Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Birthday Soup--Turkey Broth

 Cat says, "Can you really cook? If you can really make it, I will eat it"

from "Birthday Soup" in Little Bear by Else Minarik

Little Bear makes himself "Birthday Soup" when Mother Bear seems to be away on his birthday. And like Little Bear, I expected my mom to be home, making my birthday cake. Especially since it was also Thanksgiving. And I didn't expect to be cooking Thanksgiving dinner.

But when my dad ended up in the hospital in the wee small hours of the night (he's got COPD among other things),the dinner got left in my hands. I had to cook it all--and do it in my mom's kitchen (!)

I roasted the turkey--stuffed with stuffing my mom had made to my grandma's recipe the night before. I roasted brussels sprouts with garlic and made sweet potatoes the way the kids like them--I'll post the recipe again soon. I made homemade cranberry sauce--used the recipe on the package, then strained the sauce through the food mill to make the smooth kind.

I didn't make a birthday cake. Instead before I put the turkey in, I made a chocolate Pavlova from Nigella Lawson's great recipe.

Everything turned out well. My mom got home from the hospital in time for dinner. Sadly, my dad couldn't come home that night--in fact, he's been in the hospital since then.  Hopefully he will finally come home tomorrow. But we brought him turkey and the trimmings on Friday, and he enjoyed them--though I'm sure he reassured my mom that it wasn't as good as if SHE'd done it.

It was though--the turkey was moist and delicious and the side dishes all came out well. And that chocolate Pavlova--mmm!

So what's this about "birthday soup"?

I brought the carcass home, plunked it into my crock pot and made turkey broth. Some of it went into a turkey corn chowder and the rest went into 2 cup plastic containers,to be frozen for later use.

You can do this with a chicken carcass too.


turkey carcass with some meat left on the bones
6-12 cups of water
chopped onion--1 onion or 1 cup of frozen chopped onion
1 bay leaf
chopped carrots--I threw in some frozen ones
parsley and thyme--dried or fresh

Place the turkey in the crock pot and add enough water to cover. Add the remaining ingredients.
Cook on low for at least 8 hours. Twelve to eighteen hours is even better.
Use a large strainer to remove everything except the liquid. If you have a crazy husband, he may want the meat, etc <rolls eyes> but I don't think it's even fit for the cats to eat.

Broth is ready for use. If you fridge it for a bit, the fat will rise to the top and you can skim it as wanted.

Freezer tip--place 1-2 cup amounts in small freezer safe plastic containers. You can then pop them out of the containers and store them in freezer bags, to be thawed as needed. Ice cube trays work if you just want small amounts but most recipes I use take at least 2 cups of broth.

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