Monday, December 1, 2008

Turkey Picking

Now that Thanksgiving has been over for a few days, the turkey in your refrigerator probably resembles something you should leave for the buzzards to finish off. You've had your fill of turkey sandwiches, turkey tetrizzini, and all the other turkey leftover recipes that are in the women's magazines. Don't throw the bird out yet, because it still has some 'life' left in it.

Turkey Stock:

Turkey Carcass, well picked of the best parts of meat, but leaving the wings, back meat, and everything you couldn't easily get at - you know, the pieces that have gristle attached, or the ones that just won't separate from the bird. Break the carcass down until it fits in the largest soup pot that you own. Place any fat or juices that are left in your turkey pan into the soup pot.

All of your stuffing leftovers in the vegetable bin - onions, celery, carrots, minced garlic and any other vegetables that you can find. It is fine if the veggies are a bit wilted. Just clean them off and remove any spoiled pieces. Peel the onions of the outer skin, Peel the carrots of the part that sticks out of the ground, and throw these parts away. Quantities don't matter much here. Just use whatever veggie is around the house.

Place all ingredients in the soup pot and cover with water. Add 1 teaspoon of salt or garlic (or onion) salt, 2 bay leaves, and 1 teaspoon of your favorite herb. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 1 to 2 hours.

Now, for the messy, but fun part. Grab a large bowl and a colander (the kind you strain spaghetti with) and place the colander over the bowl in the sink. Use tongs to remove the bones and place them in the colander to cool for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, come back and separate the meat from the bones. You will have enough meat from this exercise to use either in turkey soup or another leftover turkey recipe. Throw away the bones.

Next, pour the remaining contents of the soup pot into the colander. Throw all of the items in the colander away. The veggies have given up their flavor to the stock that is left inside the bowl.

If you have a fat separater, you can reduce the fat from the stock if you wish, or you can place all of the stock in the refrigerator and allow it to cool. The fat will separate on its own, and you can use a spoon to remove the fat when it is cool.

You are left with a beautiful stock that can be used in a variety of ways including as a base to soup, seasoning for veggies, or flavor for rice. Place in 1 to 2 cup containers and freeze or refrigerate until needed.

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