April 5, 2004

Thanksgiving, Revisited

Originally, I told my mom that I wouldn't be able to make Easter Brunch at her house. It's a 2+ hour drive and on the allocated Crim outlining weekend.

But then I talked to my more-or-less sister-in-law and mother of my niece. Turns out, in the last 3 months, my adorable niece has learned to talk pretty damn well and can now count to ten. She's 2 years and 2 months. Brilliant! Also turns out that when I missed my sister's birthday dinner for moot court arguments, my niece specifically asked for me by her adorable mispronunciation of my name. I've never heard her say my name.

Roughly the same logic that made me offer our new house and my cooking skills for Thanksgiving kicked in when my sister-in-law asked me if I'd be at Easter Brunch. This time it's a 2-year-old and not 80+ year-olds, but same concept. Life is too short to miss this sh*t. I will work myself to death this week in order to be at my mother's on Easter and watch my niece find those hidden eggs. Also, if she can call me by my adorably mispronounced name, that would be nice.

Following in the Turkey-Day theme, I decided to thaw out the turkey broth I made from the turkey carcass and make minestrone tonight. Mmmm.... E and I agree, turkey minestrone several months later is a fabulous way to remind ourselves of thanksgiving. I think it may have to become a tradition. Towards that end, I'll share the knowledge/experimental success with any of you who are interested

Turkey Broth, in a huge stew/soup pot:
1. Sautee one diced onion and 5 cloves of garlic in a splash of olive oil for 5 minutes.
2. Add 1 diced carrot, 1 diced yellow onion, 3 diced celery stalks, 2 cups dry red wine, the turkey carcass, turkey neck and giblets and cover with water. Add spices to taste (oregano, basil, thyme, lemon pepper, salt, whatever...)
3. Cover with an escape for the gas and boil (not vigorously) for 2 hours. Add water to keep everything covered.
4. Remove carcass and strain liquid into receptacles for freezing. Note: big receptacles are not a great plan. I ended up with one that was too huge for minestrone so I had to throw the rest out. Next time, I'll use smaller containers. Hindsight...

Minestrone, in a huge stew/soup pot:
1. Sautee several diced cloves of garlic and half a diced yellow onion in 1 T Olive Oil for 5 minutes.
2. Add 3 diced carrots, sautee for 5 more minutes.
3. Add 6 cups broth and bring to a boil. If the broth is too strong (likely if the turkey easily fed 17 with 2 weeks of leftovers but you still used one pot for the broth), add a cup or two of water.
4. Boil for 15 minutes, add 2 pealed and diced potatoes (brown-skinned idaho are good for soup), 3 leaves of chopped swiss chard (cabbage or any fibery leaf should do just fine), 1 16-oz strained can of cannelloni, 1 16-oz can of stewed tomatos, 2 T lemon juice, parsely, spices to taste (I threw in some preserved chopped chili peppers and salt), and 16-24 oz of pasta shells.
5. Add pulled turkey or other meat (pre-cooked) if you want meat in your minestrone (we used chopped turkey breast, it worked well, but next time I think I'll use sausage)
6. Boil for 15 additional minutes and take off the burner.
7. Allow to sit and thicken for 15 minutes.
8. Serve warm with grated parmiggiano on top.

Mmmmm.... I can't wait for Easter Brunch.

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