November 29, 2014

Turkey Stock - after 2 days - the real nectar of the gods

Our family Thanksgiving is full of traditions. There is always a whole fresh pumpkin pie stashed in the fridge for the day after Thanksgiving. Breakfast and leftovers wouldn't be the same without them. We also save a bag of rolls for cold turkey sandwiches. And, about 4 years ago we inaugurated Friendsgiving at out house. All traditions, entrenched.

The tradition I look forward to for it's amazing fragrance over the Thanksgiving weekend, is the making of Turkey Stock on the stove. I gather the bones and cart them home when my sister has Thanksgiving. This year we combined friends and family and had the dinner party at our house. So just after the guests left and my Dear was on the 3rd load of dishes, the turkey popped into my La Creuset Doufeu, with yellow onions and carrots and just enough water to cover it. I had also reserved the turkey roasting pan drippings and side by side they spent the next day reducing into the most wonderful stocks. Of course the small version from the pan was done the first night. This morning I let the big pot finish and drained the nectar to these jars. (There are 3 of them.)

I'm quite happy to have this brilliant base for soup -- which we can use almost anytime -- and for sauces. Someone was suggesting a Turkey pot pie, too. And since I made the (amazing) Torrisi's Turkey Breast recipe I found at Food 52, (thank you!) we may have just enough turkey left for a pie. Turkey soup sounds good, but we're facing 75 degree weather right now. When the temperature changes, I'll pull the stock out of the freezer, hopefully in December, and make a beautiful pot with fat noodles.

I had a wonderful experience with Ina Garten's make ahead gravy this year. I had a jar of chicken stock for the base. The recipe calls for chopped red onion, butter and flour and seasoning. I added drippings and a crisp white wine when the turkey finished and it was so good. Next year, I may make a turkey around the beginning of fall and save that stock for the big day.

Thanksgiving with all its traditions is an evolving tableau. This year we added a wild rice dish and my son's new favorite, Mrs. Board's chopped sweet potatoes. (He fell in love with them, so those sweet potatoes in jackets just had to move over on the plate and give space to their bright orange goodness.)

Thanksgiving is such a creative and inspiring holiday for me. How about you?

November 25, 2014

Thanksgiving & Julia and Ina and me.

I'm often surprised by, well, the surprises my computer brings forth.

Today, prepping, cleaning, making leaf garlands for our Thanksgiving Day celebration I clicked on iTunes. I thought I'd listen to my pal Christine's Thanksgiving playlist -- amazing -- with Appalachian Spring and Natalie Cole all in one fabulous hour or so of music. But, iTunes started a fantastic podcast from July of 2009 on the Chef's Table. (I had no idea I had this podcast.) It focused on Julia Child and the movie, Julie and Julia. Lot's of people talk on this wonderful program -- as I listened I thought about Julia Child and her whole-hearted living. Fantastic. Wonderful. Amazing.

I also heard Nora Ephron talking about the script and her book and movie, Heartburn. And I felt that thing I love so much -- deep, quiet, almost spiritual connection. I cook all the time. I have since I was 13 years old. I try new things like when I was 13 and made a warm chicken salad -- flash cooked lettuce -- yup.

It made me so happy as I look at Thanksgiving in a couple of days. My turkey is in the fridge, wrapped, as Ina Garten suggested in plastic wrap, holding a brine, and getting ready for tomorrow. Every other week or so, I make Ina's Perfect Sunday Roast Chicken. I love making it. The scent of thyme and lemon and garlic floats through the house. We eat, slowly, chatting, enjoying and later I make a stock for the freezer.

I'll be using the same style of cooking for this year's turkey. Entirely undaunting and I think of the process as fun and joyful and exciting.

I love the thought of these women, connected over time by a love of preparing and enjoying food. And I'm equally glad to be sharing their workspace and history as I plan for the party this week.

I hope your Thanksgiving planning is bringing you joy too.


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