stuffed turkey skin — think outside the box
There is a lot you can do with poultry skin. Here I’m going to talk about turkey skin, but it applies to chicken, duck, Guinea fowl and smaller birds as well.
Using the skin to house your side dishes, especially vegetables and stuffings but also forcemeat.
When you debone your bird do one of the following (listed in order of ease):
1) slice the skin down the back and remove with drumsticks and wing tips.
2) slice the skin down the back without drumsticks or wing tips.
3) use a sharp knife and slowly and carefully separate the skin from the back.
Voila! You have a skin. You can freeze until you need it, or stuff it. Consider these points:
1) The wing and leg area are narrow. The contours of whatever you place here will be easiest to see. Fill these areas with forcemeat, stuffing, or mashed vegetables.
2) The larger the bird the longer it will take heat to reach the core. Fill the centre with roasted or otherwise pre cooked whole root vegetables.
3) Nearer the surface, at the mouth of the cavity or neck add vegetables which need cooking such as Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, rolled spinach, cabbage rolls.
4) To smooth the surface of the bird you can press in stuffing.
5) Stuffing made with eggs will expand as will forcemeat. Pack lightly.
Bake it in a 200 degree Celsius oven until the skin is the colour you prefer and crispy. You can baste with honey glaze to darken it. You can make it aromatic by placing it over minced onions, carrots, celery, and/or herbs. And fat in the skin not absorbed by the vegetables will collect and the bottom and cook them providing you with some juices.
My mistake with this presentation was not trussing the skin at the cavity. During roasting the stuffing expanded and the skin shrank. This particular bird is stuffed with roasted yams, potatoes, rice stuffing, bread stuffing, forcemeat from chicken breast, and roasted Brussels sprouts and sweetened carrots.
(I have another skin in the freezer. When I’m ready to write recipes, I’ll show you the steps.)
Any recipe you can do with chicken skin you can do with other poultry skins.
Have you ever heard of schmaltz? If you’ve had the pleasure of making it, you’re rewarded with chicken cracklings — one of the worlds more delicious foods. Slice turkey skin into long strips and place in a pan with the caul fat and 1/4 cup of water. Boil at a medium until the fat melts and the skin crisps.
Here in Japan they take cut the skin into strips, pierce it trough a skewer and grill or broil it. It’s called Torikawa.
My second favourite way to use poultry skin is to turn it into a cracker. You’ll need isomalt and tapioca maltodextrin. My pics coming soon!