Smoked Turkey Leg Soup and other things
Wow. So, October was really busy. I put in a lot of long hours at work, but I designed, manufactured, and installed an exhibit at work and it is finally done! Well, it went up Sunday. I also purchased and organized the food for the opening reception we had to celebrate. Which was super fun. BUT, I also spent the last few weeks of October getting sick from the boy (luckily for both of us, it was relatively short-lived), doing lots of car maintenance on both our cars, and driving excessively to and from his parents, school, and my job. I also didn’t get to cook much, but now that the exhibit is done with, I’m finding time again! I’m also trying to be frugal, especially since my freezer is full of meat and my cupboards full of dried stuff (beans, peas, pasta, etc.) and my crisper is usually full of fresh veggies, and cooking at home.
Tonight I made smoked turkey and vegetable soup, which was kind of amazing. The boy and I both had the day off, and I thought I could simmer it all day, but we were in and out so much today, doing laundry, hitting our favorite antique store, The Hidden Barn, in search of reasonably priced and small hutches for more storage, viewing a cottage for rent (way too small and with even less storage than our current apt., alas), and shopping at Adam’s and Target, that it simmered off and on several times. Here’s the recipe:
Smoked Turkey and Vegetable Soup:
1 smoked turkey leg
3-4 small red potatoes, diced
2 large carrots, sliced
1/2 medium yellow onion. thinly sliced
6-8 leaves green leaf lettuce (I used butter lettuce), washed & coarsely torn or chopped
double pinch salt (or to taste)
3 or so quarts water
Put water in a 4 quart or larger stock pot. Add turkey leg (if you use a 4 quart stockpot, like I did, the leg will probably stick out, that’s okay, just prop the lid up on it) and simmer until water has turned to a lightly golden broth (complete with delicious fat globules!). Turn off heat. Remove turkey leg from broth and let cool, then remove meat from bone – taking care to remove tendons and the long, thin bones – and tear/shred about half of it and put back into pot (save the other half for another use, like more soup or a pasta dish). Return stockpot to heat and add diced potatoes, carrots, onion, lettuce, and salt. Bring to a boil then let simmer until potatoes are tender. Serve with peasant bread for dipping in the broth.
See how easy this is? And it’s sooooo good! The turkey leg gives the broth a slightly smoky, almost chicken-broth-like flavor, particularly after the vegetable additions. You could add beans or a grain (like barley or rice) to this soup or serve it over cheesy polenta, but I like it better with a big hunk of fresh bread. You could also substitute stronger-tasting greens (like kale, collards, or spinach), but I really like the lettuce. It adds color without overpowering the flavor at all and cooks up more tender (and less chewy) than the tougher greens. It still tastes green, but the flavor is subtle, unlike even spinach.
I’m finding that soup is remarkably easy for me to make. Alas, I usually make a lot of it, so there are always leftovers that don’t always get eaten with just the two of us.
My guitarist friend Paul is moving to Arizona for the winter and wants to have one last big huzzah/jam session with all his local musician friends. I said a long time ago that I would cook for it if he wanted. Well, he wants. : ) So I’ve been brainstorming easy and cheap things to make in quantity. I’ve come up with: creamy baked potato soup, Vanessa’s rolls, baked pasta, scalloped potatoes with ham, smoked turkey & vegetable soup, roasted root vegetables with pork loin and fruit sauce (a little much, perhaps, but would be delicious), apple sauce, etc. Of course, I’m not going to do all of that, but a few things, perhaps. We’ll see what Paul wants.
I bought some gorgeous, local carrots today at Adam’s. Think I want to roast them with a honey/cider or honey/garlic glaze. They would go nicely with roast chicken or pork.
I’ve also been wanting to use the red wheat bulghur I bought, but can’t seem to use it in any savory recipes. So I think I’m going to cook it in some apple cider and a little maple syrup with dried fruit and apples and make a sweet, porridge-y dessert/breakfast. Not tomorrow, though. Tomorrow will be another long day of work from 8:30-2, then the long haul up north for class from 7-9, not including the long haul back south (I usually get home around 10:45) and the early wake-up call on Thursday. *sigh* I can’t wait until school tours are over with. Just two more weeks after this!
Speaking of, I should probably get to bed so I can get up early and go to work! Just wanted to update, since I’ve been silent for a while.