First: I'm watching Eric Ripert on Charlie Rose while eating lunch, and although it's not a very good interview, it reminded me to mention Ripert's PBS show, Avec Eric. I don't like very much food television. Most of it is either too recipe-oriented, too voyeuristic/foodpornish, or just straight-up reality show bullshit. (I am addicted to Top Chef, but it took me four seasons to be talked into watching it.) But Avec Eric is great stuff. Worth finding.
Second: this post features more free stuff for me: dried wild mushrooms from Marx Foods. Like I said, I'll always point out when I'm using free things. I'll have a post specifically about the mushrooms later, though the short version is that after trying them in various ways, I think soup is far and away the best use for them. But they did make a nice gravy here.
Third: I bought three turkeys.
"Bill," you're asking, "what the hell? How many Thanksgivings does one man need?"
None of these turkeys is my Thanksgiving turkey. They're three turkeys ABOVE AND BEYOND Thanksgiving.
See, here's the deal. I'm at the supermarket with a few bucks, I'm picking up some Pepsi Throwback and some pretzels, and I see the frozen turkeys. Forty cents a pound. Forty cents. You know how much the cheapest chicken in the store is? Three times that. You know how much the ground beef is? Twice as much as the chicken. Forty cents a pound. That's cheaper than soup bones. You could drop the turkey in a lobster pot, simmer it all day, and throw it out -- keeping only the broth -- and you've still saved money.
Basically, I would be an irresponsible asshole if I didn't buy a bunch of turkeys.
So for twenty dollars, I got three turkeys, a blue bag of Pepperidge Farm stuffing mix, and a pound of Jimmy Dean sausage. My family has always made Pepperidge Farm stuffing, with sausage. Even when I shake it up and do my own Thanksgiving, in the ten years when I didn't live near my family, I still used Pepperidge Farm; that's just stuffing for me. Traditionally, "my" stuffing has been Pepperidge Farm, shredded rabbit, lots of sage, and tart apples. But the only place around here that I can buy rabbit is a store that I dislike enough that I don't want to give them my business. So I compromised: Pepperidge Farm, sausage, tart apples (Roxbury Russet).
Why was I making stuffing if this isn't Thanksgiving? Well, because turkey and stuffing is fucking awesome, and there's not going to be much leftover at Thanksgiving. So I'll get my fix now, and let my brother have the leftovers next week.
But first I broke down all the turkeys -- cut off the leg quarters and the wings, sliced the meat off the breasts. I have no need to roast a whole turkey -- I'm going to do all sorts of OTHER things with the turkey parts. I used one of the carcasses as a stuffing roasting vessel -- packing the stuffing into it, roasting it until the stuffing was cooked, and then cleaning the carcass off and tossing it into the stockpot with the other two and the wingtips.
The thighs? I used three of those to make turkey confit, cooking them at a low-temp covered in duck fat for hours.
After roasting the three turkey carcasses, I had plenty of fond in the pan, so that became my gravy. I cooked a little flour in the drippings, deglazed the pan with one part apple cider to four parts turkey stock, and cooked it down until thick, with a healthy pinch of salt and a handful of Marx's dried mushrooms (chanterelles and oysters) ground up in the Cuisinart.
So that's our first (rather out of focus) meal from those turkeys: turkey confit, apple/sausage stuffing, mashed potatoes, and wild mushroom cider gravy:
The mushrooms add a nice, nice note to the traditional sage-and-apple flavors of the rest of the food. Very satisfying.