’ve had so much turkey I’m beginning to sport a turkey waddle. (Also called turkey chin.) But that could be an age thing. I always thought waddle was how one walked when treating every day like a holiday.

I’m not sure about the weight gain on turkey day. I try not to torture myself daily. But it was a four-pounder holiday – the ultimate leftovers.

No comments: