On "turkey feast days", I am the laziest possible cook -- and blogged about it proudly way back in October 2009. All about faking it, using as much "prefab" as possible with a few additions to make it "mine": the rock solid frozen prestuffed turkey, the canned gravy with a shot of sherry, the mashed potatoes in the sous-vide bag with a little chopped parsley, the frozen pie partially defrosted so the crust can be crimped with my very own thumbprints! In fact I believe "prefab" results in "less flab" . . . because prefab means fewer opportunities to snack and nibble!
However, as the "soup meister" supremo (a fresh pot every week, the centrepiece of my suppers every evening . . . ) I'm prepared to take quite a bit of trouble with the bones! And gotta say, love turkey soup even better than roast turkey with all the trimmings.
It's a two day project -- but it really begins right after Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.
While dinner is being served, I've got the first load of prep dishes running through the dishwasher. That gives me a pretty clean kitchen for the next round of the operations.
And right after dessert (this year, glorious key lime pie decorated with kiwi and raspberries, enjoyed every crumb) I'm tackling the turkey.
First, I slice and chunk all the meat off the bones and put it in ziplock bags in the freezer with the other leftovers. That stops me snacking -- and creates easy meals for DH who can eat an infinite number of turkey dinners (leftover rice/potatoes/stuffing/gravy/c
ranberries/ veggies) over the next number of days.
Then I bag up all the bones and skin from the turkey and freeze that too until I'm ready to make soup.
Yesterday, out of the freezer came the bones bag!
The bones went into one of my big soup pots frozen solid with just enough water barely to cover, plus the following: five or six baby carrots, a handful of celery leaves, a large clove of garlic, some chopped onion, about a quarter cup of peppercorns, maybe a tablespoon of dried sage.
And: some balsamic vinegar (helps draw all the calcium out of the bones) plus a shot of soya sauce (we want a rich brown colour).
As the pot came to the boil and the bones defrosted, , I used the potato masher to get everything submerged. I turned the heat down to a bare simmer for about 2 hours and went about my business. It smelled glorious!!
And when everything was simmered satisfactorily, I strained the broth through a colander into a second clean soup pot and put it in the fridge.
Then: I cooled the bones slightly and very carefully cut off all the juicy bits of meat and set those aside, discarding the skin/gristle/cooked veggies (Charlie enjoyed some of this, but of course completely bone free since turkey bones can splinter and cause problems for dogs). I refrigerated the chopped turkey meat separately.
This morning I had about half a potful of rich and flavourful turkey broth, chilled. It was a concentrated jelly-like aspic. If there had been fat on the surface (and there wasn't any, really) I could have easily removed it.
I brought the broth to a boil again and decided on a simple turkey noodle soup. I added some fresh chopped celery. Some whole wheat spaghetti noodles, broken into 1" lengths. A whole whack of vegetables: green beans, carrots, corn, peas (frozen is great for this). The turkey meat, of course. And adjusted the seasonings: some red pepper flakes, some rosemary, a little sea salt, more sage and thyme. Decided on a can of romano beans, well drained, for additional protein. Enough water, added from time to time, to fill the pot.
(It could have been turkey mushroom barley; or turkey brown rice; or turkey and potatoes: but it was definitely going to involve lots and lots of vegetables!)
Mmmmmmmmmmmmm! Gonna be delicious, after my cross-country ski coming right up!!