Last month we bought a bonus 20-pounder, i.e., one not for Thanksgiving. After DF cooked it on the Weber we wound up with 18 pounds of meat and more than a quart of broth for future soup or gravy.
We gave ourselves extra Frugal Points for skimming the cooled fat off the top and freezing it for future sautéing purposes, and for picking tiny bits of meat off the boiled-down carcass. Hey, we got enough for three turkey salad sandwiches – and we ate them that week, because we weren’t sick of the bird yet.
That’s because it was the week before Thanksgiving and we hadn’t already undergone an unending series of turkey leftovers, hot turkey sandwiches, creamed turkey, turkey soup and turkey surprise. Those 18 pounds of bonus turkey went first into quart-sized canning jars and then into the pressure canner.
Each jar of shelf-stable protein contains enough smoky turkey for our version of stroganoff (which I call “fauxganoff”) plus at least one batch of soup and some sandwiches. We could also opt to drain out the turkey broth (made with the neck and giblets), turn it into gravy, slice the bird and cook some sides. Instant mini-Thanksgiving!
It doesn’t get much cheaper
At 79 cents per pound, that was some darned affordable protein. We rarely eat red meat these days and always wait for sales on chicken or pork. Any meat/poultry we do consume is done in relatively small amounts, with two or three sides.
A low-meat diet is a healthier way to live but we’re not interested in renouncing carnivorism altogether. Instead we pounce on specials, especially in what DF inelegantly calls “the used-meat bin,” and stretch the protein as far as possible.
For example, just a small piece of last year’s home-canned turkey diced with a small piece of on-sale sausage link flavored a very nice pot of soup recently, when added to stock made from the boiling bag and fleshed out (as it were) with our home-grown potatoes, carrots, turnips, cabbage and dried kale.
Not everyone can preserve food, or wants to do so. But since the freezer is a simple alternative to the pressure canner I’d urge you to grab at least one more turkey while they’re still cheap. This is an awful lot of protein for an awfully small amount of money, even if you don’t stand there scraping at the carcass once it’s given up its broth.
A week ago I saw turkeys for 88 cents a pound and bought a 14-pounder. But that’s it for this year, because we already have a lot of preserved fowl and because there’s not much room left in the freezer.
Readers: Have you finished the Thanksgiving bird yet? Are you buying another one?