About a month ago we visited a family in a small village in the “sierra.” After a couple of days of roaming the hills, checking out the family’s “chakra,” we began to say our goodbyes. Our hosts disappeared for a few minutes and returned with a live turkey in their arms. They then proceeded to truss up the turkey’s legs and wings and then stuffed it into a woven plastic bags so only its head was outside.
This was certainly a new experience for me. I´ve never been given a live turkey before. Petronila, Sheyla´s mom, raises both chickens and turkeys. Each day she walks out into the family chakra and collects grasses and feed for the birds. They are truly free range birds who are not at all familiar with modern techniques or foods. Petronila is very proud of the fact that raising and selling these chickens and turkeys enabled her to buy notebooks and school supplies for her children.
My first thoughts were what was I going to do with a live turkey! First of all, we were traveling and close to five hours away from home. Not only that, but I had a doctor´s appointment the next morning in Piura and we planned on spending the night in Piura.
So… they turkey lived on the floorboards in the back of our pickup overnight and made it home in one piece… and thankfully stayed inside its plastic bag and made no mess what-so-ever. A little cup of water was all it needed for the duration.
Juana was so excited about the turkey! She instantly took it from Doug and began to pet it and talk sweet words to it.
We installed the turkey in the laundry room, safe from the cats and dog. It took the cats about a minute to figure out how to get on top of the laundry room wall to see what was going on. Doug figured out they had used a fuel tank to get up on between the ground and the top of the wall. Stormy was curious as well and wanted to get in to see what all the fuss was about. We somehow managed to keep the turkey safe in the laundry room for a couple of days.
Sanchez became involved at this point and had us boil a pot of water. He did the deed and “bled” the turkey into a bin.
The boiling water was then poured over the top and then hands began to furiously pluck!
Then the skin off of the feet were peeled away. Then Juana took over and she “drew” the turkey in about 2 minutes! The guts were pulled out, the bird broken into two parts and washed and….poof , it was ready for the freezer.
On Christmas eve, I pulled out the turkey and let it thaw….all in all it weighed just a tad over 5 pounds. It was perfect….We shared a meal with friends Jim and Dany, and Sanchez. (Juana was visiting family.) We had leftovers, but they didn’t last beyond the next day….no way did we get tired of turkey after the holiday!