Some time back, I bought a 21-pound turkey at Aldi's for $10. What a bargain, I thought. We love turkey anytime, and there was plenty of room in the freezer for it. That was after Thanksgiving sometime.
Last week I decided to go ahead and cook the bird, so I had Cliff take it out to the shop, where there's a refrigerator that usually has room for a big turkey to thaw. It took six days, but yesterday it was finally ready to cook. I planned for Cliff and me to have a nice turkey dinner for a couple days, then I'd prepare the cooked turkey meat for casseroles, soups, sandwiches, turkey burritos and so forth. I got out my turkey roasting pan and then realized I didn't want to bother with all that. I remembered learning from the Frugal Gourmet on PBS that it's perfectly fine to boil a turkey; I've done that several times in the past. Even a huge turkey is done in less than two hours, and the meat is always moist.
But when I got the biggest pans in the house, I realized that turkey wouldn't fit in either one of them. I could put it in either one, but unfortunately, about 1/3 of it was sticking out the top.
Back when I was younger and canned a lot, I had huge pressure canners and a big granite ware canner like that smaller one on the left. I knew I was done with canning a lot of things, so I gave those away. I realized those were the pans I used to boil a turkey, so what now?
Just as I was about to put the turkey in the oven, I told Cliff, "You know, I think there might be an old pressure canner out in the garage."
Sure enough, there it was in a cupboard, a great big, very dirty aluminum pressure canner. Wasps of the dirt-dauber variety had used it as a nursery, the dirt womb/tomb hanging onto the inside wall of the kettle so tight I couldn't pound it out of there; finally I tried melting it by running water over it, which worked well. As you can imagine, I spent quite a bit of time washing it, making sure it was clean; the turkey fit nicely in there, and all was well.
We had a great dinner: turkey breast, mashed potatoes with turkey gravy, Stovetop Stuffing, and green beans. While the turkey was boiling I made some sugar cookies, too. After dinner at noon and a short nap, I went out and tilled the garden quite a while. I also planted onions. I was on my feet more than usual and was limping when I finally came inside, but today I'm feeling pretty happy, knowing I have several batches of cooked turkey in the freezer anytime I need it, several quart baggies of turkey broth, and two gallon bags with broth and pieces of meat floating in it for turkey soup.
And we have leftovers for dinner today.