Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Couple of Quick Post-Thanksgiving Thoughts

When I wished everyone a Happy Thanksgiving, I did not expect to do any cooking.  But, as it turned out, I did quite a bit of cooking over the weekend.  It was no bother, as I love to cook.  And, whenever I cook, I try to take away some lessons or new ideas.  And, after a couple days of cooking on Thursday and Friday nights, I came away with two things that I will keep in mind for the next Thanksgiving.

First, on Thanksgiving night, Clare's father, Frank, had the great idea of using the neck of the turkey, along with the organs (gizzard, liver and heart) to make a quick turkey stock.  I think most people simply throw those parts of the turkey away during the preparation of the turkey for the oven.  However, Frank and I were able to create a great turkey stock that has a lot of potential uses.  We used it to give the stuffing a great turkey flavor, substituting part of the water required by the recipe with the stock, creating the impression that the stuffing had been cooked inside the turkey.

QUICK TURKEY STOCK

Ingredients:
Turkey neck
Turkey innards (heart, liver, gizzard)
4 cups of water
1/2 cup of white wine
2 bay leaves
18 black peppercorns
1 tablespoon of dried thyme
Salt, to taste

Directions:
1. Combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan or pot and bring to a simmer. 

2.  Let the ingredients simmer for at least three or four hours, reducing the liquid by about half.

3.  Strain the liquid and set aside for use in the stuffing or other dishes.

One great benefit from this stock recipe that the meat from the neck, along with the organs, is very tasty, because they have been infused with the flavors from the stock.

Second, on Friday night, a couple of close family friends cooked a turkey for a large group of guests, who were also family and friends.  Their interesting twist to cooking the turkey was that they stuffed the cavity with grapefruit.  Generally, if you are not going to stuff a turkey with traditional stuffing, you need to add something in the cavity to prevent the turkey (especially the turkey breasts) from drying out during the cooking process.  I had heard of using oranges, lemons or limes to stuff the cavity, but never thought of using grapefruit.  What I can say is that the turkey was definitely moist.

Well, those are the quick culinary thoughts that I took from this past weekend.  I am very grateful to everyone who opened their homes for two great evenings, complete with delicious dinners and great times with family and friends. 

ENJOY!

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