Sunday, November 28, 2010

Turkey Soup

What's not to enjoy about turkey... leftovers the following day in the form of a cold turkey sandwich and of course turkey soup?

Our turkey this year was again roasted as in previous years, except for the decision to brine the bird for the first time. The brine consisted of water, salt, brown sugar/honey, cider vinegar, and fresh herbs (sage, thyme and rosemary) from the garden. An aromatic was used for the belly of the beast: apples, onions, cinnamon stick... and throughout the hours of roasting our home was filled with a sense of divine.

The result was as intended, juicy and tender, but unless you like your turkey to taste like herbs rather than a turkey, think again about adding them to a brine for 24 hours. Only several tablespoons were used, but it was overpowering, at least according to our simple palates. I believe herbs and spices should complement not eclipse. But be advised, the aromatic will definitely be used again for poultry.

Following our meal and while the turkey is still somewhat warm, what better time to make some preparation?

Turkey Vegetable Soup from Diana's kitchen

Turkey carcass, parts and pieces
2 fresh bay leaves
fresh pepper

1 TB olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2-3 garlic cloves, diced
3 celery stalks, chopped
3 carrots, sliced or chopped
kosher salt, to taste
freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

4 lbs turkey, pulled/cut into bite sized pieces
1 to 2 (32oz) free range chicken (or vegetable) stock

1 cup barley (or rice)
kale (sauteed kale left over from our meal)

Remove any of the meat that will be used for another meal and/or sandwiches, and refrigerate. Place the carcass and any remaining legs, thighs or wings in a large stock pot and cover with cold water. Bring it to a boil, add bay leaves and fresh pepper, and simmer for 1 to 2 hours or until turkey begins to separate from the bone.

Remove the meat to a platter to cool. Strain the broth through a sieve into another large pot, then return the liquid soup base to the stock pot. Pull the turkey from the bones and cut or tear into bite size pieces and set aside. Discard the skin and bones.

In a heavy saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onions, garlic, celery and carrots, a touch of salt, ground pepper, cayenne, and saute about 5 to 6 minutes. Add the parsley and cook for another minute or two.

Add the sauteed vegetable mixture to the soup stock, all the turkey pieces, and any additional chicken stock for the consistency you prefer in a soup (stew). Bring it to a boil, add the barley and simmer for about 40 minutes, or until barley is nearly done (al dente). Add the remaining sauteed kale left over from dinner and any additional salt and pepper to taste.

Once cooled to room temperature, place some of the soup into plastic containers (we use re-purposed cottage cheese containers or an equivalent), label and freeze. Think about how nice it will be on a cold wintry afternoon.

Note: Remember the aromatic used inside the breast of the roasted turkey? There was the slightest hint of sweetness and an added dimension that carried into the soup. I may have a bowl for breakfast. (wink)