This is the time of year that I crave soup; a giant vat of it to swim in on mornings like today when the steering wheel felt like a circular icicle. That would have been splendid.
Soup is also usually pretty cheap to make. I’m going to chronicle a few different types of recipes in the coming weeks, but for today, I’m making a basic turkey soup. We’ve already had Thansgiving in Canada, but I know that my neighbours to the south will be celebrating in a few weeks. This is a great way to get rid of left overs.
The best soup always uses a home-made stock. And the turkey carcass is perfect and free at this point, so why not? After dinner, I either throw it in the freezer, or into my largest stock pot with cool water, not hot. I then add some salt, pepper and bay leaves. I bring it to the boil, then cover and drop to a simmer for a few hours. I then let it cool and pop it in the fridge overnight. This will let the fat rise to the surface and cool it all down so you don’t burn the shit out of your hands when you remove the bones. If you have done it right, it should actually look like a disgusting flavour of Jello. Fun Fact: gelatin (which makes Jello) comes from bones from various animals or pig skin. Think of that next time you are eating some of the jiggly stuff.
Anyway, I usually pass the contents of the cooled pot through a colander or sieve, which gets out almost all of the bones. Now here comes the pain in the ass part: this step also gets out all of the delicious meat. So you will need to take the time to pull the meat from the bones. If I’m lazy or don’t have a turkey carcass, I can usually get frozen turkey legs for cheap and I use them. There is only one main bone and a few sinew bits, but it’s much easier to get all of the bones out.
Now you’ve got the stock and the meat. Next you add the aromatics. This varies by region, but the basics are onion, carrot and celery. In my province, we sometimes skip the celery. Then you can either add other veggies or noodles. Contrary to popular belief, I’m not a member of the soup police. Do whatever you want. Just make sure that you don’t let it boil dry. That is not soup. That is mang. And no one likes mang.
Anyway, a traditional soup in my region for turkey is to add carrots, onions, and turnip (which is actually rutabaga, but apparently everyone has misidentified it for a few hundred years). Now there is some controversy. And soup controversy is right up there with abortion and affirmative action at times. Some people add potatoes, some say its sacrilege. Some also like the soup clear, where others like red soup. You can make it red by adding a can of tomatoes or ketchup. I know it sounds gross, but you only add a bit and it adds a bit of sweetness which is nice. I am also in the potato camp. And it’s my fucking soup, so if I want to add a rock from the side of the highway, I will. Rocks happen to be high in fibre.
I also like to add savoury, which is commonly used in stuffing here (which we call dressing, even though it is officially a stuffing as it usually goes in the bird). Anyway, if you wanted to add some herbs like you usually use in your stuffing, that would be nice. Just be aware that if using sage, it’s pretty strong. Season it in batches so your soup doesn’t taste like bug spray. Let it simmer until everything is cooked and delicious. If you have to crack open a can or container of stock, go ahead. Just try to use the low sodium variety.
And that is that. That’s an easy, cheap, tasty, pretty healthy pot of soup. I usually freeze a bunch of it in small batches for lunches or lazy suppers. This is probably the worst recipe ever on this blog as it’s basically “huck some stuff in a pot and simmer until yummy”, but that is basically what soup is. Just make sure you add enough salt. Especially if you add rice, potatoes or noodles. Those fuckers eat up salt. But do it in batches, again, so it’s not overseasoned.
And voila. Soup that didn’t come from a red and white can. I didn’t take pictures of the soup before I froze it in small containers for lunch/dinner, and I didn’t think you’d want to see a picture of the freezer full of soup, goulash, chilli and ice cream, so you’ll have to use your imaginations, unless they’ve been crushed by working in a cubicle farm like me. If it has, make some soup of your own! I do plan on making some more for the next installment of The Soup Diaries, probably of the creamed variety.
Stay tuned! The anticipation is too much!