Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Turkey Breast Surgery

Tomorrow is the Thanksgiving pot luck lunch at my office and I’m in charge of the turkey. I don’t pretend to possess any degree of turkey prowess – I’m more of a baker, really – but last year, I managed to cook a turkey breast successfully in my handy dandy crock pot. I offered to make a pumpkin cheesecake this year and let someone else handle the main attraction, but there weren’t any volunteers to take that on, much to no one’s surprise. So I shrugged and added turkey breast to my grocery list this week.

I planned on prepping the whole thing tonight so that I could switch on the crock pot when I got up in the morning. The meat had to cook for 6 hours, so that would work just fine for lunchtime. The recipe I consulted in my Fix It and Forget It cookbook assured me that I didn’t have to thaw out the turkey, so I lugged the stone-like mass out of my freezer and klonked it into the serving dish of my crock pot. However, when I busted through the wrapper, I discovered that there was a blasted gravy packet frozen to the meat. Argh. I grabbed the nearby kitchen shears to chip away at the ice surrounding the gravy packet when I realized that there were three major factors preventing my extraction. The gravy packet was four times larger than I anticipated, its contents were frozen and rigid, and worst of all, due to its curved shape, the frozen-solid turkey breast had a death grip on the stupid thing. As I came to this soggy conclusion, I accidentally punctured the packet with my shears and gravy slush came seeping out.

Lord, what a mess.

I ran the whole thing under the coldest water my faucet could produce in an effort to safely melt the ice surrounding the gravy packet. Unfortunately, this plan didn’t exactly work and rendered me with hands that were frozen stiff and completely numb. I gritted my teeth as I attempted to pry the turkey breast from the gravy – “Come on, you know you want to!” – but to no avail.

JG arrived home to find me practically sobbing into the sink with frozen hands clasped around the rebellious hunk of poultry. Upon quick examination, he said, “I’ll fix it,” and he did! He simply cut open the gravy packet, drained it out, and slipped it out of its prison. Why couldn’t I have thought of that? Maybe because I had crossed the line of logical reasoning when I couldn’t feel my hands and the idea of being beaten into submission by the white meat of a dumb animal was too much for me to handle.

I managed to finish up without a fiasco, thank goodness. It’s one thing to be bamboozled by the meat, but it’s quite another to be outsmarted by onion, celery, and chicken stock. I just hope the turkey turns out well tomorrow.

Edited: November 16
The turkey turned out just fine! It was too bad that I had no idea how to carve the thing and butchered it, but no one knew the difference.

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