Breaking Down a Turkey. More Lunch Feelz.

I spend a lot of time over here with these fucking lunatics, so I am forever on the hunt for lean sources of protein that I can eat, especially at lunch. But I AM SO SO SICK OF CHICKEN BREAST I COULD DIE.

So I started to think about turkey. I like its texture and flavor. The issue is that it can be hard to find in a relatively unprocessed state (i.e. not deli meat) except around Thanksgiving. And, If you look at turkey stats, it actually does pack more of a macronutrient punch than chicken, with less calories and more protein per  113 gram serving. Here is the comparison:

Side by side for raw breasts, with skin: 

113 grams (weigh it, yo’. 4 ounces for you imperials)

C= Chicken, T= Turkey

T: 159 calories/ C: 186 Calories

T: 25 grams protein/ C: 22 grams protein

T: 7 grams fat/ C: 11 grams fat

0 grams carbohydrate (For T or C)

Yet, when you can find one, a whole breast can be an overwhelming amount of food to buy, cook and then eat. But it is relatively easy to take both breasts off the bone, then roast one and freeze the other. One half turkey breast is about 7 days worth of lunch protein (for one female adult) and maybe even a dinner. You could even quarter the breasts if you don’t need that much meat each week. As an added bonus, the bone can also be utilized by roasting it and making broth. I have  been locally able to find an organic, not-injected-with-wheaty-water-and-sugar breast here.

In order to make this happen, you will need a clean surface, kitchen towel, large casserole dish, baking sheet, tinfoil, and a very very sharp knife.

Step 1: Get Ready. I use that casserole to hold all the discarded stuff and the bones once I have finished breaking everything down.

Towel, casserole, breast. The towel underneath will protect your counter from yucky turkey liquid and you can just throw it in the wash afterwards.


Step 2: Take that stupid pop up timer out and throw it away. You don’t need it. Now trim off the fatty blobs, which will mainly be at the neck where the head was. Try not to think of it this way.

No-one likes a fatty blob!

Step 3: Find your center, make a slit and cut to the bone. Once you have this done you can start slowly separating the breast.

These are small,  sure cuts. It’s like yoga, but butchery with a knife.

Step 4: Start to peel away the flesh and skin, while staying close to the bone. Once separated, do the other side. Wrap one of the breasts up in plenty of plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag. Make sure the breast is flat and not folded upon itself as it will thaw more evenly when you need it in a week.

Again just take your time. The sharp knife will help you distinguish between the bone and flesh.

Step 5: Season this week’s breast (your choice). Personally, I love love love pimentón d’espelette and sage. For the uninitiated, pimentón d’espelette is a highly delicious and regulated  pepper that only grows in the Basque region of France in the following communes: Ainhoa, Cambo-les-Bains, Espelette, Halsou, Itxassou, Jatxou, Larressore, Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle, Souraïde, and Ustaritz. It is related to  aleppo and poblano peppers. It is pricey in the dried form, which I use, but you don’t need much to pack quite a punch. It has a warm, smoky smell coupled with notes of sweet capsicum and flowers.

Anyway, sprinkle with salt, pepper and your seasonings. Be generous. Pour a few Tbsp. of olive oil on it. Use a sheet pan lined with foil. Cook at 375F/190C for about 30-45 minutes.  

Season both sides.
Pepper is in the froggy dish and salt is in the Crottin crock that I bought in Chavignol. Obvs, the Crottin crock makes me happy.

Step 5: Let it rest for about 15 minutes and pop it in a tupperware. This will last a week in the fridge. Cut slices as needed.

Roasted 1/2 breast.
Roasted bone.


Now you have an immediately ready, and tasty source of high-quality, lean protein that you can add to salad,  a bit of rice or to a wrap.

The bone that you are left with? Using that casserole dish, (after throwing away the fatty blobs and timer), throw it in there and roast along with the breast. Once the bone is roasted, you can put it in a big pot with 2 carrots, a big leek or onion, and a few stalks of celery. Cover this with water and let simmer for about 8 hours, strain and you have a freezable bone broth.


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