Saturday, December 1, 2012

Thanksgiving Post #4 - Turkey Soup, An Amazing Sandwich Plus A Rookie Mistake

I’ve had an aversion to making turkey soup with the turkey carcass ever since I followed some recipe years ago that called for adding the STUFFING to the soup. It was from someone big – like James Beard or Craig Claiborne. I’ve blocked it out, but the soup was exactly what you would have expected – a cloudy mess of greasy soggy leftovers swimming in a big pot of grey water. NOT GOOD! Ever since then I’ve gotten rid of the carcass pretty much after the turkey is carved. THIS year I decided to give it another try and I’m really glad I did, even though the soup did not get off to a good start.

I’ve told you how I have a big pot of turkey stock going all day Thanksgiving morning. I use it for the gravy, or course, and then I save it to thin down the gravy over the next few days. There was a lot of hubbub going on and SO many dishes and I inadvertently left the stockpot on the back of the stove overnight. That entire rich brown (from onion skins) pot of deliciousness had to be thrown out. If it had been only 2 hours, I would have reboiled it, but, honestly, you can’t take chances with poultry anything. SO down the drain it went…

But I was still determined to make soup. Instead of my stellar turkey stock, I used a box of vegetable stock, some of my homemade brew and water. It was fine.

I took all the meat I could off the carcass (I wish there were a more attractive word), chopped it up and immediately refrigerated it. Then I basically did what I do with chicken soup. There are only two secrets – cook it for long time and use two batches of vegetables. The first batch gets boiled to oblivion in a long cooking. Those can be chopped helter skelter and at least some of the onion skin should stay on. Then the soup gets strained and the second batch of (nicely chopped) vegetables goes in. Those are the ones that are actually served with the soup. They are cooked for about 45 minutes.

After the turkey is carved, chop the carcass into largish pieces and refrigerate until you’re ready to make soup, hopefully the next day or two.

Turkey Soup
Printable recipe here.

1 turkey carcass
stock and water
2 onions, ends cuts off, chopped into 4 pieces with skin still on
4 carrots, washed well and chopped roughly
4 stalks of celery or use the inside leaved pieces and/or the end cut into quarters
2 bay leaves
a palm full of black peppercorns

To add to the finished soup:
1 large onion, chopped nicely
2 carrots, chopped nicely
optional: 2 celery stalks, chopped nicely

Pick all the turkey meat you can off the bones. Chop, cover and refrigerate.

If you haven’t already done it, cut the carcass into a few big pieces. Place in large stockpot. Cover with a combination of turkey stock, chicken stock, vegetable stock and/or cold water. (Try to use at least one quart of some kind of stock, but just water is fine.)

Add onions, carrots, celery, bay leaves and peppercorns. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for at least 2 hours. 3 is better. (If this were chicken soup and you were using a whole chicken, I’d tell you to remove the chicken breast part of the chicken after 40 minutes and chop it up to add to the finished soup.)

With a slotted spoon, remove the biggest pieces of debris from the soup and discard. (It just makes straining the soup easier.) Strain the soup into a bowl or clean pot. (I have so much, I use both.)

Return strained soup to stockpot. Taste for seasoning. (It will need some salt.) Add nicely chopped onions, carrots and celery, if using. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 40 minutes. Add chopped turkey back to pot. Serve hot with lots of freshly ground pepper.

T  T  T  T  T  T  T  T  T  T  T  T  T

Turkey Triumph Sandwich

This sandwich is a triumph of ingenuity. A young man in my house thought of everything in creating this. He required that the gravy be heated up in a fairly wide pot, so that he could easily dunk his pieces of toast in for the “moist making” (gosh, I hate that word) portion of the sandwich. He couldn’t find regular tongs, so he used the ones from the ice bucket to get the bread nice and coated in the hot gravy. (That will be an interesting tasting cosmo, next time.)

No recipe, you can see the layers pretty easily:
Toast, mayo, turkey, cranberries, gravy soaked bread, stuffing, mashed potatoes (which were the only thing I would have left off), toast, mayo, turkey, cranberries, toast with mayo…you get the idea.


Emily said...

Wow! Thanksgiving dagwood! Your son is a genius! Or was it the husband?

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

How does one fit that sandwich in one's mouth?

Whenever I think of turkey soup gone wrong, I remember the time I boiled down the carcass forgetting to remove the cinnamon stick I had put in the cavity to flavor it while roasting. Made for a rather interesting flavor. I suppose if I added some star anise and cloves, I could have made turkey pho.

Sue said...

Sorry I deleted this comment from Tom by mistake!!!

“If it were me, I'd be wiping away tears as I poured that stock down the drain. But you have to be careful. Have you tried stuffing dumplings in the soup? Or frying up some stuffing patties and putting them in the bottom of each soup bowl?”

Sue said...

Hey Em,
It was definitely a son-made creation!

Did you see how much that sandwich shrunk down after it was cut? I thought it was rather large, but its creator had no problem chomping down on it.

I'm not sure the cinnamon would have been the greatest addition for a long boiling, but turkey pho is such a great idea.I should have made THAT!

Hey Tom,
I'm glad I had a house full of folks so I couldn't take the time to mourn my stock. But luckily I had used the majority of it for the gravy.

I fear that adding any kind of stuffing situation to the soup would bring back all those bad memories. But I love the idea of a stuffing pattie...served at a totally different time from the soup, though.