The first winter market is *finally* here! Our market volunteers and vendors are tired by the end of the regular outdoor season. We are ready for a break. But! We miss each other AND the market after one weekend off. Thankfully, we have the winter market once a month to catch up and stock up on all the things winter offers!
What better time than Thanksgiving to kick off our winter market season? My family has been eating local turkey for the last 6 years and let me tell you, it’s amazing! If you strike up a conversation about turkeys with our local turkey farmers, you’ll learn that they are eating machines. They can be pretty handsome, too, like the ones above from Indian Creek Farms. The first year can be a tricky dance! If they are harvested too early, they can end up too small. Conversely, if they are allowed to grow too large, you can end up with a 40 pound turkey gracing your Thanksgiving table!
My husband is the chief turkey chef in our house. His methods have varied over the years. He initially started experimenting with brines and found good success, but he wanted something that resulted in an even juicier bird. Enter spatch cocking! Say that three times fast.
As a side note, I just asked him for his official blog quote on why he has chosen spatch cocking. His response? “Because it works better.” So, there you have it! But don’t take it from us, go ahead and try it yourself. The bird cooks faster, stays juicy, and has a delicious crispy outer skin. The first year he tried it, we were a little leary of the short cooking time and were somewhat convinced that we’d be eating mashed potatoes and stuffing sans turkey, but alas it worked!
So, what exactly is spatch cocking? It’s butterflying your bird. So, instead of a plump bird in a roasting pan, you have a flattened bird on a baking sheet. You cut the spine out of the turkey and lay it flat on a cooling rack placed on a baking sheet. While I can’t personally attest to this, gravy made with the turkey spine is divine. And if you are a stuff-the-stuffing-in-the-turkey type, then this method isn’t for you. But, if you want a deliciously juicy bird in a fraction of the time that it normally takes to roast Tom, then you should give it a try. Serious Eats has an excellent tutorial on how to go about cutting the back out of your turkey and some great videos on the whole process.
Don’t forget – the winter market hours are from 11-2 on Sunday! There will be a full house of farmers and artisans, so come out and buy local for this Thanksgiving and even get a head start on your Christmas shopping. Also, in an effort to give back to our community, there will be a canned foods drive. Please bring a non perishable item to the market table on Sunday to help brighten someone’s holiday table. Until next month, stay fresh!