I try to eat and food shop locally, often making the trip to the various farmer's markets a couple of times a week. Several years ago, I decided that I wanted to actually know and see where our Thanksgiving Turkey was raised. This has led to a few interesting circumstances, including driving a couple of hours into the High Desert in California and of course the turkey butchering class a took a couple of years back.
I was fully prepared this year to drive on down for a few hours to White Oak Pastures to check out the farm and pick up a couple of turkeys. I checked off the "farm" pick-up option and was figuring out how I was going to sell the family on a field-trip, so I was a bit confused to come home one day to a big box on our door step.
I suppose it worked out for the best, since I had just started on a job and the puppy duties were a bit more than we remembered them to be.
I wanted to do something different this year and was seriously considering going the Turducken route, a chicken stuffed into a duck stuffed into a turkey. I even toyed with taking it a couple knotches beyond that and attempting a TurBacon; it’s a quail, in a Cornish hen, in a chicken, in a duck, in a turkey, in a pig; both of which actually seemed like a lot of work and more gluttonous than I was prepared for.
Instead I happened upon splatchcocking in a foodie magazine, with promises of a moist bird with crispy skin in a mere 90 minutes without any of the need for over-night soaking or juice injections.
I would have to cut out the spine and butterfly the big bird; but that was about as complicated as it got.
I decided just in case it didn't live up to hype; I would brine, stuff and roast one in the more traditional manner. It would also give me the excuse to use a recipe from one of our many cookbooks and give a little nod to the cooking traditions of New Orleans.
I followed John Besh's recipes from My New Orleans-- The Cookbook
I even simplified it which is something I rarely do. I did make the chicken stock from scratch as well as doing a dressing in addition to the stuffing. I guess the only real shortcut was one dressing instead of two like he suggested. I knew there would be plenty of food at the potluck we were invited to so when I couldn't find the andoullie sausage or crawfish tails, I settled on doing a Mirliton and Shrimp Dressing, although I actually couldn't find mirliton, a type of squash used a lot down in Louisiana, and used a butternut squash instead.
Skye cooked a couple of pies and ended up roasting a bunch of veggies as well.
The turkeys were both moist as could be. The splatchcoked one even more so than the one I brined over night, stuffed the brim and took almost 4 hours to cook. Not to mention, it was already partially carved.
There was more than enough turkey. In fact, we're going back on Sunday to help eat up some of the left-overs.