A Turkey Dish (Only?) Your Pilgrim Ancestors Would Love...



Whether you serve your Thanksgiving turkey the way your good old grandma did, slow-roasted in the oven, or deep-fried in peanut oil outdoors to a golden, crispy brown, a big favorite today, we bet few cook it like our Mayflower ancestors did — stewed! Here’s a 1620-era recipe adapted for our day. This is actually a great dish, but maybe not for Thanksgiving Day, lest your unsuspecting holiday guests accuse you of going too far with this ancestry stuff!

    Take a 10-12 pound bird, cut into 10 pieces. Get yourself a big pot. If using your outside cooker, remember, use water, not peanut oil!

    Ingredients: the turkey, including the big juicy neck; 2 tbsp sea or kosher salt; 3 large sliced onions; tied bundle of fresh herbs (such as sage, thyme, parsley, marjoram, sweet basil), or two tbsp of the dried herbs; 1/3 cup red wine vinegar or cider vinegar; 1 stick salted butter; 2 tbsp sugar; one tsp black pepper corns; 1/4 tsp ground cloves.

    Preparation: Rinse turkey, place in pot, cover with cold water and add the salt. Cover pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce temperature to keep the broth at a slow simmer. Occasionally skim away any froth that appears. After an hour, remove the turkey, set aside to cool.

Raise the heat until the broth comes to a full boil. Continue to boil uncovered, until reduced by half. When the broth is reduced, add the sliced onions, herbs, vinegar, butter, sugar, peppercorns, and cloves. Simmer for about 20 minutes, until the onions are soft. While the broth is simmering, cut the cooled turkey into generous pieces. The neck is for the chef (or the cat)!

    Cut thick (one inch) slices of home-made bread (or fresh from the bakery), toast and fry to a golden brown.

    Before serving, taste the broth and adjust the seasoning. Place the meat into the broth and “let it take a walme or two,” that is, let it simmer gently for a couple minutes. Pour the turkey and sauce into a serving bowl. Pass the "sippets" (toasted bread slices) to serve as a base for the turkey and to sop up the sauce. Serve with a glass of wine or, better, a cold beer like old Cousin William Brewster would have done, and enjoy!


For a genuine recipe for Thanksgiving cookies (Joe Froggers), click HERE


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