Friday, November 27, 2009

Investing in Turkey Stock

How was your Thanksgiving? Ours was nice, quiet and grateful. S. said a lovely prayer she learned at religion, the food was good, the pies were sinful, the company was the best. Our town lost two children this week to being hit by cars. It is so sad, and yet it reminds us again, as if we needed it, that life is a fleeting thing and no one can count on tomorrow.

Bill, my father in law, passed away last April, just after Easter. At that dinner I made a toast about how much I valued us all being together and how we all knew it wouldn't be this way forever. I certainly never expected to have him go so soon.

This holiday was quiet without him. He would have been so proud of S. saying that prayer. He would have enjoyed the food with abandon, and laughed more than anyone else at the table. We tried to honor him, by eating, laughing, enjoying and taking the time to appreciate each other.

In the spirit of taking time, I am making Turkey Stock. I plan to use it in my cooking, saving some for Christmas Dinner. I will use it instead of buying canned stock, so we will save money. But the biggest investment I see is in the lesson slow cooking teaches my children. They grow up in such a fast environment. Everything is convenient and quick. This shows them that we can be less wasteful, save money, make food that tastes better and is also better for us, and most importantly, that things that take time can be better than the convenient choice.

So before we sat down to eat our leftovers, I picked over the bones of the turkey and put what was left into a pot. Here is what I put in with it...

1 Turkey Carcass
1 cup of leftover roasted root veggies from last night. (Not important but will add to the depth of flavor)
all the leftover parts of the celery from my cooking (Stems, flowers, and two stalks that were left) I keep them big so I can strain them out later)
2 carrots (I love to eat these later so I peel them before I put them in)
1 yellow onion quartered
two handfuls of parsley
one handful of Thyme
2 bay leaves
a handful of kosher salt
a few teaspoons of black pepper
Cover the whole thing with cold water and boil. Turn heat down to low and simmer for four to six hours. Near the end, taste it and season it with salt and pepper as needed. When it is done, let it cool a little and strain it using a cheese cloth draped over a colander. Put the colander over another big pot or bowl, and get some help with this step it can be spilly. Cool completely over night in the pot you cooked it in, I put the pot right in the fridge once it is cool enough. In the morning you can skim off most of the fat and freeze it in single use sizes, in freezer bags. (They freeze flat for easy storage.) Don't over fill the bags because the stock will expand a little when it freezes.

The house smells yummy, all the better to enjoy our leftovers.

And of course, I saved room for leftover pie.

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