January 2, 2011

My Turkey Soup

Christmas has come and gone. Presents are all put away, tree is down, decorations are waiting to make their way into boxes, and leftovers have been nommed. I hosted the Christmas Day dinner this year, and decided to keep the rack (as opposed to giving it to my mom or stepmom for them to make soup) and I am exceptionally happy with the way the soup turned out.
I was asked by a number of family/friends if I would post my recipe for the soup I made, so I typed it out what I did and posted it on Facebook. I don't use a recipe for soup per se... just winged it and added stuff I like and left out what I don't. But man-oh-man it worked out. 
First thing to know... this whole turkey soup process took me the better part of 6.5 hours. This amount of time seems long, but its soup. Why rush soup? I want the full flavour of the soup, time is not an issue.
Pull most of meat off the rack. Set aside the turkey meat for use in sandwiches or whatever, some will get used later for the soup. If you have poultry shears, cut apart the rack so it fits a bit “flatter” in your pot, otherwise use Hulk-strength and rip it apart. Make sure you pull off all the skin and fatty bits because, well... ew. Put rack in stock pot and cover with water, leaving water level about 1 inch above bones. For me, this is about 10 quarts (so says the markers inside my stock pot). I also used the veggie-water that was saved from carrots and sweet potatoes.
Throw in: 1 quartered yellow onion, a small handful of whole peppercorns, some thyme, some basil (because I like it), oregano, a couple bay leaves, a couple misshapen carrots that would have been too frustrating to peel for another supper (chopped into about 4 pieces each), a celery stalk broken into about 4-5 pieces, fresh ground pepper and salt... a lot of salt it seemed (again no measurements) and a “bouquet garni” bag. I got my package of them as a gift a couple years ago, basically its savoury soup spices all tied up in a bag that you throw in your soup pot and is super convenient and tasty. I also threw in some mashed sweet potatoes and some mashed turnip that was left in my fridge after Christmas dinner for flavour since I knew it would reduce to nothing. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 4 hours (I left mine uncovered), stirring constantly and skimming off any “ick” as you notice it. In the time it took mine to cook, I got a lot of other stuff done and my house smelled amazing!
After the 4 hours were up, I used a skimmer spoon to fish all the bones and carrots and celery and everything out of the pot and into a big bowl. Then, pour the liquid through a mesh strainer into a large bowl (I had to use two bowls). Throw away the stuff stuck to the strainer. Pour the liquid back into the pot. Okay, this part is a little icky... I dumped the skimmed out stuff onto a cookie sheet, let it cool for about 10 minutes so the fingers didn’t hurt from the heat and picked out any and all edible bits of turkey meat while the carrots and celery were put in the Magic Bullet with some of the broth from the pot, and set aside to cool a bit. The rest of the icky stuff got chucked in the trash.
Meanwhile, chop (about 5 medium-ish) potatoes into spoon-sized pieces. Then I trimmed the ends off 4 carrots and used my new Lee Valley mandolin to slice the carrots into dollar-chips because I love the way they cook in that shape best. Chopped a celery stalk in half then chopped into bite sized bits. Then I hauled the saved turkey out of the fridge and chopped a bunch into little bite sized pieces and threw everything in the pot. The cooked carrots/celery and broth that was put in the Magic Bullet earlier? Blend it into a smooth puree and add to pot. I added about half a carton of low sodium broth I had in the fridge and 1½ cups of water to increase the liquid level a bit. Add salt/pepper/other savoury spices you like to taste. Turn heat to about medium so it’s bubbling harder but not a full-on boil.
When the carrots are almost cooked, throw in about half a box of Smart Pasta rotini noodles. When the noodles are cooked, its done. Pure awesome.
I hope you've saved a couple empty yogurt/margerine containers, because people will ask you for some and there is more than enough to share! Just tape the lids on with masking tape to help eliminate tragic soup-in-transit accidents. I usually write a note on the tape, but who is really surprised? 
Oh, and I mixed up 1 ½ cups of sifted Bisquick with about ½ cup of water and some salt, spooned blobs of it onto a parchment covered pan and tossed them in the oven at 350 for 11 minutes. Warm homemade biscuits with homemade turkey soup? Yes please.
I apologise for the lack of photos for this post. I will attempt to have photographic evidence for future creations!

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