Turkey Gravy, But No Drippings?

Juicy Tender Turkey

We shouldn’t have been surprised, but we were, that the turkeys came out every bit as flavorful and juicy as when they’d spent 24-hours in a brine. I know it helped that our turkeys were organic, pastured (think grass, sun, bugs, running through the cow fields), giving them a huge advantage over factory-farm corn & soy fed creatures. The other credit is absolutely owed to the Traeger grill’s convection oven style of cooking which does a better job than other type of grills, sealing in the juices.

Now, to the problem. Whether deep-frying or grilling, we never had “yum yums” – Emeril’s term for caramelized bits of fat and meat, loaded with rich flavor – left over on the bottom of a oven-roasting pan because, well, we no longer had a roasting pan. No roasting pan meant, no gravy.


Chipotle Turkey Enchiladas

chipotle peppers on grill For at least the past dozen years, we’ve made Chipotle Turkey Enchiladas on Thanksgiving weekend, usually for our Saturday night dinner which is about when we need a change to spicy!

Back in the beginning, making the enchiladas was super simple, sped along by a ready-made jarred chipotle enchilada sauce. All I had to do was load the corn tortillas with turkey, cheese, cilantro and sour cream, smother them in the sauce, and bake.

Then, the unthinkable happened – the sauce was no longer available. It should have been easy enough to make my own – throwing a canned chipotle in a simple enchilada sauce. I had, however, developed “convictions”, avoiding food in cans lined with the toxin BPA. Unlike the FDA which has “allowable” levels of toxins, if I know they’re in there, I don’t want any part of them. While there are some organic tomato brands that do use “NO BPA” cans, I’ve not yet been able to find any. Going without these enchiladas wasn’t an option, either, so what to do?


Countdown to Thanksgiving Dinner

Huge Turkey - Daniel giving thumb's up I’ve been looking forward to this week since….well…..since we had the same dinner last year. We have a real turkey farmer, in northern New Hampshire, who raises turkeys as naturally as possible, allowing them to free-range the way the Lord intended – running around sun, bug and grass-filled pastures all summer long. Unlike factory-farmers who claim “free-range”, but instead confine hundreds, if not thousands of birds to sunless crowded, buildings, our farmer only raises a couple dozen – enough to peacefully exist and co-exist on the acres he has available.

While I’ve always been attentive to food preparation, there’s a far deeper sense of gratitude and respect for the life that was given, when I know the care and effort that was put into raising our food. I know from talking with him, that “processing” the birds never gets easier, and each year he talks about it being his last. Yet, he also knows, if he doesn’t continue to raise his own food in this manner, instead buying it from the grocery store, he’ll be feeding his family an inferior food. So, like us, he gives thanks for the lives of those creatures that lost their lives in order that we might be sustained – a daily reflection and eternal perspective of the Cross.

For preparation of this year’s turkey, see my Turkey Brine entry from last July.