Schmitt Sohne Liebraumilch 2005|Germany
Each year the competitive spirit comes out between me and Mrs. Dan. For the past 2 years we’ve had a Turkey Throwdown at Thanksgiving. We compete to see who makes the best turkey. For the month leading up to Thanksgiving we make plans that rival the invasion of Europe. This year we kind of procrastinated into it.
Last year there were fancy roasting pans and turkey rockets. This year Mrs. Dan goes simple. I get weird.
If you are looking for the wine review you need to jump to the bottom. It’s gonna take me a while to get there.
I decided to make a modified Turducken. Paul Prudhomme made this famous by stuffing a de-boned duck inside a de-boned chicken inside a de-boned turkey. That sounds too much like work. I originally wanted to try using ground turkey, chicken and duck and make some kind of weird loaf. I bought a frozen boneless duck breast from Fresh Market early in November. I wanted to make a dry run. I thought I would sandwich slices of turkey, duck and chicken and make some kind of roll. I envisioned encrusting the whole thing with a cornbread dressing shell. Well that never happened. I kept putting it off.
Mrs Dan decided she wanted to do turkey legs. She came up with several recipes. She planned a bunch of other stuff which wasn’t part of the competition. The only tradition we have concerning Thanksgiving dinner at our house is that we never do the same thing twice… except for the string bean casserole. Somethings you don’t mess with.
So, it’s the day before Thanksgiving. Mrs. Dan is sick. I’ve been up to my ears with work. We head to Publix to buy stuff. The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is a nightmare at Publix. It’s senior day and everybody is there to get their senior discount and get ready for the big meal. You’ve got half the store going about one small step at a time and the other half trying out for the half ironman.
I was toying with stuffing a turkey loaf with duck and chicken. At the last minute I picked an already thawed 6 lb. young turkey breast. Mrs. Dan stuck with her turkey legs. “I want something that is bonehead simple.” The sad part is you pay dearly for turkey legs at Thanksgiving. Any other week and they’re 99 cents a pound. The boneless chicken breasts were about $4.99 a pound. Screw that. Being cheap I’ll just pull some out of the freezer at home. I already had the duck at home.
We decided to have a Thanksgiving lunch and a Thanksgiving dinner, each featuring one of our turkey dishes. That was Wednesday. Thursday morning we changed our minds and decided to eat both around 5pm. We started the day with some great baked (healthier) scotch eggs Mrs. Dan made. We have enough for a week of breakfasts.
Wednesday night I started making a shrimp crevice. 2 pounds shrimp, lemon and lime and orange juice, cilantro, tomato, cucumber and avocado. After finishing it in the morning we had that for lunch.
Mrs. Dan made caveman pops. They are turkey legs wrapped in foil with spices. She cooked them for about an hour in a roaster. At 2pm I opened my turkey breast and found it was simply a whole turkey with the legs removed. The package said there was rib and backbones but I was thinking it was more like the chicken breast with bones. I was clueless about what to do. I took the whole mess outside because I didn’t want to spray poultry juices if I got to manhandling it. The duck breast was very thin. I pulled back the skin of the turkey, like I said this was just a turkey without legs. I cut a huge slit down each breast from back to front. I then sliced the chicken breast into thin slices. I sprinkled poultry rub on the duck and chicken slices then wedged them together on both sides in the slits I made. I then pulled the skin back over the whole thing.
Into the oven for about 2-1/2 hours and we’re done.
Remember I mentioned the cornbread dressing shell idea. I started making it about 30 minutes earlier by modifying the cornbread recipe on a bag of Publix cornmeal. Instead of all the sugar I added black pepper, sage, dried mushrooms, dried onion and fresh celery. There was no way I was going to encrust a 6 lb bird with this stuff. I peeled back the skin and spooned some underneath. I then stuffed some up front. Well, not stuffed. I poured since it had the consistency of cake batter. I baked the leftover batter like you would cornbread. It was kinda weird but good enough for me to want to try again in the future with some tweaks. Dressing-like cornbread.
Mrs. Dan cooked 9 legs. I cooked a 6 lb bird stuffed with a pound of turkey and duck. There’s me, Mrs. Dan and seven-year-old Mr. Ben. I think we might have some leftovers.
What do you drink with this? You know, I forgot to buy something special. The last Thanksgiving I actually drank a Dogfish Head Reason D’tra While dodging the seniors at Publix I forgot to look for something. I was in the mood for white. Mrs. Dan was still suffering a bit with her cold and opted out.
The Cheap Wine Bastard in me got me looking about. I already had $18 in my bird alone. I wanted to save some money somewhere. I found a bottle of 8-year-old Liebraumilch in the little fridge that Dennis and Terri had brought over for a German dinner we had back in March. Dennis brought it with some other German wines. We never got to it. The label had what looked like black mold on it.
How good could it be? What the heck.
It was delicious. If I had tasted this one blind I would guess it was a recent vintage. Nice and smooth, sweet but not terribly so. Some nice honey like flavors. I’m at a loss to describe the fruits I can taste. It went nicely with the turkey, both mine and Mrs. Dan’s.
Ben was more interested in play Minecraft on the iPad, which we finally made him turn off, than voting on which turkey he liked best.
The downside of placing duck and chicken laterally down the turkey breast is that there’s no good way to slice it and give someone a cross section of the three meats. I pierced the bottom of the aluminum baking pan trying and started spewing turkey grease all over the oven.
I think Mrs. Dan won. The spices she used made for a lively turkey leg. Cooking them in aluminum foil kept the moisture in. And when we were eating the leftovers Mr. Ben actually picked up a whole leg and started eating away. I’ve never gotten him to even eat a chicken leg before.
Mrs. Dan said she thought my bird was nice and moist and liked mine. I have to admit, my turkey makes great turkey sandwiches. The chicken picked up the rub flavors. The duck…. well was kind of boring.
So, back to the wine. Only the Europeans, especially the Germans and the French, can produce a white wine that would hold up so well after 8 years. This wine was so old that the label has gone through several makeovers. Here’s what the Schmitt Sohne website says about Liebfraumilch:
Liebfraumilch is a fine blended wine utilizing four different types of grapes grown in the Rhine region. The harmonious climate, warm summers and mild winters are typical for this growing area. The four grape varieties always used for Liebfraumilch are Riesling, Silvaner, Müller-Thurgau and Kerner. This is the most popular style of wine from Germany and is always a quality wine (QbA). Grapes are blended to produce a fresh and fruity Rhine wine which is medium in style.
This wine helped finish off a truly wonderful meal.
I am thankful for my family. I’m thankful for all that we have and what we have made together.
We are truly blessed.