I am learning so much.
Today I learned that turkey necks separate easily at the vertebrae when cooked.
You, perhaps, already knew that turkey necks separate easily at the vertebrae when cooked.
I did not.
I suppose I never considered the issue. Never had occasion to.
Martin has become an eager drinker of the meat broth that is supposed to be so beneficial to him. He’s slurping several cups a day. Today I dragged out the super-sized slow cooker—as opposed to the regular-sized slow cooker for daily use (sigh)—and brewed my third batch of broth. The first two batches were beef-based. This time turkey’s number was up.
If animals have to perish for Martin’s recovery, I want to make sure, at least, that we exploit as much of each animal as possible. At the same time, I’ve been informed that nontraditional body parts make good broth. So during the week I visited a farmer and purchased a bag of fresh turkey necks.
(Discussing turkey sections with the farmer was one in a series of adventuresome conversations I’ve been having, right up to the limits of my own tolerance. I discussed methods of execution with a guy who kills ducks once a week. I interrogated a bison rancher about why his bison are transported to slaughter at another site. I got a five-minute lesson in cooking emu eggs, from an emu—shepard? rancher? farmer? What do you call a person who raises emus?)
I thawed the turkey necks overnight in the refrigerator, but they were still quite frozen this morning, so I plopped them into the slow cooker to let them thaw as the filtered water heated. After an hour I fished a neck from amidst the rosemary, cilantro, tarragon, celery, seaweed, broccoli stalks, and carrots. I set the neck on the cutting board I’ve reserved for meat and started chopping away, to no avail.
Now, I’ve seen plenty of (live) turkeys. I know that they can twist and fold their necks all sorts of directions. Had I been thinking clearly, I would have realized that the ability to shift the neck implicates the presence of vertebrae. I was not thinking clearly. I was thinking, “There’s a turkey neck on my counter.” I made a few more attempts at hacking, trying not to touch the flesh, then returned the turkey neck to the slow cooker. The illogical idea running through my mind was that a turkey neck must be one solid bone.
Yeah, I know.
A few hours later I wielded metal tongs to pull the by-now-tender meat from the necks as they bobbed around the slow cooker. To my surprise, the necks broke easily into pieces. Half-inch-long pieces. With a triangular bone inside each.
Oh, hey! Vertebrae! That makes sense.
Something about the presence of meat in my kitchen apparently makes me dense. Next time I’m using turkey necks, I’ll be better-informed.
Now, emu eggs. Lesson or no, that’s an escapade I’m not quite ready to undertake.