Welcome to Painted Hand Farm

Painted Hand Farm is a 20 acre Civil War era farm located in Cumberland county, Pennsylvania. We raise meat goats, veal calves, turkeys and organic vegetables using humane and sustainable agricultural practices.

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Naked Bird

Despite my plans to take pictures of my beautiful Thanksgiving turkey and the rest of our delicious dinner, we dug in and polished off a 15-pound bird before I could click off a few images.

I can only hope that the pastured heritage turkeys that graced our customers' tables turned out as juicy and tasteful as ours.

People always ask, ' How long will it take my turkey to cook? and Do you have any good recipes?" So while the numbers are recipes are fresh in my mind, here is how I prepared my family's bird this year.

Pastured Heritage Turkey
1 15-pound bird
2 gallons of brine solution
2 quarts turkey stock
1/2 cup Maple Syrup and Herb Butter

The night before, I made a brine solution for the turkey using a cup of Kosher salt, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup Maple syrup (grade B), peppercorns, bay leaves and a half gallon of apple cider and water. For easier cleanup, I first inserted a plastic bag in a five gallon bucket and then inserted the bird breast down and filled it with the solution. I put a bag of ice on top and set it on the cool porch overnight. The next morning two hours prior to cooking, I removed the bird from the brine and set it on the table to come to room-temperature.

While the oven was heating up to 450 degrees, I whipped a stick of butter with a 1/4 cup of grade B Maple syrup, a tablespoon of rosemary and some orange zest. Working my fingers and hand between the turkey skin and meat, I smeared the butter concoction under the skin as well as on the outside (it helps to pat the bird dry prior to this step). I quartered a large Bosc pear and inserted a quarter under the neck flap and the rest inside of the bird. The bird was placed on a rack in a roasting pan and I added two quarts of turkey stock to the pan and popped it in the oven at 11:30 am.

At 12:20, I peeked in the oven as the aroma of roasting bird was beginning to permeate the house. The breast meat's internal temp was at 104 degrees. By 1:00, the bird was really sizzling (NO BASTING) but the temp wasn't quite there--only 128 degrees. At 1:30, the thermometer read 155 degrees. Darn, I had overshot my goal of 140.

The bird came out of the oven and was left to set on the counter covered slightly with foil until 2:00 pm. The New York Times had a great article including video, The Butcher's Method Takes Carving Off the Table. Let me tell you, folks, this bird-carving method rocked! I especially liked the way they carved the breast similar to the way breast meat would be cut in a deli--across, not with the grain of the meat.

Despite my error in judgment with temperature, the bird came out extremely juicy.

The rest of our dinner included giblet gravy, cranberry compote with pears, persimmons and black raspberry juice, mashed golden sweet potatoes, cornbread & oyster dressing and steamed asparagus.

Many folks have asked for an update on Emma. Since today is Thanksgiving, I won't gross out everyone with ugly udder pictures.

The vet was here yesterday and trimmed away all the necrotic tissue hanging off the udder. The entire front right quarter--teat and all--is gone. The hind right continues to be highly mastitic, but I keep working away at it several times a day to work all the infection out of there. Dr. Trent said chances are good I'll have a Jersey 'goat'. Darn...so much for buying the milker on eBay with four inflations for a cow as opposed to the two-teated model I already had.

After a 5-day round of Penicillin, she's eating well again and her milk production out of her two functioning teats continues to rise by 4-6 ounces a day--not that we'll be able to drink it any time soon. :-(

Grayling, her calf, is growing like a weed. We kicked her out with the four bull calves on Sunday to prepare for their new paddock. She may be the youngest and the smallest, but she rules the roost. Bull calves are almost as dumb as turkeys.

Ralph is working on a shelter using some materials we've managed to salvage from here and there. With winter nipping at our heels, shelter is very important.

1 comment:

  1. Belated holiday wishes, Sandy. What's your recipe for cranberry compote with pears? Sounds delish! And who knew maple syrup and brine could nicely combine.....