Posts Tagged With: slow cooker

Slow Cooker Wild Turkey Breast, Wild Living, Wild Foods

One of the things that I love best about West Virginia is our lack of dependence on the commercial food chain. It takes time to learn how to make delicious meals with wild game, but I would not live any other way. We have been very fortunate over they years to have found some really wonderful hunting locations that supply my family with lots of wild turkey every spring. I even tried to hunt a couple of days this year, even in the cast. Tom and I never even saw a turkey those days, but he was lucky to fill his tags for the spring. Cody my oldest son was not able to go this spring as he was moving but this is a nice bird from last season. On average the birds weigh about 15 to 18 pound uncleaned and we get around 6 to 8 pounds of white breast meat per bird.

Cody with wild turkey

Toms spring gobbler The legs and thighs are for making poultry stock and any thing with a diced meat  like pot pie. The the dark meat from the legs and thighs is tougher than their domestic counter parts. They actually have to scratch, hunt and peck for their food so those legs have to work a lot harder than those white birds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So after we clean and butcher the turkey we are left with two large breasts. Usually they are to large for just Tom, Christopher and I to eat all in one meal. We either invite friends over or some times when we are in a rush I just toss a whole breast in the slow cooker and use the left overs for another nights meal.slow cooker wild turkey with pan sauce

Once a person eats well cooked wild turkey there is rarely a person who goes back to domestic turkey. Wild turkey is not dry and is not so pumped up on steroids so the meat is not as thick so it cooks more evenly. This means that seasoning and marinades penetrate the meat more fully.

In my case we make a soup stock to cook the turkey in and then thicken the broth at the end for a pan sauce with all the flavors you cooked the turkey in. I like it over mashed potatoes just like gravy.

 

Slow Cooker Wild Turkey Breast

 

1.  5 to 6 pound wild turkey breast off the bone.

2.  1 large carrot.

3. 1/2 med sweet onion..

4. 2 teaspoons minced garlic.

5.  2 teaspoons celery flakes ( do not like eating celery so I opt for the flakes if you have fresh celery use about 1/2 cup).

6. 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning.

7.  3 teaspoons butte.r

8. 1 cup white wine.

9.  2 bullion cubes in two cups water or two cups chicken stock.

10. 1/4 cup corn starch and 1/2 cup water to make as a thickener for sauce.

 

 

Starting with the turkey breast, remove any pin feathers, fat or connective tissue that remains after butchering. Set a side as you prepare the broth that the breast simmer in.

turkey breast with pin feather showing

turkey breast with pin feather showing

When finished cleaning the breast, I make what will be a traditional chicken soup starter. I start with heating up the slow cooker adding my water and bouillon or stock to the cooker.

slow cooker with water and bouillon

slow cooker with water and bouillon

Next I saute’ the remaining items on the above list until the onions are translucent and the carrots and garlic are soft.

Slowly adding in the wine as the mixture softens. I let everything simmer together for couple of minutes and then add all of this to my warming stock.

Vegetables and spices added to stock

Vegetables and spices added to stock

At this point I taste the broth and adjust salt and pepper. I usually add a little salt at this point.Then add the  breast and cover with the cooker lid and simmer two hours adding wine or water if  the broth is boiling away to quickly to keep the breast moist. I like to have the broth reach up about half way up the side of the meat.

wild turkey breast in broth

wild turkey breast in broth

I let the breast cook another 3 hours and check for tenderness and doness. I try to pick the breast up with a serving fork and if it is ready is will not stay together well enough to use a fork alone. It will begin to fall apart.

I then turn off the slow cooker and let it sit a few minutes. As it cools and I begin to thicken the broth on the stove. I place a small pan on the stove with 2 teaspoons corn starch mixed with about 1/4 cup water. Then I ladle about 1 1/2 cups of broth out of the stock pot into the sauce pan and heat over  med-low  until the sauce begins to thicken. Making a sauce with a nice chicken noodle soup flavor.

