The two most wonderful things about Thanksgiving—aside from family and coming up with something suitable to be the thing you’re thankful for this year—are sides and leftovers. This sentiment illustrates why I was totally unprepared to carve the turkey I brined and roasted for the big day. So I was thankful for Josh’s dad Dave, because he stepped in when the turkey stepped out of the oven. Due to my lack of carving knife, he even made due with my chef’s knife.
Perhaps even better than the carved turkey itself was the recipe Dave and Josh’s mom, Colleen, imparted to me on the side of the carving/gravy making festivities. As a fan of riffing on a good recipe, their helpful input into what makes a great turkey stew was priceless.
“We don’t follow [the recipe] completely, and we use the seasonings, veggies, and grains that we like best,” Colleen wrote later. “We use carrots, celery, onions, and mushrooms as the basis for the veggies, and then add frozen peas, green beans, etc. (whatever we have on hand or are craving at the time). We don’t use noodles, but instead, use a combination of rice and barley for the starch.”
Well, I had lentils and wild rice in the house, so those are the starches here. For the rest of it, take a gander at my riff on the Hansons’ infinite turkey frame wisdom. But feel free to play with this recipe as your larder/desires dictate and let me know how it turns out. Happy post-Thanksgiving!
1 turkey carcass
2-3 large carrots, quartered
2-3 large celery stalks, quartered
1 yellow onion, quartered
2 large rosemary sprigs
approx 1 T of whole peppercorns
1 bay leaf
Combine the above in your biggest soup pot/pasta cooker and cover with water. Leave the roots, stems, leaves, etc. on the veggies. Just make sure they’re clean (and feel free to throw in whatever you have in the crisper drawer, even if it’s not so crisp at the moment). Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover. Let it go thusly 1.5 to 2 hours.
Carefully drain the liquid through a sieve and/or cheesecloth. Compost the boiled veggies. Place the turkey carcass/meat on a large cutting board. After it’s cooled enough to touch, strip the meat away from the bones, discarding them with the skin and fat. Chop the meat into bite-sized shreds. Dig into your turkey leftovers and supplement the scraps with more chopped turkey, to make approximately 3 cups for the soup.
Speaking of the soup:
3 cups turkey
1 T butter
1.5 cups diced celery
2 cups sliced carrots
1 small onion, diced
7 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
10 cups turkey stock, approximately
⅔ cup cooking sherry
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup dry lentils
1 cup cooked wild rice
Melt butter in stock pot. Saute celery and onion ‘til soft. Add garlic and carrot, cook one additional minute. Add stock and turkey meat, ring to a boil and simmer for 1 hour. Add tomatoes, rice, lentils and broth. Bring to a boil again and simmer for ½ hour. Season with salt, pepper and cayenne. Gobble as needed.