I have edited and am reposting one I did in April of this year, just after the shut down here in California. I think it will be very useful at Thanksgiving 2020. Most of our holidays are going to look very different this year. Certainly they will be smaller and, and maybe because of that, less elaborate. In our household of three a whole turkey is out of the question. Turkey parts are the answer. Everyone has their favorite part so you can choose which you will serve. Some families will only consider the white meat of the breast, others the dark. We are all thigh folks in this family so that’s the way we’ll go.
I was able to score some organic bone in turkey thighs at the grocery store and immediately seasoned them with salt, pepper, and herbs de Provence. I then vacuum packed them and put them in the freezer for Thanksgiving. They will cook away starting the day before with no fuss on my part. I can concentrate on the dressing and side dishes and the birthday cake since it coincides with a family members significant birthday.
You can sous vide food directly out of your freezer. You don’t need to defrost it, just add some additional cooking time. The flavor and quality of the meat will not suffer one tiny bit. You may need to do some browning once it is cooked, but that is a last minute thing.
I generally cook the dark meat for 24 hours (yes, no mistake) at 150 degrees F. This time, because the thighs were going to be cooked while frozen solid, I added another 3 hours to the cooking time. This recipe would also work for whole legs.
I know that 27 hours sounds like a lot, but almost all of it is unattended. Just add the vacuum packed and frozen thighs or whole legs to the preheated water, let it go overnight. If you start in the afternoon of the day before, they will ready for dinner the next day. The turkey comes out tender and juicy, almost the texture of pulled pork, and it can be used in similar recipes.
Since my sous vide machine doesn’t like 150 degrees for some reaon, I used a temperature of 149 degrees F/65 degrees C for 24 hours (not frozen). I added an additional 3 because they were still frozen. So a total of 27 hours cooking time.
Be sure to cover you sous vide water with plastic wrap or a lid to cut down on evaporation. Otherwise you could wake to a pan or container with the water gone or a beeping and complaining machine.
You can use the turkey meat immediately for chili, or tacos, in a salad or brown the skin and have them as a holiday meal.
Some recommend browning them before vacuum packing, I sometimes do that. It does add an extra layer of flavor and it is easier to press the meat into the hot pan for uniform browning when they are raw. You then can crisp them in a hot pan or the broiler as well after they finish cooking sous vide. I didn’t pre brown them this time as I was intent on getting them into the freezer. I do find that once cooked they are more solid and it’s difficult to uniformly brown all the skin unless you deep fry them. I don’t think it will be a problem at this dinner because the raisin and sausage dressing will have plenty of crispy bits.
Here they are post sous vide cooking and browning in a hot cast iron skillet.
They were sliced and served with mashed potatoes, a side, and dressing. You won’t believe this is turkey, the texture and taste is more similar to duck confit.
I am taking this to Fiesta Friday #354 as it may be useful to some members of the party just before the holiday. Fiesta Friday is hosted by Angie. Click on the Fiesta Friday link to get all kinds of ideas for the coming holiday.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone.