Monday, December 27, 2010

mr. turkey, mr. turkey

Mr. Turkey, Mr. Turkey, Run away, run away...

A Thanksgiving song, but this post involves the ultimate demise of my Thanksgiving turkeys which I hope may give you ideas for the remains of your Christmas feast. After the meal is over and the best pieces gone to turkey sandwiches the bones are left for stock. (Note: I don't get people who complain about leftovers, I could eat turkey sandwiches for days. But with my family I rarely get more than two before the turkey's gone, not matter how big of a bird we have.) I made the first batch of stock after my family's Thanksgiving roughly following the Barefoot Contessa's Chicken Stock recipe (because that was on my mother's shelf) excluding the parsnips. Instead of 3 5 pound chickens, I used a 14 pound turkey. Stock is great because you can really use whatever you have. Below is the second stock I made, using the turkey from my apartment's holiday party. I used fresh scallions, carrots and celery from the farmer's market
and a package of 'roast chicken herbs' that I think had rosemary, thyme and dill. I tossed in peppercorns and garlic and left in the lemons the turkey was originally roasted in.

[Stock simmering]

When the stock is done (3-4 hours of simmering) take out all the solids (throw out anything unless it's usable turkey meat) and set in the refrigerator overnight. Or do what my grandmother does in the winter and use your garage as a fridge. The next day, skim off the fat and the stock is ready to use.

The first batch of stock I made a soup with about 2 cups of leftover turkey (dark meat is great in soup), a pound of Italian sausage, 2 cups cauliflower, 1 cup carrots, 1 can corn, and 1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies.

The second batch I wanted to do something similar, but with the addition of orzo. I used turkey and turkey sausage, 4-5 carrots, a bag fresh spinach, a can of white beans. Then, I dumped in one box of orzo. With all the stock, I felt like there wasn't enough pasta so I immediately added another. This was a mistake. For the first part of cooking, it seemed great. The orzo was al dente so I covered the soup up and waited for my roommates to get home.

[The soup, pre-orzo]

[The soup, as the orzo cooks]

[The end result]

In the end, we had less of a 'soup' and more of a warm pasta dish. The orzo absorbed all the stock, so was very flavorful. In the future, I'll definitely use only one box of pasta per stockpot of soup, unless I want to recreate this dish... which I definitely will want to do someday.

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