Spoonin' some slurpy stuff about the world's drippiest drool

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Ancho Chili Turkey Soup

After eating turkey for the last four days, I have to say I was less than excited about the prospect of turkey soup. However, the remaining turkey parts, leftover gravy and the need to reclaim my refrigerator from said leftovers, beckoned. So, I embarked on a painstaking search for an acceptable turkey soup recipe (ok, I used my Epicurious app on my Iphone). I settled on one that that suggested to me that with enough chili and cumin our beleaguered mouths and stomachs might not immediately recognize the same main ingredient they had been subjected to repeatedly since Thursday.

First let me say, that recipe was an extremely loosely defined term with this particurlar soup. More of an idea really - I liked the idea of spicy, smoky flavors. That is where we parted company. I already had made stock from the carcass, so I was way ahead of the game recipe wise. By way of preparation, I soaked a couple of dried anchos in a cup of boiling stock, then pureed it. To thicken the stock I made a roux with a butter/oil combination and flour, added in the onions, then when softened, the garlic and red chilis. A little white wine deglazed the pan (beer may have been better, but I was in the mood for a glass of wine), and in went the stock (mixed with the ancho liquid). I added in the leftover gravy too (no real need for it since I threw in most of the leftover turkey meat). After a good bit of simmering and tasting, I threw in frozen succotash (a dish served on the first Thanksgiving I believe) and seasoned with smoked salt. The spicy paprika I had planned to finish the soup with was unnecessary - the chilis spiced things up just fine. Tortillas served on the side added crunch and a bit more salt.

As hoped for, the turkey provided texture and some reminiscence of flavor, without just being more of the same. I would say four days of turkey is enough for awhile, but by next November we will certainly be ready to trod down the turkey path.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Turkey stock

This year, our Thanksgiving meal began and ended with soup. Before, a lot of preparation, between, family, friends, lots of laughter and plenty of turkey, and after, exhaustion.

We started with chestnut soup. Roasted chestnuts pureed with veggies and herbs in homemade chicken broth and swirled with thyme cream. It's a rich soup, so I served it in a teacup, set on a saucer. And then we waited.

For the last ten years our turkey has perched on our grill rather than in our oven. While the results are juicy and delicious, the timing is less than predictable, with outside temps playing a part in the overall cooking time. To make life easier this year, I spent a bit more on an organic turkey - not for it's organicness, but for it's pop up timer. Hah. Guess what didn't work. Money well spent. A push or two on the bird and a thermometer in the thigh are a better tell anyway. Smartest move this year - buying a disposable roasting pan, putting a cutting board in it and carving the turkey. No lost juices and no mess. Ok, one out of two on the money well spent thing.

Dinner and cleanup was a group effort. I played no part in the creation of the desserts this year - a time saving relief for me, and a culinary relief for our guests. "mans got to know his limitations" - mine is pie crusts. Unless they are actually supposed to have the consistency of rubber, I fail miserably at pie crusts. Pumpkin whoopee pies were also a hit with the kids, and some of the not kids.

Last year, as we were enjoying our meal, our dog Ginger decided the trash can was not the best place for the turkey carcass - it was much better dragged out of the trash and gnawed on the kitchen floor. This year, I made stock. By the time the carcass was done simmering even Ginger wouldn't have wanted it. All the flavor from the meat was transferred to the liquid, fresh herbs and a bit of onion and lemon made for a really flavorful broth. Sorry Ginger. One meal done, and the promise of another already begun. More to be thankful for.