Thanksgiving was a big success this year. Good food, good people, and a good time. There was a total of eight of us for dinner, it was a perfect number.
I did most of the cooking, and I wasn’t as flustered or crazy as I usually feel during the holidays. I tried to remain calm and relaxed and it was actually fun to prepare and cook the meal.
I was super organized, and that helped a lot. I made a list of all the meal items, and specified an approximate time that I needed to start to prepare. Turkey was scheduled for 9am, turkey breast was set for 10am, slow cooker stuffing was started at 8am. Keeping a detailed schedule reduced a lot of the stress for sure!
And of course, I had the help of a wonderful husband, and as usual, he’s my patient rockstar!!!
We purchased a local free range 8 pound turkey from a nearby small farm. I was excited to try a truly natural bird. I knew it might not be the choice for all my guests, so I also purchased a 4 pound boneless turkey breast for those that enjoyed more white meat.
The taste of the free range turkey was definitely not conventional. I could taste the difference, and unfortunately, it was definitely a tougher, chewier texture. There was more connective tissue. More research on roasting methods are probably needed. I think it would have been better if braised, but how can anyone easily braise a big ole turkey! I might try lowering the oven temp and slow cook for a longer time.
The experience has not turned me off. I am definitely going to keep purchasing local humanely raised poultry, but I don’t know if I’ll purchase from the same farm again. It was disappointing to not receive a packet of giblets with my bird, and it seemed to be “processed” in haste.
One of its legs was broken, so the end of the leg was sagging, and there was a bit of gauze-like substance still attached to the broken leg. Plus, a few feathers remained, which really wasn’t a big deal. They were easy to pull off.
ETA: I just realized that my turkey was also missing the wing tips. Something didn’t seem right. All the Food Network chefs suggested folding the wings back under the back, but we couldn’t figure out how to do that with our bird. I think it was because the wing tips were gone. hmm, I wonder why they didn’t include the giblets and wing tips. Keeping them for their own turkey broth/stock? Strange and disappointing.
I don’t know if all locally raised fresh birds are like this; I realize that it’s going to be more rustic, and it could be that I’m just not used to the primitiveness… and it certainly hasn’t turned me off from trying other local farms! I just don’t know that this particular farm would be my choice in the future.