A Great Day

… and a soup day

I had a great day today.
When I got up at 6:30 to make coffee, the temperature was 46°F, but it was snowing. I went back to bed as usual, and when I got up for good at 7:30, the temperature had dropped to 24°F and it was snowing hard, but with no wind.

6:50am I took this to show Carol in case the snow went away before she got up.

It snowed on until noon, first those tiny flakes, then bigger, fluffy ones. I measured four inches.

12:30pm The snow did not go away.

I love fresh snow. It is so pretty and everything is silent and still.

Won’t be going out today except to shovel, so I got busy in the warm indoors.

Made a Christmas gift for brother Wendell. It’s pretty cool, but I won’t disclose it here. That took the morning, because it required some thought and research.

Then I turned my attention to Turkey Barley Soup. It’s so good, that it can become a turkey leftover tradition. There is something very satisfying about making a hearty soup on a cold and snowy day.

Soup is an assembly process and it is like T’ai Chi to me to move around the kitchen, collecting vegetables and chopping, assembling the ingredients, stirring the big pot.

The big pot of vegetables. I like it because it’s wide and makes for easy stirring.

Lovely garlic from the spring farmers market

I especially liked working with the garlic that I got at the Farmers Market in the spring and hung in the kitchen to dry. It’s beautiful garlic and a joy to peel and smash.

The shopping was interesting. A key ingredient of the soup is pearl barley… not something you find just anywhere. Carol happened to be in Trader Joe’s — although we don’t usually shop there except for my favorite salted peanuts — and she got barley, but it is “ten minute barley.” Not the same, we cook the barley for this soup an hour or more.

On another day, we were in Raley’s and I cruised the rice and grain aisle. Astonishingly, there were three women with carts and me with no cart in that aisle all at once. Since I needed to peruse the shelves, I stood aside and mentioned I was looking for pearl barley. “I’m looking for pearl barley, too,” said a woman about my age. She found it first and offered me a package.

“You must be making Turkey Barley Soup,” I said, since I got the recipe last Thanksgiving from the Reno Gazette Journal.

“Yes,” she said, “I am.”

The recipe with plenty of pictures is in last year’s post, Turkey Left Over, but I made some modifications and clarifications, so I will repeat it here.

Based on an amalgamation of recipes and making stock much of my cooking life.
Yield, about 8 cups.

In a large stockpot, place Turkey carcass, and cover with water. When the water is nearly boiling, remove the pot from heat and pour off the water. (This takes care of the blood and scummy stuff so you don’t have to skim much.)
Cover the turkey carcass again with cold water, about 12 cups. Heat to a near simmer and add 2 each carrots and celery stalks; 1 onion, quartered; 1/2 lemon, rinsed and quartered; some peppercorns, a bay leaf; an herb bouquet. Cook uncovered at a bare simmer for about 2 1/2 hours. Turn off the heat and let stand for an hour or so. Remove meaty bones, strain the stock and refrigerate overnight.
The next morning, skim any fat from the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to 8 cups.

I borrowed this method from Tom Colicchio, in his book Think Like a Chef.
Nancy Horn does her stock in the oven (her recipe is below).

Nancy Horn of Dish Cafe and Catering Co.
Yield, about 3 quarts soup.
This soup is all about barley absorbing turkey broth, so make your own broth for the best soup. Store bought canned broth just doesn’t cut it, in this case.

Place a dutch oven (my 6Q white Le Creuset) on the stove over medium high heat. Add 1 Tbsp each of butter and olive oil. Peel and chop 3 carrots, 3 celery stalks, 2 large leeks (tender parts), 1 large yellow onion. Add to pot, along with 1 bay leaf. Stir and season with salt/pepper mixture and sauté until vegetables are softened and beginning to brown around edges. [Takes about an hour to this point.]
Peel and smash 4 cloves garlic; add to pot and cook a minute. Add 1 cup dry white wine and stir to deglaze the pot. Simmer to reduce wine by half.
Add 8 cups turkey stock, bring to a simmer and add 1 cup pearl barley and 3 sprigs thyme. Stir well to incorporate. Simmer, covered, stirring every now and then until barley is tender, about 1 hour.
Chop and stir in 1 bunch Italian Parsley and 2 cups shredded cooked turkey. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Adjust amount of stock for brothyness. Serve with Romano or Parmesan cheese.

I use a salt/pepper mixture of 2 parts kosher salt, 1 part coarsely ground pepper.
Instead of parsley I used a small, young and tender bunch of Swiss chard,
torn in pieces and stems removed. (At our winter Garden Shop Farmers Market there’s a guy that grows hydroponic vegetables in a cold frame. Young, tender Swiss Chard year ’round.)

That, my friends, is yummy soup. Even better the next day for lunch.

TURKEY STOCK – Oven Method
Nancy Horn of Dish Cafe and Catering Co.
Yield, about 6 quarts.

Preheat Oven to 225°F.
In a large stockpot, place Turkey carcass, 4 each carrots and celery stalks; 2 onions, quartered, unpeeled; 1 lemon, rinsed and quartered; 6 peppercorns, 3 bay leaves; an herb bouquet. Cover with cold water. Cover and place in oven for 12 hours.
Remove from oven, remove solids and strain. Let stand for at least an hour and skim or otherwise remove fat.

2 thoughts on “A Great Day

  1. We made some AWESOME turkey/rice soup from the carcass and a mess of veggies and such. Simmered for hours and it was wonderful. I am confident that your soup was also impressive. Enjoy.


  2. My favorite is turkey vegetable rice, although I’ve been know to substitute noodles of some variety just for a change.

    Now that we are just two and one of us doesn’t favor soup, I sometimes turn the turkey carcass over to my son who learned to cook early in life since his mom worked. All three of my children are the main chefs in their households.


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