Thursday, October 14, 2010

Turkey, Leek and Potato Soup

I've had a few turkey necks and turkey wings in the freezer for a while.  I bought them because of the price - they were marked down because they were about to expire.  I decided it was finally chilly and autumnal enough to make a big pot of soup with them.  =]  I made this a two-day project, but you can definitely shorten it to one day.

Use whatever turkey (or chicken) parts you've got - I had 2 necks and 2 wings, so use the picture below and imagine an equivalent amount of meat.

Put your parts in the crock pot (just throw them in frozen if need be), if it runs hot like mine you may want to add a bit of water to prevent sticking to the bottom, and cook as long as it takes for the meat to be cooked through (mine was about 5 hours on low).

Let them cool for a few minutes, remove all the meat, and save for later.

Anything that's not meat (bones, cartilage, skin, chunks of fat) goes back into the crock pot.  Add 2 carrots, 2 large stalks of celery, 2 bay leaves, and whatever other dried herbs sound good to you.  If you're not adding a ton of leeks to the final product like I did, add an onion or two as well.  No salt yet.  Cook on low as long as you've got time for - those bones have a lot of minerals in them still that you want in your broth.

Use the finest strainer you have to strain the stock.  If you're not making the soup that day, store it in the refrigerator.  It's fun to see it the next day all thick and jelly-like, so you can feel proud of how much healthier it is than the crap in a box or can that you could have bought at the store.

Now to make the soup!  Slice 3 large leeks and wash well - they tend to gather dirt between the layers.  Chop 2 medium red potatoes into small pieces (if you don't eat potatoes, this would be good without them too).  In a large pot, sautee the leeks and potato in your fat of choice (I used chicken fat).

When the leeks are soft but not browned, add your turkey stock - the whole batch if you can fit it in the pot.  Add seasonings (I used various dried herbs, seasoned salt, pepper, garlic powder... that's about it).  Bring it up to a simmer.  Leave it uncovered - thickening is good.

(At this point I stopped taking pictures for a while.)

Once the potatoes are tender, add your reserved turkey meat.  Bring the soup back to a simmer.

Turn the heat off, and stir in about 1/4 to 1/2 cup heavy cream.  Make sure it's still seasoned well enough, and serve.

If you can't finish off a whole pot of soup before it will go bad, freeze it.  I guarantee it will still be good when it's thawed and reheated.  My tip: freeze individual servings in the containers you'll use to heat/eat it later (like your favorite bowl, or the tupperware you'll bring to work), then pop them out into a plastic freezer bag for storage.  That way your container isn't tied up in the freezer, but you won't need to thaw it ahead of time before reheating it.

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