My crock pot has been in storage for over three years, ever since I moved back to my hometown from New York. And since, when I cooked something large enough to need the crock pot, I was cooking for my whole family, I typically used my mom’s crock pot. Until she dropped hers after making mulled cider in it for a Christmas gathering.
Since then, we’ve used her small 3 qt. crock pot, which has worked just fine…until now.
I spent last weekend with my favorite country family. The mom and I talk cooking a lot! And she told me her daughter (my friend) had told her about putting a frozen solid turkey breast in the crock pot with salt and pepper, and it was delicious. Funniness abounds when I share with my friend what her mom told me, and she (the friend) says she heard it from her mom.
Regardless of where this notion comes from, I gave it a try for Sunday dinner today. You see, my brother LOVES Thanksgiving dinner, so we end up making pared down versions a couple times a year. When he asked for it recently, I suggested we give this a try, which required me to take my 8 qt crock pot out of storage.
Now you KNOW I love to skip the whole thawing step and get right to cooking with a frozen piece of meat. It couldn’t be simpler.
Put a frozen solid turkey breast into the clean, dry crock pot. Salt and pepper generously. Set to cook for 8 hours.
Now if your 5.5-6 lb turkey breast is anything like mine, it isn’t shaped just right for sitting in the crock pot while still frozen. The fix is simple: wrap the top of the pot tightly in foil until the turkey is thawed and fits nicely under the lid. Mine took about two hours to thaw and fit without the foil.
You may also be asking “why didn’t she put any liquid in there? I mean, a turkey needs basting when you cook it any other way, right?” Well, it’s simple, really. The turkey already has fluid/water/juice (whatever you want to call it) inside. When you cook the turkey in the oven, the juices run out of the turkey and into the bottom of a pan…away from the turkey; if you don’t baste it, it comes out dry. In the crock pot, the juices still run out, but collect in a much smaller space and form a sort of “soup” for the turkey to continue to soak up the juices, keeping your bird moist and delicious. In fact, this preparation produces more of a “shredded” turkey; don’t even think you’re getting nice slices out of this. It’s so juicy and fall-apart-ish that it’s nearly impossible not to eat the whole thing!
Now this is the simple version of this dish, as I’m just trying it out for the first time. I can imagine doing jerk turkey, cajun turkey, mexican turkey, margarita turkey, and more using this same strategy…just different flavorings.
I’m also tempted to try this with other cuts of meat…straight from the freezer. So stay tuned!