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How to get several meals from one turkey

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Over the years turkey has gradually lost its holiday status and become a year-round menu mainstay. Turkey parts are available everywhere, and you can even buy turkey sausages and luncheon meats.

The most economical turkey purchase, however, remains the whole bird. It's the best meat bargain in the butcher's case.

It does not take much mathematical skill to figure out that you're saving a bundle by buying the entire bird instead of the parts - not when turkey thighs and breasts are currently selling for more than $1 a pound.

Turkeys are big. That's the main reason that some are loath to tackle them, but if you've ever cut up a chicken, there is nothing to it.

If you haven'tm cut up a chicken, it will probably take you an hour to deal with your first turkey; otherwise, half an hour. The construction of the two fowls is the same, and the steps are similar.

Your bird will probably be frozen. Thaw it in the refrigerator until you can easily move the drumstick, but don't allow it to thaw completely.

Cut off the legs first. There's a joint that's easily discernible, and I find it helpful to cut from both sides. Needless to say, a sharp knife is essential to the entire operation. Next come the thighs and wings. These, too, have joints. It's a matter of minutes to dispose of them.

Now is the time to remove the skin from the breast. I pop it into a heavy, iron skillet and start it cooking over a very low heat. It takes about an hour to bring it to the proper crisp state my family relishes.

I turn it occasionally and drain off the accumulated fat to hasten the browning process. When it's done, I drain it on paper towels, and then it is ready to eat.

If there were ever any left, I would use it to season vegetables or garnish a salad, but, of course, there never is.


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