Turkey Leftovers – What to do with ’em

I can’t decide.  Do I like Thanksgiving dinner better or the leftover dinner the next day?  Nope, still can’t decide.  The good thing is that I don’t have to.  We had both.

Now that both the big meal and the equally good leftover meal are in the past, if you haven’t already taken those bones and made stock with them, today is the day to either deal with them in the form of stock or get them well wrapped and into the freezer until you do have time. I talk about how to make stock with your turkey bones in my latest column.

Corn, Bacon and Potato Soup was the final product of our turkey stock last night for dinner.   It works because stock made this way is not as heavily poultry flavored as when you begin with raw bones.  It becomes a mild background flavor rather than the main event.  The oyster crackers are a traditional way of thickening chowder.  I suppose this soup could be considered chowder if you weren’t such a traditionalist and didn’t require salt pork to call it so.  They are salty and so is the bacon.  Therefore, additional salt may not be needed.  Taste at the end to be sure.

Corn Bacon Potato Soup

Corn, Bacon and Potato Soup
2 cups diced onions, about 1 large onion
4 slices bacon, diced
4 cups diced red potatoes, about 6 to 8 small to medium potatoes
several grinds of fresh black pepper
1 cup oyster crackers
4 to 6 cups turkey stock (or chicken broth)
1 cup whole milk
3 cups frozen corn kernels (but if it were in the middle of the summer, I’d definitely use fresh!)
pinch of salt to taste

Heat a large stockpot over medium-high heat and add the onions and the bacon.  Saute for 10 minutes or until the onions are translucent and the bacon has rendered fully.  Add the potatoes, pepper and oyster crackers and saute for another several minutes or until things begin to brown slightly.  Add the stock and bring the soup to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.  Add the milk and corn, bring to a simmer again and taste for salt.

Serves 4 to 6

Hope it was a good one for you all!

Easy Turkey Meals – Happy Thanksgiving to ALL

The house is filled with the hum of conversation and bursts of laughter in the family room, the windows are a little steamy in the corners and kitchen is filled to bursting with food preparation and the smells of dishes that haven’t been enjoyed since last Thanksgiving.  I stop for a moment in my whisking and soak in the sounds of my family ensconced in a day together, connecting, reminiscing and sharing – a meal, time, space – together.

This is the day I look forward to having next week and I wish the same for you all.  Over the years I’ve posted many recipes that might be helpful on Thanksgiving Day – Turkey Confit is perfect for a smaller gathering, as is Turkey Galantine (a breast rolled and stuffed), Turkey Stock is a helpful recipe after the main event and Breaking Down a Whole Turkey is a skill that every cook could have up their sleeve.  I hope that one or more of these recipes helps in bringing you and yours together over good food and a table burgeoning with care.


Be well, my friends, and grateful for it all,

Turkey Stock

Use the bones from a turkey that you either break down yourself or ask a butcher to save them for you.  Use the carcass, neck and giblets (those squishy things that come in the bag if you are using a store bought turkey).  Place in a large pot with 2 large carrots, 2 small leeks or onions and 2 celery staulks, all quartered.  Cover with water and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce immediately to a simmer for 1 1/2 hours, skimming any foam and fat that rises to the surface.

Strain and use stock immediately for gravy or soup or freeze (labeling and dating) for later.

And prepare to enjoy the best soup or sauce you’ve ever made!

And the house will smell terrific and the windows will get that romantic, steamy look that makes you thick of cold days, hot chocolate, wool sweaters and walks through the leaves.


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Breaking Down a Whole Turkey

The advantages to knowing how to break down poultry are many.  Not the least of which is the remaining bones with which to make flavorful and healthy stock.  It’s not hard to do.  (I know, easy for me to say as I do these things for a living, but really this whole breaking down process took longer to post than it did to do.  A LOT longer.)

Begin with a 12 to 14 pound turkey which will feed at least as many people.  It should be fresh (or fully defrosted before you begin).

As you hover over each photo, the step by step instructions will magically appear.  You can turn off the autoviewer screen if you wish by clicking in the lower right corner of the pop up window.

Save the breast and either brine and roast it or stuff it.

Give it a shot – you can do it!

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