Corn Starch and water mixture

Corn Starch and water mixture

 

I then remove the breast from the slow cooker, cut thin slices and drizzle with sauce. We served this with southern side dishes of mashed potatoes, seasoned green beans with bacon and fresh cantaloupe.

simple southern wild turkey dinner

simple southern wild turkey dinner

 

Just as a funny side note as I was cooking I needed to open another bottle of wine for this recipe and got the cork screw out as the veggies were cooking away and tried to open  the bottle. Well in all of my years of drinking and cooking with wine I have never ever had this happen.

Broken cork floating in wine bottle

Broken cork floating in wine bottle

cork chewed up by cork screw

cork chewed up by cork screw

No mattered what I did, the cork screw just slowly descended into the cork and would not grip the cork. I lowered the handles and nothing happened. The screw just popped out and the cork just sat there with chunks of cork falling all over the counter. What a mess, I tried again and the mess just got bigger. I then got desperate and just tried to pry the cork out with a knife. A mistake I know, but my dinner was going to burn and I needed to get the darn things open!

Any suggestion on what to do if I face this situation again?  Maybe I will just go with Wild Turkey in the bottle instead of wine and make a double wild turkey dinner in stead.

 

Categories: cooking, country cooking, organic foods, slow cooker Wild turkey, turkey breast, Wild turkey | Tags: , , , , , | 15 Comments

Apple Cider Jelly and Apple Butter from One Batch of Apples

aplle cider jelly my best jelly so far

half pints of apple jelly

  This summer I was so fortunate to receive a gift of about 60 pounds of apples from a neighbors tree. I made several things from the free organic apples, pies, apple sauce,  jelly and apple butter. The nice thing was that with the raw apples I could make both apple jelly and apple butter out of the same apples. A two for one deal. I was happy when I realised that all I needed was apple pulp for the apple butter and just the juice for the jelly and they could be worked back to back. If I could just get a whole day to do it all.

fresh picked apples

fresh picked apples

  I though about what I needed to do to combine the recipes for both the apple jelly and apple butter. I needed to make a juice or cider then  I could make apple butter as soon as I was able to get the apple pulp through the food mill and into the slow cookers. I did use two slow cookers for this batch  of apple butter each holding about 2 1/2 quarts of apple pulp.

  The process is a simple and easy one. I cut up unpeeled small apples into quarters. The ones I used for the apple jelly/butter  were smaller than the ones for apple sauce and pies. I placed the apples on the stove with about a 3/4 full  pot full of water (about 4 quarts of water). Cooking the apples down to a sauce took about 20 minutes. This time I wanted the skins and peals still on as I cooked the apples down. The natural pectin in the apple skins would help the jelly set up later in the process.

small quartered apples in stock pot with water

small quartered apples in stock pot with water

   Once it appears that the apples had cooked down I strained the chunky sauce through two sheets of cheese cloth in a strainer to remove the majority of the juice. Once cooled, I pressed the juice out into a bowl.

Apple pulp, sauce in strainer with cheese cloth

Apple pulp, in strainer with cheese cloth

Pressing apple sauce to get remaining juice

Pressing apple sauce to get remaining juice

  I poured the juice into half-gallon jars to let the juice separate a little more so the jelly would be clear from using only a juice with no pulp. I let it rest over night to make the jelly in the morning. The remaining thick  pulp is slowly processed through the Foodmill when cool.

unfiltered apple juice

unfiltered apple juice

  Then I run the remaining plup through the food mill to remove the peals, seeds and lumps.

food mill over pot ready for apples

food mill over pot ready for apples

without the apple peals the sauce should look like this

very thick apple sauce ready to turn to apple butter

very thick apple sauce ready to turn to apple butter

   I then moved the thick sauce to two slow cookers added the sugar and some spices and  covered  the mixture and let cook on low for around 18 hours stirring every 4 or 5 hours.Near the end of the 12th hour I add more spices and sugar to gain a sweeter,stronger flavor. Taste testing and thickness testing is good at about 12 hours.

two slow cookers 1/2 full of apple butter ingredants

two slow cookers 1/2 full of apple butter ingredients

   While the apple butter cooked all night and some of the next morning, I had time to clarify the apple juice. I slowly poured the juice off the top of the jars and then restrained the pulp at the bottom with 4 sheets of cheese cloth. This really cleans the juice if done slowly to remove as much of the pulp as possible. I washed out my cheese cloth between jars of juice to clear away any clogging apple bits.When I was finish straining I poured the clear juice into a stock pot to make the jelly. Measuring out 5 cups of juice at a time.

