Turkey, Deconstructed (plus a turkey special!)

photo-2 Ever since I received a meat grinder attachment for my Kitchen Aid last Christmas, I have been itching to make some ground turkey.

We had a few biggin's leftover from the holidays. After thawing out the bird, I went to work breaking it down. For the most part it was just like parting out a chicken, only much larger. To be honest, this was the most difficult part and admittedly would've been easier if I had sharpened my knives beforehand.

I parted out into wings, drumsticks, boneless thighs and boneless breasts. I wrapped up the drumsticks in aluminum foil and placed back in the freezer to be smoked another day. The wings and rest of the carcass were thrown into a big stock pot with carrots, celery, onions and seasonings to simmer away into stock. I think I ended up with about 7 quarts of stock!

Next I went to work on the ground. It was surprisingly easy to slice the boneless breast and thigh meat into chunks and run it through the grinder. After it was all said and done we got about 10 lbs of ground meat from our 24 lb bird, a ratio that I was pretty pleased about. We packaged into 1 lb portions in Ziploc bags and stored it back into the freezer. Ideally we would have done all this with a fresh bird, but we haven't noticed any quality loss from the thaw and refreeze.

We've been enjoying our ground turkey in burgers, spaghetti and meatballs, enchiladas - any place really where we'd normally use ground beef or pork. It's quite lean even with the thigh meat mixed in - which is desired by some, but if you're looking for a higher fat content, you could simply mix in pork fat during the grind.

All in all, I was very pleased with how my project went and will definitely be doing again. I love having the turkeys around the farm - both for their personality and affinity for eating weeds - so I am on a personal crusade to make the turkey a year-round part of people's diet =)

If you would like to join me on this crusade, we do have a few extra holiday birds that we are eager to clear out of the freezer. We are offering a huge special on our frozen turkeys - $60/bird. These are big guys (20 lb+) so you cannot beat this price per pound! Smoke one whole for the 4th of July, save for a future family gathering or part it out and enjoy a little at a time. We only have a couple available so first come, first served. Email us at mail@fairvalleyfarm.com to order yours today. Don't forget - CSA members receive 10% off.

What kitchen projects have you been working on lately? I'm starting to look forward to canning season - just around the corner!

 

In the kitchen.

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With the chaos of holidays & moving, I haven't been in the kitchen nearly as much as I would've liked over the past few months. There is something so satisfying about spending a day in the kitchen and all of the comforting smells and delicious tastes that go with it. My goal over the next couple weeks is to spend a few afternoons in the kitchen a week to get ahead on some staples before our busy season starts. Specifically, my hope is to:

- Stock up on stock. I tend to make a couple batches of chicken stock at a time and freeze/can in jars (depending on how much of a rush I'm in). I save the carcasses from chickens we breakdown for dinner in freezer bags so they are ready when it's time to make a big batch. My stash has run dry so it's time to stock up again. I haven't ever made beef stock, but we have quite a few packs of soup bones, so I'm planning on making a batch or two of that as well.

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- Render some lard. I made a big batch of lard nearly two years ago and we've finally worked our way through it (lard has a surprising long shelf life in the fridge). We have some beautiful leaf fat from our last batch of pigs that I plan on rendering down for use in biscuits, pie crusts, tortillas, and our favorite fried chicken recipe.

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- Ground turkey. This is something I've been wanting to do for a while now, ever since I got a meat grinder attachment for my kitchen aid for Christmas. We had a few extra birds from the holidays and I have been looking forward to breaking one down and grinding the breast and thigh meat. Legs will saved to be smoked, wings and carcass saved for some delicious turkey stock. I'll pack my ground meat into ~ 1 lb baggies, perfect for making burgers, spaghetti and meatballs, tacos, etc.

- Make ahead some convenience foods. If you have switched over to a whole food approach, you know one of the challenges is the time to prep and make everything from scratch. I want to experiment making some from scratch convenience meals ahead of time that can be easily baked off after a long day. I'm thinking frozen pizza, chicken pot pie, lasagna, breakfast sandwiches, etc.

- Make beef jerky. My brother made some beef jerky from our round steak recently and we got to taste it. It was so delicious and I can't wait to recreate it so we can have some healthy, protein-packed snacks for the busy spring days that lie ahead. Check out this link for instructions if you want to give it a go.

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So that is the goal - I'll report back on how things go! Any kitchen projects on your mind lately?