Turkey Soup

I’ve seen a lot of post-Thanksgiving turkey soups that are pretty straightforward renditions of chicken noodle: carrot, celery, onion, and some noodles.  Maybe rice.  Barley if they’re really adventurous.

I’m not here to insult that tried-and-true recipe, but I didn’t have carrot or celery.  I had parsnips, onions, and chard.  And I’ll put a bowl of mine up against your chicken noodle any old day.

The whole thing started with a slow simmer of the picked-clean turkey frame–a third cup of white balsamic vinegar added to the gallon of water to draw the minerals out of the bones.  Once the stock was cooked down by half, I strained it and set it in the fridge to cool.

From the pile of bones, I managed to glean another cup or so of shredded turkey meat, which I set aside.  Later in the evening, I melted some butter in H’s cast iron skillet and sautéed one very large diced parsnip (it filled the pan).  Then I added a diced onion.

When the veggies started to brown, I added a couple crushed and chopped cloves of garlic, stirred a couple of times, then added about a cup of red wine to deglaze the pan.

After skimming the fat from the top of the cooled turkey stock, I scraped the veggies into the pot with the stock, seasoned with salt and pepper and a splash more wine, and set that to simmer.

Once the parsnips were tender, I added about a cup or so of chopped chard leaves and the reserved turkey meat, stirred them in, turned off the heat, and served.  H and I had three bowls apiece, but there’s still a bit leftover for tomorrow.

Or later tonight.

That vinegar trick makes the best mineral-rich stock–you can tell you’ve got a good one when you put it up to cool and it gets jiggly and gelatinous.  Of course it goes back to a liquid state when you heat it.  DO NOT throw out your stock if it gels!  That’s a GOOD sign!

The vinegar does add a little flavor to the stock–to my mind a good flavor as opposed to the dish-watery tasting stocks you sometimes get with just plain chicken or turkey bones.

I prefer to use white balsamic or rice vinegar because they’re a little sweeter.  The resulting flavor doesn’t really say “vinegar” on your tongue or in your soup.  It says, “Yum!”

Local ingredients: turkey stock and meat, parsnips, chard, onions, garlic.

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