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Offline Neil Obstat

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To Die For Turkey Soup
« on: November 23, 2018, 01:54:15 AM »
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  • .
    You know that turkey skeleton you always end up with when Thanksgiving Day is over? 
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    Don't throw it away unceremoniously!
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    Take all the bones, with stubborn meat attached, and add about a half gallon or more of water (a gallon for birds over 25 lbs) in a large stock pot.
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    And the magic ingredient: one tablespoon of Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar with the Mother, for bones from each 16 pounds of turkey.
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    Bring it to a boil, stirring occasionally.
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    Add whole garlic cloves as desired, some say the more the merrier.
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    Slice or chop two or more carrots, and two or more stalks of celery, add to pot.
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    Throw in two or more whole Bay leaves.
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    A pinch of Spanish saffron is recommended, but the stuff is really expensive. (One pinch costs about $2, since a 0.02 oz jar goes for $7)
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    After a couple of hours, the meat will be falling off the bones.
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    The thicker leg bones can be cut open to extract the bone marrow, which adds a lot of flavor to the soup.
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    Picking out the bones is a bit tedious, but well worth the effort! The soup you end up with is second to none for turkey soup.
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    If you don't use enough water, the soup will jell up overnight in the fridge into a solid mass. 
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    If you can do so, this is a good time to scrape off excess fat on the top, if you can. The fat tends to mix in and not float on top too well.
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    But not to worry about the solid mass, you can spoon out a portion and heat it up, to find it melts into a luscious, chunky, thick soup.
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    You can get about $20 worth of great soup out of a carcass that you were going to throw away otherwise.
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    If you could even find a restaurant that serves this soup, 10 servings would cost you $80.
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    Except for the saffron, the other ingredients all add up to about 2 or 3 dollars.
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    Offline TKGS

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    Re: To Die For Turkey Soup
    « Reply #1 on: November 23, 2018, 08:52:41 AM »
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  • Do you break up the garlic cloves or will the garlic cloves break up in the boiling bath?


    Offline Neil Obstat

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    Re: To Die For Turkey Soup
    « Reply #2 on: November 23, 2018, 12:38:11 PM »
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  • .
    Do you break up the garlic cloves or will the garlic cloves break up in the boiling bath?
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    That's a great question!
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    I just throw the whole cloves in. I peel the dry onion-skin off first, by twisting the clove in between my fingers, to crack the skin off (must have dry, clean hands). I'm convinced whole cloves have the same effect, since after the cooking is done, you can remove the cooked garlic cloves and eat them straight, and all their powerful flavor has been leeched out. The cooked cloves taste has a garlic aspect, but it's sort of like the pre-crushed-garlic-in-a-jar, which has almost no flavor at all! In order to know what fresh garlic tastes like, you have to take a whole, fresh clove and BITE IT, and then CHEW IT. Brace yourself! Some say they're not able to do that. Others eat garlic cloves like candy.
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    The whole cloves don't "break up" in the boiling bath. They remain intact, but their flavor nonetheless is leeched out.
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    Now, there is a question of flavor activation, and I don't know what to make of that. There might be something to do with the garlic oil coming in contact with oxygen in the air, or whatever. When you use say a garlic clove crusher (which is a wonderful device!) the crushed garlic meat oozes out through the tiny holes, and this wonderful goo is just the thing you need to induce that unique garlic flavor into whatever-it-is that you're preparing (it works marvels on pasta). So if you're a purist, you might like to use your crusher, or dice the cloves with a chef's knife. Careful with the fingers!
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    I have a friend from Italy, who told me that when you take a garlic clove and squeeze it with the side of a large knife against your chopping block, from the moment that the clove pops open (some do this to remove the skin) you have just 10 minutes until the garlic reaches its peak flavor. You can verify this claim by comparing the taste of your freshly crushed garlic to the taste of some crushed-garlic-in-a-jar that you can buy at the market. I have found that you have to use about 10 times as much of the pre-crushed garlic to get anything like a similar flavor. But in the end, your cooking won't have that same zing to it that you get with freshly-crushed garlic cloves. The jar version has long since passed its peak flavor, even by the time the jar gets shipped to market.
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    As for the "boiling bath" -- I've heard that to really make great soup, you shouldn't let it BOIL. 
    But simmer it slowly, watching carefully to reduce the heat when the liquid begins to bubble. 
    That's what I've heard, but I've found that I don't have the diligence necessary to make it happen.
    I get bored standing there, thinking, "A watched pot never boils."
    There's always something else I want to do while the pot does its cooking, and when I come back to check on it, it's already boiling!
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    Offline Neil Obstat

