It has been years since I cooked a turkey at Thanksgiving because they are always lousy hunks of pseudo-meat back home but I decided to give it a shot since my friend and butcher Bryan does such an admirable job sourcing his product. So a month ago I put in an order and Tuesday I picked up one of the most beautiful birds I have ever seen.
Monday through Wednesday at work were hectic with almost everything breaking, then it was a flood on the roads and I couldn’t find any pumpkin…it was a complete pre-Thanksgiving disaster. I arrived home from a late shopping trip at 8:30 pm and mixed up a brine of a scant handful each of table and rose salts and half as much sugar, submerging the bird in it until midnight when it was rinsed and put in the cold oven to dry overnight.
The recipe I used involved a mirepoix of onion, leek, and carrot on which the turkey would sit for the first half hour with the oven at full whack then lowering the temperature to 150 C and pouring in some broth which was a mix of a meaty gelatin/residue mixture and a thin, clear broth that have been cluttering up the freezer for a couple of months.
Once all those were on, I put on some lamb’s liver and onions for breakfast (yes, I am both anaemic and still obsessed with Joyce’s Ulysses–read the first chapter for this reference and you won’t be able to stop).
The dressing involves my cornbread crumbled into some bread cubes with the boiled turkey offal and some sautéed carrots, onions and celery plus a shit load of green spices then three extra-large eggs and some of the leftover broth.
The vegetables were bok choy (pak choy in British) and bell pepper (spiced with a jalapeño . I didn’t make any pumpkin pie because I didn’t get any pumpkin until the turkey was almost done, but will do for some leftovers on the weekend…leftovers of this beautiful and incredibly tasty creature:
I have never heard of any of these, but Lidl was the last grocer at the end of the run . Thanksgiving restock would have to entail these weird beverage choices:
For bourbon, Western Gold:
Western Gold tastes a bit like Clarke’s and like Clarke’s is imported exclusively into Germany. Not bad, but don’t seek it out. To top off the vodka stockpile, Putinoff:
There are people that say, “Vodka is vodka,” but they usually don’t drink down at the ethyl acetate end of the triple distilled spectrum. Have a go at Putinoff, my friend; it comes in 500 mL bottles and can be used as glass cleaner.
Finally, for an apéritif and final beverage at the end of the night some 18-year-old single malt of no discernible background and very little character (but dirt cheap). Not very smoky, malty or smooth but whaddaya expect? I’ll splash out for Lagavullin at Xmas and New Years:
Over a hill and through some muddy fields to the south of Purton, my run continued into Lydiard Millicent where the Sun Inn greeted me on the road back into western Swindon. Owned by the guy that owns The Steam Railway in Old Town, the nice landlady interrogated me about the photography right off the bat which makes me think she might know about this blog (I might just be paranoid, though). The beer was good, something like Cornish Knocker [or something rude about your tackle] in the name. Quite a delightful place, but the flu relapse was upon me and I didn’t linger.
The initial rush of Thanksgiving cooking done and the birds in a slow cooker (and the flu abated for the time being), I felt like I should take the opportunity to grab a run and headed out to Purton over some nicely wooded hills. You can avoid much of the ugly, suburban sections of Northwest Swindon with some careful planning and most of this trot was very pleasant indeed, especially the last quarter-mile or before the Angel, a nice old house just past the cloistered little path from the south.
As the first customer in, I got to look around a bit and chat with the manageress about the village and its rapidly dying pub culture. Turns out the Royal George recently re-opened but is struggling. This one was nice, with a line of airline-sized Jagermeister bottles incongruous with the ancient timbers holding the house up…or maybe it’s the Jager that’s keeping the roof up….