1 gallon fresh apple juice on stove ready to turn to jelly

1 gallon fresh apple juice on stove ready to turn to jelly

    As with any jelly, jam or butter you need clean sterile jars, lids and rings. I was boiling them about the same time I was pouring the juice through the cheese cloth that way they were  freshly sterile and warm when the jelly was ready to ladle into the jars.

     The idea for this jelly came from my childhood. My aunt often invited my mother, brother and I over for at least one holiday dinner every year. Often it was Easter dinner and as I was so little she always offered me apple cider  to drink instead of the wine that the adults drank during Easter. I loved the warm drink , she would serve her cider in a white teacup with a slice of orange in the bottom and a Cinnamon stick tipping out the top of the cup. I drank more than my fair share of the cider and wanted to make something that tasted like what I remembered as a kid and this is what I came up with.

Following the basic instructions for an apple jelly recipe in the Sure Jell box you will need.

5 cups apple juice

2 table spoons strained orange juice or lemon juice

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cloves

7 1/2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon butter or margarine

1 pack liquid Pectin

1. measure correct amount of juice into sauce pot. Add 1/2 teaspoon butter or margarine to reduce foaming if desired.

2. stir sugar into fruit juice bring mixture to a full rolling boil( a boil that does not go down when stirred)  over high heat.

3. Add liquid pectin quickly. Return to full boil and boil for one minute exactly stirring constantly. Remove from heat and ladle  into prepared jars. leaving 1/8 inch head space. skimming tops of jars with wooden spoon to remove foam.

4. Wipe jars, add lids and rings place in a boiling water bath canner, adding enough water to cover jars with one to two inches of water. Bring to a gentil boil and process for five minutes. Remove to cool on clean towels and listen for the lids to pop and seal as cooling. Some jelly takes time to set up.. apple is not usually one of these as the natural pectin and the Sure Jell make this a firm fast setting jelly with a gold color and tiny spices mixed though out.

Apple jelly in jars

Apple jelly in jars

 Then as the jelly cooled I took time to look over the apple butter again. The  teaspoon test is the best way to see if you apple butter is thick enough to put in the jars. When you think the color and thickness is getting where you have reduced the apple sauce mixture about one inch inside the crock pot take a teaspoon and scoop out a small amount of the apple butter and turn the spoon side ways and see how much juice seeps out of the sauce. Ideally their will be almost no juice leaking out of the apple butter.It should be a dark almost chestnut-brown color and very thick much to thick for apple sauce. I adjust the spices and sugar about the time the juice is about gone  to make sure the flavors have time to blend together.Usually a couple of hours before I stop simmering the apple butter.

finished slow cooker apple butter

finished slow cooker apple butter

Slow Cooker Apple Butter made from Apple Sauce.

1. 4 quarts apple sauce in a 5 quart slow cooker or 2 slow cookers with apples split between them.

2. 4 cups sugar split, three cups at beginning of cooking the other added if needed at the end of cooking.

3. 1 tablespoon cinnamon

4. 1/4  teaspoon cloves

5. 1  teaspoon allspice

Mix together and cook on low for about 16 to 18 hours if using one slow cooker, about 9 in two slow cookers. Ladle into clean sterile jars leveling about 1/8 inch head space. Wipe jar lip and cover with lids and rings. Cover jars with two inches of water and process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath canner. Remove jars to cool and check seals and enjoy.

finished jars of apple butter 2013

finished jars of apple butter 2013

  This project turned into one of the best ways I can think of to use up a large buckets of smaller apples. With a 8 quart stock pot full of cut apples I ended up with about 9 half pints of cider jelly and about 5 pints of apple butter. I repeated this process twice and had enough jelly and apple butter to give out as holiday gifts this year and still have a few for our family until the next crop of apples appears. 

  Thanks to my lovely Aunt Marjorie Snyder and her love of making jams, jellies and serving me the best apple cider ever!

Categories: apple butter, apple cider jelly, apple sauce, cooking, Jelly, organic foods, Preserving | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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