Last Thanksgiving, we had some last-minute uncertainty about whether we were having a large dinner or a small one, and there were other details and reasons that I don't entirely remember, but I think what happened is that I was doing last-day shopping and there were two turkeys left at the butcher shop and I took the larger one because the other person looking at them preferred the smaller one, and then I decided it was too large for the quantity of people we had then, and put it in the deep freezer and went to a different store to buy a smaller one, or something like that. As I say, the details are hazy. But the result is that there was a 26.8-pound turkey in our deep freezer, waiting for an appropriate opportunity.
I expected that there would be some leftovers. This turned out to be an understatement.
First, cooking a 26-pound turkey whole is a silly thing to do (in my opinion, anyway), as it will take forever. I took off the legs (with thighs) and wings to cook separately, and put the wings aside for later. The legs ended up done in plenty of time for dinner, but the breast was still 15 or 20 minutes from being done, so we decided to just go ahead and eat with what was ready and then I could carve the breast meat for second helpings when it came out. And then carving just one of the turkey legs filled up the small serving platter. So I left the other leg uncarved as well.
With all the side dishes, that one leg turned out to be all we actually needed....
Meanwhile, I'd taken the neck, the back, the tail, and a few miscellaneous bits from the previous dissection into a stockpot to simmer into stock and a bit of shredded meat for turkey-and-dumplings later.
So, final post-dinner tally of what remains: A whole turkey breast and a leg, cooked and uncarved; two wings, uncooked; a pint of pan drippings; almost a gallon of broth; a quart of shredded boiled meat, and probably a quart or two of bone broth in the morning when the remains from straining the broth and pulling the meat off the bones finish their second boiling.
And thus the cycle of turkey continues -- one of the containers of broth that gets frozen will become the gravy for the next turkey dinner I cook.
I may not buy a similarly large turkey in the future. But at least if I do, my expectations are now suitably calibrated. And I now feel like we have a cultural-narrative-ly appropriate quantity of leftovers -- and it is pleasing to have gotten this much goodness out of making broth and such alongside the main cooking.
Crossposted from Dreamwidth (original here), with comments. Comment here or there; comments here will eventually be duplicated to there.