Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Turkey Soup and other Turkeys

One of the things I love most about my workplace is the number of great cat lovers I interact with on a daily basis. It seems we can hardly wait to share stories about the adventures of our feline friends, and it is always so exciting when someone gets a new kitten, as several of my male co-workers this past week!
It was with a bright gleam in her eye that my friend, Deb, arrived on Monday morning to tell me her turkey story....her intrepid cat, Ivan, gets to roam her back garden each morning, somewhat supervised by Deb's husband, Wes, as he enjoys his coffee by the window. On Thanksgiving morning, Wes looked out in disbelief as he saw a huge wild turkey, with half-grown young 'un in tow. These turkeys are fairly frequent visitors as they live on the edge of a huge conservation area, but Ivan had yet to meet them. As the pair strolled into the garden, Wes realized that Ivan was sitting under a nearby holly tree and he watched as Ivan began to get into full fledged fight position, thinking he could take on these interlopers. Momma turkey, feeling a threat to her "baby" also went in to defense mode and a chase ensued....round and round the holly tree until Mom turkey had Ivan heading for the hills. I am sure it was much more entertaining than I have been able to describe here but let's just say it was a great "cat story" way to start the week after our Thanksgiving break.

In other turkey news....all my adult life I have been trying to make turkey soup that would taste like my mother's. Time and time again, I have followed recipes and articles carefully and never come close, until now. When Mum was alive I asked her many times to show me and she'd always say to just throw the turkey carcass, skin, left over stuffing, etc into the stock pot and slowly simmer. "It is so simple, dear, and I really don't have a recipe."

On Sunday I cooked a little belated Thanksgiving "feast" for Bob and LM as we had not been able to be together on the actual day. It was a small turkey(10 lbs) and I filled the cavity with vegetables and fresh herbs....onions, carrots, celery, thyme, parsley, sage and chopped garlic, rubbed the turkey with herbed butter and placed it on a layer of the same veggie/herb combination in a heavy dark roasting pan on the bottom rack of my oven, to roast for 3 hours. This produced nice dark and flavorful gravy. I made an apple, cranberry and herb dressing using good quality whole wheat bread from Trader Joe's, and baked it in a separate dish.

After enjoying the dinner, LM took most of the meat off the bird and I took the carcass and all scraps, Mum's words echoing in my ears, and placed them in my crockpot. I added all the vegetable scraps which I'd taken from the roasting pan and then used some leftover vegetable and chicken broth as well as some water to cover. It simmered for 8 hrs overnight and, FINALLY, I have a lovely big bowl of broth which tastes just lke Mum's!!! Not quite her method but I did achieve "nearly" the same results. It only took me about 45 years to duplicate....not bad, huh?

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