Thursday, November 30, 2006

How I Used Up Thanksgiving Leftovers

In our parish, we get a dispensation from fasting to eat turkey on Thanksgiving, so I did cook a turkey breast. We ate it for a couple of days, but then I froze what remained for use another time. Its doubled wrapped and bagged, so it should be fine for about 6 weeks, I think.

I did make the traditional turkey soup from the breast bones. Before I went to bed, into my 5 quart crockpot I placed the breast carcass, one celery rib, one carrot, one unpeeled onion, about 2 garlic cloves, 1 tsp of salt, a few peppercorns, 2 bay leaves, a splash of white wine and a splash of lemon juice, and let it rip until dinner time the next day, about 5 pm, so it cooked for about 19 hours on low. I strained all the solids out and if there had been fat floating on top, I would have skimmed that, but there was none. Then I chopped an onion, two carrots and one celery rib, 1 garlic clove, added in about 1 Tbs of parsley and of herbes de provence, and let it simmer hard until the veggies were cooked, about 15 minutes. When I tasted it, salt was needed so I added some to taste. Then I chopped up about 1 1/2 cups of turkey meat and threw in a few handfuls of pasta (I used about 6 oz of a bag of mixed shapes and colors). In about 10 minutes, it was done - thick and delicious. We ate that for a couple of days and then I put the rest in the freezer to take to work in January for lunch.

Can I say that the brussels sprouts didn't last for even 24 hours? I heard the dog whining the morning after Thanksgiving and when I went to check on him, he was begging for food handouts from dear daughter, who was scarfing up the last few sprouts cold from the fridge. For breakfast. At 8 am. I think she liked them. (PS: Poor Poochie received exactly ZERO handouts.)

The potatoes were very yummy, hot or cold, and we ate them sort of like snacks. I had originally thought that I'd have a repeat of the entire Thanksgiving dinner, turkey and all the veggies, at least once over the weekend, but there were no sprouts or potatoes, so we ended up not doing that.

What was leftover ended up being the dressing and the maple glazed sweet potatoes. DD was so focussed on eating the sprouts, potatoes and turkey, that she bypassed both of these. I ate up the remaining dressing with some homemade fresh cranberry sauce for lunch, on Saturday, I think.

Dear daughter went absolutely crazy over the pumpkin panna cotta and hid them all over the fridge. I made eight small ones and I got to eat two. You do the math. I've got a photo and will post the recipe soon.

The real problem was the sweet potatoes. They stared back woefully at me every time I opened the fridge until Monday night. I fought a chest cold all weekend, and by the time I got home from work on Monday, all I really wanted was some hot turkey soup, but I had frozen it and returned to the fast. Drat! But there were the sweet potatoes, the lonely, unloved sweet potatoes, calling to me in the fridge, so I decided to make some kind of spicy soup with them. Here in Savannah, peanut soup is very popular among the old timers, so that's what I did. It was yummy!

Yam and Peanut Soup
1 med onion, chopped coarsely
4 cloves garlic, minced
1" piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1 Tbs chili powder
1 Tbs ground cumin
1 Tbs ground coriander seed
4 cups vegetable (or chicken) stock
2 cooked sweet potatoes without any skins (I used the leftovers)
1/3 C peanut butter (I used crunchy, so I added an extra dollop)
salt and pepper to taste

Saute the onions and garlic in a tiny bit of peanut oil until soft. Add in the ginger, chili, coriander and cumin and saute for a minute or two, then dump in the stock. Let it simmer until the onions and ginger are very soft, about 15 minutes. Chop the sweet potatoes and add in, letting it simmer for about 5 more minutes until they are heated through and very soft. Taste for salt and pepper - I added in about 1 tsp of salt, and two good shakes each of white pepper, black pepper and cayenne. Taste again - I wanted it a little spicier, so added in a good squirt or two of my favorite hot sauce, Sriracha. Take off the heat and stir in the peanut butter until it melts. Next, transfer the solids, along with some of the liquids to a blender or food processor and puree. Mix the puree back into the remaining liquid in the pan, gently reheat if necessary, but do not let boil. Now, dig in and scarf it up!

I think the soup would be delicious with the addition of a can of tomatoes and some garam masala, and garnished with some chopped cilantro stirred in for flavor as well as color. I think I'd even enjoy some milk or cream stirred in as well.

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