Monday, April 25, 2011

I'll Give You Something to Cry About!

With the knowledge that I wouldn't be able to drive for one to two weeks after my surgery (which went quite smoothly), I've been cooking large batches of things and then freezing them.  Our freezer is full of "war rations"--little foil bricks of assorted deliciousness.  We've got creamed tacos, meatloaf, lasagna, chili, and beef stew hiding out in the freezer.  But it all seemed a little beef heavy.  I wanted something that would be lighter.  Of course, I still had to make a huge portion of it.

Last week I bought a turkey breast.  The whole thing.  It even came with a gravy packet!  I started throwing more items into my grocery cart, thinking of all the wonderful things I could have with my turkey.  Then the lightbulb came on.  I could make a turkey roulade!

I can't be bothered to follow someone else's recipe or write down my own, so I thought about what would taste good and then went with it.  The stuffing started with half a loaf of Everything bread from Walmart.  That bread is ridiculously good.  I cut it into large cubes and baked them in the oven at 350 degrees F until they were croutons.  I minced half an onion and several stalks of celery and cooked those with about two cloves of garlic.  I tossed those into a bowl with the croutons, then sprinkled in ground sage, dried thyme, and black pepper, moistening it with 1 1/2 cups of sodium-free chicken broth.  At this point, I realized it was bland.  I stared at the open pantry for minutes, hoping something would catch my attention.  Green chiles!  Really, it was a toss-up between green chiles and chickpeas.  I mixed in a teaspoon of diced green chiles and what seemed like way too much cumin.  The stuffing still didn't taste how I wanted it to, but I said "to hell with it" and moved on. 

I removed the breasts from the bone, then threw the bone in a pot with cold water, the remaining half onion, some peppercorns, parsley, and more celery.  It's still cooking.  I butterflied the breasts, cutting a slit in them and opening them like a book.  I pulled out my trusty rolling pin and started whacking the heck out of the poor, defenseless breasts.  The rolling pin also came in handy to chase away nosy little dogs.  That was the moment that LA showed up in the kitchen, looking at me like I'd gone completely mad.  "What are you doing??"  "Flattening the turkey."  I thought it was obvious.  I put the stuffing at one end of each breast and rolled them up.  LA ate the remaining uncooked stuffing out of the bowl.  I placed the breasts on a greased baking pan.  Then I did something amazing.

I grabbed the low-sodium bacon out of the fridge and laid slices on the turkey, tucking them in so they didn't curl up during cooking.  Bacon-wrapped stuffed turkey breast!  LA was in awe.  Into a 350 degree F oven they went.  I have a thermometer with an alarm that tells me when my food is done, so I stuck that in so I wouldn't have to watch the turkey.  I had more important things to worry about, like whether or not LA and I had gotten prison mail (he did, I didn't).

After about an hour, the house smelled like bacony goodness, and the turkey was done.  I removed the breasts to a platter and scraped all of the drippings into my saucepan.  Following the directions on the accompanying gravy packet, I added 1 cup of water and 1 cup of homemade turkey stock and brought it to a boil.  I cut open the gravy packet and carried it over to the pan when the inevitable happened.  It slipped out of my hand.  I grabbed the now half-full packet from the floor and quickly dumped it in the pan.  I was covered in gravy, my apron was covered in gravy, the stove was covered in gravy, and, most especially, the floor was covered in gravy.  The dogs thought they'd died and gone to gravy heaven.  LA tried to get them out of the kitchen, but I considered them to be the cleanup crew.  They did a fantastic job.

I returned to the gravy, to which I added more green chiles, cumin, and black pepper.  Time to eat!  The turkey sliced effortlessly and had a beautiful stuffing center.  I ladled some gravy over three slices and handed it to LA, before preparing some for myself.  Before cutting in to my own, I asked LA how it was.  He told me he was too busy "eating delicious" to talk.  He was right.  I thought I would cry.  The bacon was crisp, the turkey was tender and moist, and the stuffing was spicy and had absorbed additional juice from the turkey.  All I could say was, "I think I'm going to cry."  I thought about poor Kayla, having to eat dry, bland old turkey while I was eating stuffed yumminess.  I guess next Easter, she'll just have to spend it with us.

Also, kudos to me for doing most of this one-handed.  I single-handedly made a turkey dinner!  Well, I thought it was funny anyway.

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