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    Re: To Die For Turkey Soup
    « Reply #3 on: November 23, 2018, 01:15:51 PM »
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  • .
    I've been hearing snyde attitudes on the radio, bemoaning the boredom of eating "dry turkey meat" and getting tired of turkey.
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    Then there is the fact that food inspectors actually come down hard on food service organizations that have less-than-presentable food.
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    They say the food on presentation has to be something that people would want to eat.
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    Caterers face this constantly, when a full tray is halfway dished out, it's no longer "presentable" so the attendants whisk it away from the buffet.
         I suspect they take it into the kitchen where they re-arrange it into a clean tray so it looks like a full tray.
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    It seems to me that the problem is, people are habituated with having separate items on their plate:
         The turkey meat goes here, the cranberries go there, the mashed potatoes over here, the salad in this corner, turkey dressing in that cor
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    The turkey soup I describe in the OP is all-in-one kind of soup, but it's just turkey meat, carrots and celery.
         But it's so much more than just "dry" meat, because it's bursting with flavor.
         The "dry" meat is boring because it's missing the nutrients extracted from the bones that the vinegar accomplishes.
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    It seems to me that half the flavor in this soup comes from the turkey meat and the other half comes from everything else.
         And a good part of the "everything else" is the gelatin from the bones and cartilage, especially the bone MARROW.
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    I honestly believe I could eat this soup every day for a month and not get tired of it, it's that good!
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    BTW if you really want to abstain from meat on Friday (today) you can spend the day cooking this soup, and not have any until tomorrow.
    It's better the second day, anyway, after the flavors have a chance to blend.

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    Offline jvk

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    Re: To Die For Turkey Soup
    « Reply #4 on: November 23, 2018, 09:04:27 PM »
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  • Another hint to add flavor to soup?  After straining broth, continue simmering it until it reduces by about 1/4 to 1/2.  Obviously, the more you reduce, the stronger the flavor.  Did that with my beef bone broth (accidentally...I just couldn't get around to canning it until after kids were in bed) once, and it was the best I'd ever made.  

    Ooooh!  And I almost forgot!  If you love the garlic flavor, try crushing a garlic clove in your bowl, and THEN adding the soup.  With a dash of cayenne pepper, this makes the BEST chicken soup ever.  I make it this way when we have colds, and it really helps knock out the sore throat for a few hours. I don't see why you couldn't do that with turkey as well.


    Offline Nadir

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    Re: To Die For Turkey Soup
    « Reply #5 on: November 23, 2018, 10:48:01 PM »
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  • I have often bought chicken carcasses from the butcher and followed Neil's recipe, but always with onion, Italian herb mix and Morrocan spice mix,

    Offline Neil Obstat

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    Re: To Die For Turkey Soup
    « Reply #6 on: November 24, 2018, 03:10:44 AM »
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  • I have often bought chicken carcasses from the butcher and followed Neil's recipe, but always with onion, Italian herb mix and Morrocan spice mix,
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    You made the butcher's day, no doubt. Chicken carcasses are probably hard to sell -- you can't put them in the deli case. 
    How would a butcher inform customers that he has some chicken carcasses for sale? He'd have to wait for a customer to ask!
    Imagine an ad in the newspaper, picture of a chicken carcass with the words, "SPECIAL -- HURRY BEFORE THEY'RE GONE!" 
    As if there won't be more tomorrow, where those came from. 
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    Offline Nadir

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    Re: To Die For Turkey Soup
    « Reply #7 on: November 24, 2018, 04:03:43 AM »
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  • .
    You made the butcher's day, no doubt. Chicken carcasses are probably hard to sell -- you can't put them in the deli case.
    How would a butcher inform customers that he has some chicken carcasses for sale? He'd have to wait for a customer to ask!
    Imagine an ad in the newspaper, picture of a chicken carcass with the words, "SPECIAL -- HURRY BEFORE THEY'RE GONE!"
    As if there won't be more tomorrow, where those came from.
    No! The chicken carcasses are sold from display cabinet in the supermarket, just like chicken livers and necks.  


    Offline TKGS

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    Re: To Die For Turkey Soup
    « Reply #8 on: November 24, 2018, 07:21:21 AM »
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  • Do you think adding curry to the soup would be an enhancement?

