Sgt. Mom’s Thanksgiving Bird

Fresh out of the oven – right alongside the other dishes for the feast! Behold, Sgt. Mom’s Thanksgiving bird!
Thanksgiving Bird - 2014 - Even Smaller

It is, in fact a Rock Cornish game hen, butterflied and baked on a small dish of Sgt. Mom’s rye bread and sausage stuffing. Not everything in Texas is bigger…

What – there are only the two of us, and the HEB was out of fresh turkey breasts. I am sorry, but a whole turkey for two people would have us eating leftovers until St. Patrick’s Day.
A most blessed Thanksgiving to you all – especially to those of us who were working today…

8 thoughts on “Sgt. Mom’s Thanksgiving Bird”

  1. Yes indeedy – and it was very, very good.

    And – as a bonus to this comment – the recipe for Sgt. Mom’s Rye Bread Stuffing –
    Tear apart or cut into cubes one loaf rye bread. (Half a loaf, if your turkey is on the small, say 12lb size. You want a lot, put in a lot. You want a little, only put in a little.) Dry until crisp in a warm area, or an oven set to the lowest temperature available.

    Heat to simmering 2-4 cups unsalted vegetable or chicken broth.

    In a large frying pan, brown 1/2 to 1 lb bulk sausage. When done, drain off fat, and set sausage to drain on paper towels. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup butter to frying pan, and sauté until translucent:
    1 onion, chopped finely
    2-3 stalks celery, sliced finely
    Handful of celery leaves, also chopped
    2 to 4 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
    Sage to taste, either fresh and sliced, or dried and crumbled
    Pepper to taste
    8-ox box of mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
    Empty the dried bread into the largest bowl you have, add the cooked sausage, the sautéed vegetables, and moisten with the broth. You can add chopped cooked chestnuts at this point. The stuffing should not be soggy. Stuff the turkey according to custom. Whatever stuffing does not fit in the bird can be baked in a covered casserole for the last hour or so. Generally its 15-20 minutes per pound for a smaller bird, 13-15 minutes per pound for larger, or so sayeth “Joy Of Cooking”.

  2. Aha; rye bread, eh? I shall, as they say, draw this to the attention of She Who Must Be Obeyed.

    She has only recently started spatchcocking: she first tried it with kitchen scissors – a terrible struggle. Then she bought kitchen shears – brilliant. It also provides wonderfully crisp skin (which she first paints with smoked olive oil before the bird goes in the oven).

    When she cooks goose for Xmas she has found it best not to stuff the bird but to cook the stuffing separately. Also, to detach the legs before roasting. That way the bird cooks faster and more evenly. The legs get cooked the day before to make confit. We’ve grown Setanta potatoes, especially good for roasting; the apple sauce is already made and in the freezer. Golly, I’m feeling Christmassy already.

  3. The rye bread came about because of an accident, the first year that I did a Thanksgiving dinner in the women’s barracks. It seemed that I was the only one who had actually helped cook the Thanksgiving/Christmas turkey when the other girls decided that we should do our own holiday dinner – so instantly nominated for this duty. My mother always used whole wheat bread, and when I rushed into the Commissary to buy everything I needed (on a late Wednesday when I had fifteen minutes to be at work and the Commissary would be closed at 6PM and all day the next and we were in Japan, where they did not know of wheat bread)I just grabbed a loaf and the sausage and all. Very late that night, that’s when I saw that I had rye bread. Too late to do anything about it, so I used rye bread … and it was magnificent! I’ve done rye bread stuffing ever since.

  4. And just what do you find a problem with leftover turkey ’til St Paddy’s day?

    That result of Thanksgiving turkey I find an anticipated best part. Not only turkey sandwiches with a pickles and a (I won’t provide the free ad, but will hint) special turkey specific sauce. Also curried turkey. Turkey soup. Nothing goes to waste.

    All tracks back to first year of our marriage, in which wife and I both received decent sized turkeys from our employers. Still students, we lived in a small apartment with only a small fridge. Turkeys filled it. But that Thanksgiving lasted weeks.

  5. Roy, the problem is that I do get terribly tired of turkey leftovers, and yes, I have the infinite number of recipes using … yes, leftover turkey. And over the years, I have gotten very tired of every one of them.

    Although – this one is pretty good, because it doesn’t taste at all like leftover turkey …

    Turkey Pot-pie with a Cheddar Crust

    Simmer until just tender in 3 cups water – 1 lb peeled, cubed butternut squash. Turn off heat, and add to hot water and cubed squash – 1 cup frozen lima beans. Allow to sit a moment, before draining and reserving cooked vegetables, and 1 cup of the cooking water.

    In a large skillet, melt 3 Tbsp. butter, and make a roux with 2 Tbsp. flour. Wisk in the 1 cup cooking water from the vegetables and 1 cup chicken or turkey broth, with
    2 Tbsp minced fresh sage, 5 oz. peeled pearl onions.

    Simmer for 10 minutes and add 3 cups cubed cooked turkey, and the lima beans and squash. Pour into a 1 ½ quart shallow baking dish,

    Combine in another bowl: 1 ¼ cup flour and 1 ½ tsp. baking powder. Stir in 1 Tbsp cold butter, 1 ½ cups grated sharp cheddar, 4 slices crisp and crumbled cooked bacon. Stir ½ to 2/3 cup cold milk to make a loose dough, and pipe around the edge of the baking dish.

    Bake at 425 for 20-25 minutes. This will not appear anything like leftovers. Trust me.

  6. @ Sgt Mom; I have at last consulted SWMBO on the subject of stuffing. She replied that she has found a commercial stuffing that’s so good that she’s going to use it a Christmas. As long as we get some of her own bread sauce, I’ll settle for that.

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