Don't toss those turkey bones! To finish the feast off properly, you've got to make a hearty pot of turkey soup.
I have fond memories of waking the day after Thanksgiving to the aroma of turkey cooking - again!
On Thanksgiving evening, after a round of turkey sandwiches and pie had been gobbled up, my mother, Aunt JoAnn and Grandmother Etta would sit together and take the meat off the turkey bones; making plans for every morsel of the tasty bird.
The leftover meat would be used for hot or cold sandwiches, be reheated with leftover stuffing and potatoes or presented as Turkey Tetrazzini or some such delightful dish until it was finally depleted.
The bones went directly into the stock pot to make fragrant, hearty soup. The soup filled tummies and souls with the contentment that was Thanksgiving. It was that simmering soup that woke me the day after Thanksgiving.
When I was growing up, we celebrated every Thanksgiving with my Aunt JoAnn and Uncle Don Smith and their five children. My cousins were all about the same ages as my brothers and sisters.
Though I don't remember feeling crowded ten kids, four parents, a grandmother and at least one dog and one cat put our house at maximum capacity. At some point, my dad began pitching the wall tent he took elk hunting on the side lawn, complete with a wood burning stove. He created quite a snug getaway spot for the adults to play cards and visit.
This left our three story house to the children and our activities …
We played checkers and Monopoly. We played hours of gin rummy and quadruple solitaire. We did gymnastics, danced and built human pyramids. We played the flute, clarinet, trombone, piano, guitar and tamborine and belted out ballads as if our lives depended on it. We made movies in the basement that our fathers captured on cameras - with real film.
We just had fun together. It makes me laugh to think of the holidays, camping trips, and birthdays spent with my cousins. There was never a quiet, still or dull moment when the Smiths got together.
That is what this weekend is for: just having fun with your friends and family. Shuffle a deck of cards, watch a favorite movie, go for a hike. Participate in Black Friday shopping and in the Thanksgiving Weekend wine tasting, just do it with a focus on the people whom you love.
Oh, and get your soup simmering before you go!
Bon Appetite! Savor your Thanksgiving!
Grandma Etta's Next Day Turkey Soup
Serves 6 to 8
2 quarts water, or enough to cover the turkey carcass by 1 inch of water
1 turkey carcass, all meat removed
1 onion, halved, plus 1 onion, finely diced
2 carrots, halved, plus 1 carrot, finely diced
1 whole stalk celery, plus 1 more stalk finely diced
2 bay leaves
3 cups dark turkey meat
2 garlic cloves smashed
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups leftover cooked Thanksgiving side vegetables (Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, green beans, etc.)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves
Put water, turkey, onion halves, carrots halves, 1 celery stalk and 1 bay leaf in a large stockpot. Bring to a boil, and then simmer about 1½ hours. Finely dice the remaining onion, carrot and celery stalk and reserve.
Dice the turkey meat. Make sure meat pieces are no larger than the size of a soupspoon.
Before straining broth, remove large bones and carcass with tongs. Strain the broth through a sieve, covered with wet cheesecloth. Discard the solids. Return broth broth to soup pot and continue simmering.
In a large sauté pan, heat garlic cloves in the olive oil. Allow to brown slightly and add minced carrots, celery and onion. Sweat over medium-low heat until softened, about seven or eight minutes. Add to turkey stock, along with chopped sage and remaining bay leaf..
Dice the leftover vegetable side dishes (here Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes and green beans) and turkey meat; add to the soup. Bring it back up to a simmer. Finally, add the sweet potatoes to the center, and gently push them down. Turn the heat off and cover. Allow to sit and steam for five to seven minutes.
Let simmer for five more minutes and serve.
Etta Sue Smith,
Randall welcomes your food questions and research suggestions. She can be reached at 503-635-8811 or by e-mail at [email protected]