    Offline Neil Obstat

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    Re: To Die For Turkey Soup
    « Reply #9 on: November 24, 2018, 10:52:54 AM »
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  • Do you think adding curry to the soup would be an enhancement?
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    Come to think of it, I have used a little curry. 
    That's a unique spice that likes to dominate the overall flavor, so either use it sparingly, or use lots of it, INSTEAD of other spices. 
    Then you'll have curry turkey soup, which is pretty good.
    It seems to me that lots of curry works better on chicken, but to each his own.
    Maybe you can find a custom balance of other spices that goes well with curry.
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    I would expect if you ask 10 expert chefs about how to use curry you'll get 10 different answers.
    From my experience curry chicken is a big time favorite in Ireland.
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    Offline Neil Obstat

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    Re: To Die For Turkey Soup
    « Reply #10 on: November 24, 2018, 12:06:09 PM »
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  • Mixing cuisines                                           
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    They say "you shouldn't mix cuisines." 
    If you're going to have an Italian meal, then don't confuse it with Mexican or German side dishes. Etc.
    I'm not sure which nationality curry is, but certain spices work well with certain cuisines and others don't.
    Some spices A and B work against each other, making their particular effects cancel out, so that's not productive.
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    I went to Mimi's Cafe recently (French style, mainly) and ordered hors d'oeuvre of "guacamole, please."
    Now, avocados are an all-time favorite, but for guacamole, diced Serrano chilies are almost essential, plus cilantro and some onion. 
    Mimi's did use onion --- but they did not use any Serranos, nor did they use cilantro. 
    Parsley DOES NOT make a cilantro substitute!
    Instead of Serranos, it was some kind of very mild chili, perhaps pimento -- they appeared like the pimentos used in potato salad for color.
    I would never make guacamole using pimentos, instead of Jalapenos or Serranos!
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    So the guacamole wasn't spicy AT ALL, which was surprising, but not in a good way.
    They served it with tortilla chips. Okay, now we're mixing cuisines! Tortilla chips are not French;  POTATO chips are French (French fries).
    But French fries and guacamole isn't the right combination. Tortilla chips and guacamole IS. So that part they got right.
    I didn't get far before I realized I was craving salsa, so I asked for some salsa, and it took about 15 minutes to arrive.
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    I said, "You brought us guacamole and chips, but there ought to be salsa, too." The waitress stared at me like I was from Mars.
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    Perhaps they had to run out to the market to get some, or couldn't find it: 15 minutes is an eternity waiting for salsa!
    I suppose it serves me right for expecting a Mexican side dish at a French restaurant. But guacamole was printed on their menu.
    Come to think of it, guacamole is an appetizer, not an hors d'oeuvre.
    What they brought for "salsa" was indistinguishable from La Victoria Mild out of a can. No cilantro. No spiciness.
    And to top it off, the waitress placed it right under my nose, saying, "Here's your salsa," as if it needed an introduction. Weird.
    By then we were all ready done with the guacamole AND the chips. Lucky for them I like salsa all by itself.
    So the bottom line is, if you want real Mexican guacamole, don't go to a French restaurant. 
    They don't know what cilantro or Serrano chilies are.
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    Offline Neil Obstat

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    Re: To Die For Turkey Soup
    « Reply #11 on: November 24, 2018, 12:13:05 PM »
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  • .
    No! The chicken carcasses are sold from display cabinet in the supermarket, just like chicken livers and necks.  
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    I have to admit, I've never seen any of those items in a "display cabinet in the supermarket." I would suppose you mean refrigerated.
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    Usually display cabinets are not refrigerated. China closets, curio cases, kitchen cabinets with glass panel doors -- no refrigeration.
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    Offline Neil Obstat

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    Re: To Die For Turkey Soup
    « Reply #12 on: November 24, 2018, 12:27:37 PM »
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  • .
    After straining broth...
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    At what point do you strain the broth? 
    That would remove the meat, cartilage, small bones, everything that isn't liquid.
    The bones release their nutrients very slowly, so the vinegar takes at least 2 hours, maybe 3 or 4 to extract the gelatin and calcium and stuff. 
    I've been afraid of letting too much water evaporate, so I ADD some after a couple of hours.
    But if I add too much the soup gets weaker. 
    This is always a learning process. The work of a chef is never done! 
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    Offline Neil Obstat

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    Re: To Die For Turkey Soup
    « Reply #13 on: November 24, 2018, 12:33:44 PM »
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  • .
    ... onion, Italian herb mix and Morrocan spice mix, ...
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    What is Moroccan spice mix?  The onion and Italian herb sounds interesting but I have no idea what Moroccan is. Is it like falafel spices?
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    Offline Nadir

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    Re: To Die For Turkey Soup
    « Reply #14 on: November 24, 2018, 03:02:57 PM »
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  • .
    What is Moroccan spice mix?  The onion and Italian herb sounds interesting but I have no idea what Moroccan is. Is it like falafel spices?
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    The Moroccan spice mix is my own creation, which I use fairly often. I don't know what falafel spices are. Neither do I know what cilantro or Serrano chilies are.
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    The ingredients of my mix are turmeric, cumin, coriander, ginger, cinnamon, ground chilli, black pepper, nutmeg, salt, ground cloves.
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    Yes, the chicken carcasses, which are labeled "chicken frames", are displayed in a refrigerated display "wadjacallit".

     

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