Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Soup of the Evening

Two soups were created in two days in one house (ours). Husband made split pea soup, using the ham bone from Christmas supper. I made the turkey soup. I don't get when people moan and groan about turkey leftovers. After sending home generous "care packages" with dinner guests, the household carnivores quickly devour the turkey without me having to dream up creative casserole treatments or even make turkey sandwiches. If a nearby museum ever runs out of those bugs that strip animal skeletons for displays, I could send my husband and kids over and they would do the job just fine.

Anyway, I managed to snag the hastily-depleted carcass on Tuesday afternoon (just 2 days after Christmas) and make soup before it was just a rattling plateful of bones. Here's my recipe:

Turkey Soup

soup stock (oh, maybe 12-16 cups) see recipe below
1 cup pearl or pot barley (what's the diff? I dunno!)
4 medium onions
8-10 carrots
5-6 stalks of celery
3-6 cloves garlic
olive oil
6 medium potatoes
2-3 cups frozen green beans
2 cups frozen corn
2-4 cups leftover turkey meat, cut up into small pieces
leftover turkey gravy (optional)
salt and pepper

Set the stock to boiling in a large pot with a lid (I use my canning pot, but if you have one of those fancy stock pots that would be so much more appropriate). Dump in the barley, turn the broth down to simmer and stir once in a while as you do your chopping. Wash and chop the onions, carrots (peel these too if you prefer), celery, garlic, and potatoes. You can make small or large chunks according to how you like it and how your Mom used to make it. Saute the onions and the celery in some olive oil. When they are shiny and translucent but not brown, stir in the garlic and saute it until the kitchen smells like garlic. Then dump the saute mix into the simmering broth. Dump in the carrots and the potatoes at this point also. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes. Test to make sure that the barley is tender and the potatoes are done. Add the frozen corn and green beans and the gravy if you have it. Add the turkey at this point too. Simmer about 15 minutes more. Season with s&p as your taste dicates.

You can add other vegetables if you have them. Warning - cruciferous veggies do not like to be simmered a long time, so broccoli, cauliflower and brussels sprouts are delicious, but add them when you add the frozen vegetables.

This recipe makes a lot of soup. Enough to freeze for a couple of meals later in January when you are tired and need a spoonful of love on a dreary winter night. Either that or you can give some to a friend.

Soup Stock

Remove the remaining meat from the turkey carcass and save it in the fridge. (Discard fat, gristle, skin and other parts you would not eat - they do not improve the stock.) Put the bones into a really big pot and cover them with water. Toss in an onion or two (you can leave the papery skin on, to help colour the stock), a stalk of celery washed, but with leaves and all, a couple of carrots, a couple of garlic cloves, some peppercorns, a bay leaf or two...Bring the thing to a boil, cover and simmer for a few hours. Now here's the tricky part if you are doing it for the first time. Drain the stock, but remember to drain it into another pot or into a bowl....NOT DOWN THE SINK! If you've made it right, the stock will be low in fat and ready to use immediately. Or, if you prefer, you can refrigerate it overnight, and make the soup the next day. The bones and stock vegetables can be composted or otherwise discarded - all of their goodness has gone into the broth. If you made too much stock, you can freeze it and make soup with it another time. Don't leave stock out to cool overnight. It needs to go into the fridge as soon as it's lukewarm, to prevent bacteria growth.

I hope you have enough turkey left to make soup, and that you are not suffering over-turkification. If you are, give me a call and I can send the protein demolition team over. Me, I'm eating a green salad with some nice sundried tomato dressing and toasted sunflower seed, and yeah, a bowl of that soup too.

Question: Too much or too little left over at your house today?

mompoet - just soup-er

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