Friday, December 21, 2007

Turkey-Rice Soup with Garden Vegetables

I get an almost sinister sort of satisfaction pulling carrots from my garden four days before Christmas. Most of the farmers markets are closed. The community gardens are in a deep slumber. Yet I am still harvesting.

Okay, that doesn't make me a genius--maybe just late. My carrot bed, of course, is getting smaller and smaller. I was late planting my rutabagas and turnips, but they seem to be getting bigger despite overnight termperatures below freezing. And I still have beets, potatoes and lots of Swiss chard. Until the first really deep freeze, that is.

The reason I am pulling carrots is for a turkey soup. I still have a couple of pounds of turkey meat from Thanksgiving, recently removed from the freezer and thawed. This also is a good time to clean out the crisper drawer, where I keep partially used onions, half a bunch of celery, etc. I also have a stray bag of Basmati brown rice staring down at me from the pantry.

And in the cold room are two 8-cup containers of brown turkey stock, the result of recently roasting bone-in turkey breasts on a bed of onion, carrot, celery, garlic, thyme. The basic architecture of a soup is beginning to take shape.

Isn't that the original point of making soup, to use all the leftovers in the kitchen?

In one pot I am cooking 1 cup Basmati brown rice with 2 cups brown turkey stock. In another large, heavy Dutch oven I am sauteeing 1/2 red onion and 1/2 yellow onion, diced medium, about 4 celery stalks, peeled and cut on the diagonal, and 3 carrots, peeled and diced medium. I dumped all this into the pot after heating about 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil. Salt the vegetables liberally (about 1 teaspoon coarse salt) to draw out the juices. Simmer until the onions are soft, about 8 minutes.

Add 8 cups stock to the vegetables, bring up the heat and cook just a few minutes, or until all of the vegetables are tender to your liking. When the rice has finished cooking (when all the stock is absorbed, or add a little more stock if it runs dry), add that to the soup pot as well. Finally, add about 3 cups turkey meat (white and dark would be nice) cut into bite-size pieces.

If the soup is too thick, just add some more stock and adjust the seasonings.

We will have some of this soup for dinner. It would be delicious with sweet potato biscuits. I'll also freeze some for later and to put in client lunches.


The Baklava Queen said...

One year I dug up the last of my carrots on Christmas Eve... threw some into the soup pot and pickled the rest. Never had carrots taste so good before!

ramona said...

I defrosted a quart of my chicken stock yesterday and added diced carrots, celery and a handfull of egg noodles I bought at the Arlington farmers market.
Soon it'll be time for more stock making. I'm thinking turkey stock, and veal stock ;-)

Tanya said...

That's amazing!
How long has your garden lasted in past years?

Ed Bruske said...

Jennifer, I want to know more about your pickled carrots.

Ramona, we're running out of freezer space. We are seriously thinking about getting a chest freezer, all the better to store that soup, the stock, the bulk meat...

Tanya, last year I had a plastic tunnel in the garden and we had fresh lettuce all through the winter, as well as broccoli in the spring. But I didn't get around to it this year. A really deep freeze will knock back just about everything in the garden. We'll see...