Waste Not Want Not

Waste not, want not.  How many times did we hear that when we were growing up?  I don’t know about you but I heard it fairly often.  Today I am back from over two weeks of travel and so it is time to deal with a few things left from our Canadian Thanksgiving.  I hosted dinner this year and was fortunate to have friends supply the turkey from their farm.  What I wasn’t expecting was the same friends to bring me an additional gift.  Upon their arrival, with a sheepish look on his face my friend held up a double plastic bag lump and said, “after our conversation the other day about not wasting food and using what you have to create nutritious, delicious food I just couldn’t give this to the dogs.”  I wondered what he was talking about.

It turns out that he had spent the day deboning turkeys so that he could freeze some turkeys in pieces rather than whole birds.  I have had one of the BBQ turkey breasts at his house and believe me they are to die for.  Huge succulent breasts that supply enough white meat for several meals.  Yum.

Anyway, the big lump turned out to be a turkey carcass that he was going to feed to the dogs but he thought better of it because of a conversation we had where I was bemusing about how easy it is to eat economically but well.  One of the things I mentioned, was never throwing out vegetable peels and bits or bones left over after a meal.  So there he was gifting me a turkey carcass and because I was leaving the next day I did not have time to deal with the carcass so I froze it.  Today I took the carcass from the freezer to use for making turkey stock.

I got a tip from a friend about roasting bones before you boil them and so for the last several years I have been doing that.  The roasted bones give so much more flavour to the soup stock and also create a beautiful brown coloured stock.  Why would I make soup stock you might ask?  Well, not just for soups. remember my son hates soup.  No, I use soup stock when I make risotto, when I make polenta, for flavour when I cook rice and in several other recipes such as short ribs and stews.  I freeze the stock in 2-4 cup portions and my freezer is never without a supply.  I have not bought soup stock in a very long time and it used to be a staple item on my grocery list.  I like to have vegetable stock, poultry stock, beef stock and fish stock in my freezer at all time so that I am prepared for any recipe I might want to make.

I thought I would show you how I make turkey stock and then give you a few links to recipes that use stock.

How to Make Turkey Stock

0Place the turkey carcass or bones in a roasting pan and sprinkle with a little herbs of provence and salt and pepper.  Put into a 375 degree oven and roast until golden brown.

0  When the carcass is browned remove from the oven.       0 Place in stock pot and cover bones with water.  Simmer for one to two hours.

0 Strain the bones out from the liquid.   0

0 Place a lid on the stock and chill overnight.

Skim any fat that has set on the top of your stock off and discard.

Pour stock through a fine sieve and then freeze in desired amounts.

Here are a few links to recipes that use stock.

Basic Risotto      http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/rice-recipes/a-basic-risotto-recipe

Polenta                  http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Creamy-Soft-Polenta-with-Meat-Ragu-241043

101 Soups             http://www.canadianliving.com/food/menus_and_collections/101_soup_recipes.php

You Don’t Like Soup?

roasting the turkey carcass before boiling

roasting the turkey carcass before boiling

Today I find myself struggling with what to do with the turkey carcass from our recent Thanksgiving dinner here in Michigan.  The thing is I am not at home in my own kitchen and so there are no staples or pantry items.  Oh and the other big problem is…..my son hates homemade soup.

When I was raising my 3 children often Monday would be homemade soup day.  I thought I was being a frugal gourmet while at the same time a super mother, you know, real food made from scratch, delicious and nutritious.  Not to mention the warm homemade bread which accompanied it. (My favourite recipe still from Harrowsmith Country Living Cookbook.) Every Monday the kitchen would be steamy and warm from the soup bubbling away on the stove and the sweet brown bread coming out of the oven.

I would set the table and present  what I thought was a meal fit for a high end restaurant with cloth napkins, cheese or herb garnish for the soup and loads of salty butter for the warm from the oven bread.  A handwoven basket of notable character (usually a gift from South African friends or one of my weaving friends) would be lined with a handwoven napkin and brimming with the yeasty delectable bread.  The soup would be placed in the middle of the table so as to awe the awaiting diners( my family) with  the ladling of the earthy mixture of broth, vegetables and herbs.  Think of it as dining foreplay,  meant to entice the eager eater into heightened gastonomic pleasure!

You can imagine my surprise when on one of these such nights my son, who suspiciously had been consuming copious amounts of bread and very little soup announced, “I hate homemade soup.”   “What, you hate my soup?  How can that be?”

It was unfathomable to me.  How could anyone not appreciate the fine flavours, the delightful presentation and my enthusiasm in the domestic arts?  That one short sentence brought me off my home economic high horse right promptly and caused me to have to adjust my expectations of my children’s individual palettes.

I continued to make soup on Mondays but the rule was my son had to eat one ladle of soup minimum and if he really wanted to indulge on the bread he had to make an effort to accompany it with a little more soup, even if was just the broth.

You may be wondering why I tell this story today.  Well, as I said, here I am in Michigan, renting a small house without my usual well stocked pantry and I need a nutritious dinner for us and  just happen to have a turkey carcass.  But wait, alas the boy doesn’t like soup. But I just can’t bear to throw away that carcass.  Hmmm

farmer's market finds

farmer’s market finds

The solution comes to me in a flash.  I will use the turkey soup stock to cook potatoes and leeks in and I will create the one soup he does like. Leek and Potato Soup.(recipe tab)  Don’t ask me why but my son loves this soup.  It really is the only soup he will eat.  In the fridge I happen to have leeks and potatoes from the Farmer’s Market in Marquette and I brought some herbes de provence with me so we are set.  There won’t be any homemade bread but we are both watching our ‘carb’ anyway.  Not only will we have a nutritious, comforting meal.  I will be able to give him a cooking lesson at the same time and he will be able to use the recipe I texted him a few weeks ago.


So, with snow and hail and frozen rain falling intermittently all day today and the cold north wind blowing we are going to hunker down tonight and enjoy the one soup that satisfied my need to be resourceful and frugal and allows my son to enjoy his meal.