Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Another One?

I baked another turkey last night. I bought a 16-pound turkey for Thanksgiving, but it was too large for the smoker. And I didn't allow enough time for it to thaw. Wednesday evening, Mark went to Kroger and bought a 12-pound fresh turkey. The cost nearly choked me at $0.89/pound; I learned my lesson this year. Buy early, buy small, and thaw early.

Regardless, I had already started thawing the 16-pound turkey, so I couldn't just stick it back in the freezer. I planned to roast it Friday. By the time we finished tree shopping, I didn't care if the turkey did the chicken dance in the living room. Saturday we lazed - the only day we did last week - and I completely forgot the poor thing. Sunday we had a counseling session at the church that consumed all our attention. By last night when I pulled the turkey out of the fridge, Mark said, "Are you sure that's safe?"

Given that it wouldn't have completely thawed until Friday, I felt it was on the edge of safe, so I washed and prepped it, stuffed it with onion, garlic and celery, rubbed it with olive oil, and stuck it in the pre-heated oven. Just as I did that, Julia walked into the kitchen and said, "Another turkey? Why?"

It finished baking around 9:30 last night, and I enjoyed the most succulent, juicy turkey breast I've had in at least four days. I plan to pull the rest of the meat off the bone and freeze it for later meals. I'll use the carcass remnants to try my hand at turkey broth. The dark meat makes excellent enchiladas. Here's how:

Turkey Enchiladas

1 small onion chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1/2 medium bell pepper chopped fine
1 T olive oil
1-2 cups dark turkey meat
1 can (2 cups) black beans drained
1/2 can (1 cup) corn drained
1 can (1.25 cups) enchilada sauce
8-12 corn tortillas (use wheat if you prefer)
To Taste:
chili powder
cayenne (red) pepper

Pre-heat oven to 350F.

Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat and saute onion, garlic, and bell pepper together until onions are translucent. Add turkey and stir together until turkey is warm (I usually just pull it out of the freezer and chop it without thawing, using the skillet for that job). Add beans and corn, stir. Add 1/2 enchilada sauce. Add cumin, chili powder and cayenne pepper to taste. There's enough sodium in the various ingredients that I feel safe promising you won't need salt.

Scoop the mixture into the tortillas and roll into a cylinder; don't bother trying to tuck the ends. Place seam-side down into a pan with sides. I like to use a casserole dish or one of my Pampered Chef casserole stones. You could use the crock pot a la Emily, too, but I've never tried it. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the top. If you really want cheese, sprinkle it over the top. Bake about 20 minutes.

Serve with salsa, sour cream, or whatever else you like. I like salsa best.

I need to make more bread tonight. We ate the last four slices of the last loaf this morning, and you would have thought I was chasing the girls around the house with a hot iron the way they whined about only getting one slice in their lunch. For perspective, the little vegetarians take a hunk of cheddar, a couple celery stalks, an apple (or strawberries. or grapes), a couple of carrots, water, and bread in their lunches. They are not starving.

So if I want to defend my Most-Awesome-Parent-Ever title against the cunning wiles of Mr. Comes-up-with-more-fun-stuff-than-me-and-doesn't-cuss-as-much, I'm going to have to bake more bread tonight. I think I'll set aside most of at least one turkey breast for sandwiches and side meat for dinners for Mark and I before I freeze the turkey. In my world, there is nothing more traditional or tasty than a warm turkey sandwich.

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