Tuesday, November 29, 2011

...After the turkey

What to do with all of those leftovers... The weekend before Thanksgiving I made a 21-lb. turkey for my small family of 4.  I did it for several reasons.
  1. I love turkey.
  2. I bought it for $0.77/lb!  Yes, I spent about $15 on my huge turkey!  This is an incredible way to be frugal.  I bought 2 and kept one in the deep freezer for early spring.
  3. I can make it go far.  Turkey sandwiches with stuffing and cranberries are my favorite way to eat the leftovers.
  4. I can make it go far.  Freezing chopped or pulled turkey meat for other recipes in 2 cup freezer bags.
  5. I can make it go far.  Using 5 cups of pulled turkey meat, I can make 7 dinners and 9 lunches and still have some left.  How?  Turkey soup.  Perfect for a cool, crisp fall or winter day.  
And that's just what I did.  I made soup.  Just like mom does.  First, the broth, then the soup.  This is not a fast process, but the results are awesome.  All measurements are approximate.

Turkey Broth

1 large turkey carcass, some or most of the meat pulled off.  I do this the same night we have our turkey dinner.  I pull much of the meat off, shove the carcass into my big stockpot, put a lid on it, and then refrigerate until the next day.  If you have 3-5 hours to kill, then by all means, skip the fridge part.  For me, the next morning I pull out the stockpot, fill water to the top of the carcass, add a big handful of baby carrots (8-10), and toss in a tablespoon or so of celery seed.  If you have fresh celery, then use it instead!
Bring it all to a boil, then cover and simmer on low for about 4-5 hours.    At this point you will have a bunch of stuff all floating around and will need to get it all out.  So break out a large platter, grab your tongs, your mesh colander and anything else that can help dig out all that stuff.  Last thing to do is to get a huge container or two to strain your stock into.  Pour your stock through a fine mesh colander into the containers.  Put them in the fridge and save for the next day.  Using a skimmer on the chilled stock, remove the fat off the top.    It's a lot of work but it's worth it for a delicious, healthy meal option.

Turkey Soup

Large stockpot of reduced fat turkey broth (see steps above)
5 cups chopped turkey
2 boxes of quick barley or 2 cups of whole pearled barley (it really doesn't matter which)
5 cups frozen mixed vegetables
36 oz chopped tomatoes (I used 1 and 1/3 of the boxes of Pomi chopped tomatoes)
3 Tbsp dried parsley
1 Tbsp fresh cracked pepper
2 Tbsp onion powder

Put everything EXCEPT CHOPPED TURKEY in the pot and bring to a boil.  Simmer for an hour. Add meat and warm through.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Butternut Squash & Cider Chicken Soup

I did some experimenting last weekend in the kitchen.  Turned out pretty good!  The butternut squash took on a sweet flavor that I thought was much less powerful than the traditional taste.  If I make it again, I think I'd double the parsnips, I just love their taste, and they help cut the sweetness in the broth as you're eating.

I froze this in lunch sized portions.  I had some for lunch on Monday with a hearty whole grain roll.  YUM!

Butternut Squash & Cider Chicken Soup

2 Tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 small sweet onion
1 cup sliced parsnips
4 cups butternut squash, peeled and diced in large cubes (3/4 inch or so)
2 cups apple cider
1.5 cups chicken stock
1 tsp fresh cracked pepper
1 tsp cumin
2 cups chopped cooked chicken

Heat the oil and add the onions and garlic.  Saute for a couple of minutes to allow time for slight caramelizing.  Add parsnips, squash, cider, broth, pepper and cumin.  Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer on low for 20 minutes or so, just long enough for your squash to easily be cut with your spoon.  Add the chicken.  Warm for another 10 minutes, then serve.


What's cooking up in your house?