Since Mom was working on Thanksgiving Day she didn’t figure there’s be much in the way of leftovers for her to deal with this year. Boy was she wrong!
Mom had bought a turkey breast to roast so she could have some turkey on her dinner break. She planned to bake a sweet potato and add some cranberry-applesauce and that would be plenty. Then some friends came by with four (4!) plates of goodies from their Thanksgiving dinner, and a WHOLE smoked turkey they’d smoked at home just for her. A WHOLE turkey…OMD what every would we do with all of this food? (I offered to assist if she’d just put that big brown bird down on the floor at my level, but Mom frowned on that suggestion…Gee I was just trying to help out)
After a couple of days of turkey sandwiches for lunch it was time to strip down those birds and move on to something new. Since the whole turkey had been smoked rather than roasted she wasn’t sure how it would do for soup, but figured it was worth a try. Both the whole carcass, the bones from the breast and all the tasty bits were dumped into a large stock pot and covered with cold water. (Mom didn’t put in onions or seasoning so that I’d be able to share in the broth) After bringing to a low boil, the heat was turned down and the pot was left to low simmer for about 90 minutes. This gave her a large pot of golden rich turkey stock with a slightly smoky background flavor that was unusual and good. Here’s what it looked like while it was simmering.
She let it cool down a bit, then strained it well and dumped almost all that broth back into the stock pot. (Mom saved some of the broth to put on my kibble…That was nice of her don’t you think) Now for the creative fun part of soup making…
When the carcasses were stripped, Mom saved all the breast meat separately ..that is her favorite part (me, Gizmo…I like it all) … and thought about what to do with the dark meat. Mom’s favorite soup is Italian Wedding Soup, which has little meatballs in it, so she decided to do a new version of it. Mom put all the dark meat in the food processor (a very scary machine) along with a large handful of sliced almonds, half a bunch of fresh cilantro, two eggs and some S&P. She ground it all up (it kind of looked like the dawg food that comes in cans) and then made it all up into 3/4″ meatballs, a good size for soup. She baked the meatballs till they were about half-baked (half-baked, like Mom’s sense of humour BOL!) , since they’d finish cooking in the stock later on. Digging around in the freezer she found three lonely Italian sausages that needed a home, so they were quickly sauteed, cut into 1/2″ slices and added to the pot.While the meatballs were baking she threw some chunked up carrots and a large bag of frozen spinach into the stock and let that simmer. When the carrots were tender those meatballs were tossed into the pot (except for a couple that I earned with my sad puppy eyes) , along with about a half box of whole wheat elbow noodles, and the simmering continued till the noodles were al dente (didn’t know I spoke Italian did you…I’m a very cultured dawg). Now she tasted the broth and adjusted the salt and pepper till it was “just right”.
Here’s what the finished soup looked like.
This is a very large pot of soup so half was frozen and the rest went for lunches. Mom says that this is one of the best soups she’s ever made, and figures it’s due to the smoked turkey carcass, and the slightly smoky flavor of the meatballs, but she’s sure it would work with any turkey carcass…just adjust your quantities of additions to fit the amount of stock you have.
Come back next week and I’ll tell you what she did with all that breast meat she saved….