Of Turkey Stock and Brussels Sprouts.
Nov. 29, 2012 6:08 am
Updated: Dec. 6, 2012 5:43 am
One of the topics I threatened to... I mean promised to, write about was the basic skill of making stocks and sauces. I can't think of a better time of year to start the stock making process. Winter is the best time of year to utilize stocks in making
soul warming soups. Consider this post a pre-series presentation. It certainly won't follow the traditional methods of making stock.
Tonight will be one of those cold nights on which turkey noodle soup will be welcomed by my children, who will come home from swim practice and immediately ask, "What's for supper?" Swim season brings out their appetites!
On Thanksgiving evening I broke up the carcass of the bird and jammed it into my Crockpot. I was almost able to cover it with water, but a few bones were sticking up into the bowl of the lid. I didn't put anything else in the pot. Usually, you would put in
a blend of aromatic vegetables and maybe a few peppercorns and a bay leaf, or some springs of thyme. I still had a half gallon of pan drippings from the roasted turkey to deal with. The plan was to combine the drippings with the stock rendered from the carcass.
This worked beautifully! The pan drippings were very good for gravy, but quite strong with sage and rosemary, for a stock. Combining the two rendered a mild, yet flavorful stock. I was surprised at the amount of fat I had to skim from the stock I had made.
Honestly, I was tempted to keep it and try to use it somehow, but the health Nazi, which sits upon my left shoulder these days demanded that I discard this luscious fat. Thomas Paine, who sits upon my right shoulder, in these cases, told me that, "liberty
is meaningless without life. Ditch the liquid gold." I hate it when common sense agrees with the health Nazi!
Consider that a major digression. My apologies. Anywho... the turkey stock sits in the icebox like a great, savory Jell-O (tm). I am going to make some homemade egg noodles to put in the soup. Apart from adding in some sweated onions, carrots and celery, that
will be it. I might chop up a couple of green onions and a small bunch of parsley to add at the last minute. I'll serve it with a green salad on the side dressed in a vinaigrette. I think this will be a nice, light meal after last night's feast.
Up until last night I had never cooked or even tasted a Brussels sprout. I've made a lot of fun of that poor vegetable, but not from direct knowledge. Who would want to stuff a mini cabbage in their maw in the first place? Last night the menu was brined pork
chops, twice baked potatoes and (drum roll please) braised nuggets from hell... I mean Brussels sprouts. The jury is out, but I think the
petit chou will be aquitted.
Here's how I made the Brussles sprouts: I took one pound of sprouts and trimmed them and then soaked in salted water for an hour. I read somewhere on AR that this will cut down on the natural bitterness of the sprout. Then I drained them, cut them in half and
set them aside. In a deep skillet I fried three strips of very thick cut bacon, which had been cut into small strips along the short way. I removed the crisp bacon to a plate lined with paper towel. I removed all but two tablespoons of the bacon fat, added
in one tablespoon of butter (Hint: Duct tape around the head of the Health Nazi works wonders!) and then proceeded to caramelize about a half cup of sliced onion and a couple cloves of sliced garlic. Just as the onions a garlic were beginning to brown, I added
in a quarter cup of pine nuts. Once the onion mixture was nicely browned, I then added in the Brussels sprouts. Once the sprouts developed some color, I then added in a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and about a cup of white wine, a chardonnay in this case.
The kids were almost home and I think I cut the cook time too short. The sprouts only got maybe 15 minutes of heat. I sprinkled the bacon on top to serve. Seasoned with salt and pepper.
The kids gave this a thumbs sideways. They ate it and were polite about it. I take that to mean that they weren't too bad, and there is hope for the sprout in our home if dad can get it right. Should I have steamed the sprouts first? I thought the most offensive
thing about the whole dish was the texture. The flavor was pretty good.
I suppose I must now release the health Nazi as I finish eating my oatmeal, (How do you like your oatmeal?) get the tomatoes in the dehydrator, and get outside to move a ton of mulch from where it is to where She Who Must Be Obeyed wants it.