Friday, August 6, 2010

RECIPE: Buttermilk-Marinated Wild Turkey (or very domestic chicken)

So ... it turns out that I'm not very good at making gravy. The instructions I give you are as the recipe gave them to me, and I shall devoutly pray that you have better luck than did I. I promise you I followed the directions--to the letter! ... but it was destined not to be. The chicken turned out wonderfully enough to more than make up for the absence of good gravy. Such a Southern thing, anyway, this white gravy idea.

Buttermilk-Marinated Turkey

1 wild turkey, 13-15 pounds, plucked and drawn
Salt & fresh-ground pepper to taste
2 quarts buttermilk
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
2 teaspoons paprika
2 slices white bread, torn into pieces
1 1/2 cups sherry
1 tablespoon butter, melted

Now, being the recent ex-college student that I am, I make do mostly with the food I am given. I have opted to take part in the Angel Food Ministry, where you pay $30 online every month for a box of food worth more like $75--bought wholesale and distributed through local churches one Saturday of every month. The idea is that one box can feed a family of 4 for approximately one week. My box will last me longer, especially since I supplement it with fresh fruits and veggies (and my precious Aldi purchases of salmon and european chocolate ....). In any case, this month's box came with a whole chicken. Thus ....

1 4-pound chicken, plucked and drawn
Salt & fresh-ground pepper, to taste
2 cups buttermilk, reconstituted from powder
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 teaspoon paprika
1 slice whole wheat bread, torn into small pieces
2/3 cup sherry
1 tablespoon butter, melted

And yes, the proportions are not to scale. But it would have been very dull indeed if I had followed the recipe! Anyhow, I proceeded as follows:

Wash and dry the turkey (CHICKEN) and sprinkle with salt and pepper inside and out (while remembering to thoroughly thaw the fowl--mistake numero uno--and remove the prepackaged guts--mistake numero dos--if unfortunate enough to have bought a fowl with such an anomalous state of being. I DID get around to removing the plastic-encased gizzards, but not before puncturing the packet and getting mushed liver on my pointer finger.

Place the turkey (CHICKEN) in a deep roasting pan and pour the buttermilk over it. Marinate overnight--or, in my case, for an hour--turning several times.

Remove the turkey-chicken from the marinade and drain, discarding any remaining marinade, and then place the unlucky creature in a shallow roasting pan.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (Farenheit, of course, unless you're from the sane part of the world that uses practical means of measurement). In a bowl, combine onion, celery, paprika, bread, and most of the sherry--and mix thoroughly. Stuff the turkey (CHICKEN) with the mixture. Brush melted butter over the entire fowl.

Place the turken in the oven and roast, basting with drippings and the remaining sherry every 20 or so minutes. Bake for approximately 20 minutes per pound or until the juices run clear when the thigh is pierced. Remove turken from oven and discard all of the stuffing (this is nasty stuffing, trust me).

Carve. Serve with the gravy you didn't manage to stuff up.

1 cup pan drippings from turkey (CHICKEN)
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
Salt & fresh-ground pepper to taste

The key is to keep all of the ingredients proportional, I think. You may not want so much gravy. I do. I love gravy with a passion. Just ask my parents.

Over low heat, add flour to the drippings and stir to make a smooth paste. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to bubble. Remove from heat and stir in the milk in three parts, mixing after each addition until smooth (didn't work for me, but you may be blessed). Return to heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve hot.

1 comment:

  1. I would totally do Angel Food if I were there. Good choice!
    I too rarely measure things, at least not exactly, when cooking. Baking is a different story.