Monday, December 8, 2008

a turkey, some brine, a mistake and two amazing resulting soups

a turkey
So we're finally pretty much done with the turkey I cooked over Thanksgiving weekend. It has been an enjoyable undertaking. Seriously, some of the best left overs I've ever had the pleasure of eating.

some brine
I'm pretty much convinced that brining is the way to go the next time I cook a whole bird (chicken, turkey, duck? I've only cooked duck once, etc.). It does this wonderful thing to the meat. With the turkey, I picked it apart right after the meal (it wouldn't have fit in the fridge otherwise) and stored it in a big tub with a lid. And when I'd pull out bits to chop up for soups or pot pie or whatever, I'd nibble on a piece of cold left-over turkey and shazam! even that way it tasted good.

a mistake
So the gravy I made from the turkey drippings was a bit of a mess. I was tired at the time, I suddenly forgot that the flour should be added before the liquid (not after) so I got a lumpy gravy which made me sad. Also it was so freaking salty I choked when I tasted it. So I poured some water in to dilute it. And I poured and poured and poured and after I had about a quart of lumpy gravy, I sort of gave up and put it in the fridge and forgot about it for a day or two. I'm learning that brined turkey drippings makes for a salty business. But the good news is that the quart of lumpy salty gravy came in handy when I decided to make soup with some of the leftover turkey meat.

two amazing resulting soups (in two parts)
Part 1: Turkey Noodle Soup
Sort of my matzoh ball soup recipe but with turkey instead of chicken and without the matzoh balls. And since it was turkey noodle soup, I didn't want to use chicken stock. But I didn't have any turkey stock. In an inspired moment I poured half the lumpy salty gravy into the soup pot and found that it didn't ruin my soup. It was just okay tasting when we ate it for dinner the night I made it. But two days later? Boy howdy! It was so good!!

Part 2: Bean Soup with Turkey and Spicy Sausage
I had an idea to make a soup that was sort of based on an Italian sausage and beans dish. I sauteed some chopped up carrots, celery and onions with some olive oil in a big pot. Once everything was nice and tender, I added sliced spicy italian sausage and gave everything a good stir. Then water and the rest of the lumpy salty gravy and chopped up kale for some greens. I had some left over herbs (flat leaf parsely, rosemary and thyme. I may have also dipped into my dried oregano stash. I can't remember) so I threw that into the pot for good measure too. Once that boiled up nice and rumbly I added the beans (navy beans, I think and they had been soaked overnight and were ready to go) and cooked the soup until the beans were tender. At the very end I chopped up turkey and added that to the soup. It's a hearty soup with the beans and the two meats and the greens. The broth is mostly clear and filling. I can't stop eating it.

I guess I should have taken a picture of this soupy loveliness. But I forgot. If I remember to do it this week while I am chowing on leftover fantasmagoria, I'll post the photos here.

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