Friday, December 5, 2008

A leftover-turkey triumph

I loathe turkey soup, with those slimy little noodles and suspicious bits of last-ditch poultry from which you hope someone removed the little bones and gristle.

Having already wrestled the turkey carcass several times (raw, brined, roasted, and refrigerated) I was damned if I was going to go a final round with the dregs before my conscience let me dump it. And I was determined not to fill the space the turkey had hogged in the refrigerator with a huge pot of turkey soup that no one wanted to eat and that I would dump a few days later.

So, this year I simply took the last of the palatable meat off the bird, dumped the fatty skin, bones and weird stuff, and combined the shredded meat with the (intense and salty) skimmed pan drippings, and water (chicken broth could be used instead of the drippings and water). Once that soup base was simmering, I added a half cup of wild rice. When the wild rice had cooked, I turned up the heat and then slowly stirred in one-third cup of a fine corn meal (polenta), let it bubble for a moment, and then turned down the heat and let it cook slowly. The result was stew-like. Served with a sprinkling of currants and toasted pine nuts, it was delicious.


Michelle De Lude said...

I love anything turkey, including turkey soup, although I've never made it with noodles. I always made it with veggies and spiced it with a little red-pepper sauce or powder -- I went for the spicy, where you've gone for the sweet. I've never cooked with polenta. Hmm...

The Mysterious Traveler said...

Polenta works well with dark, flavorful meats (rabbit, chicken thighs, turkey-based sausages) so I immediately thought of it for the turkey. It did the trick for me, and the leftover turkey meat went to good use.