Many traditions, I think, are the result of an unlikely mix of circumstance, inspiration and serendipity that weaves itself into a Mobius strip long enough to become entrenched.
When my extended family decided to make Christmas dinner a potluck, sharing the duties while preserving the family favorite recipes, the turkey prep fell to me. As a result, I was left with the puzzle of how to cope with the annual leftovers from a large turkey after twenty folks had had their way with it.
I’m not exactly sure how the idea for this soup came into being, but I decided to invent a soup recipe, for good or ill. While it has been adjusted over the years, it’s remarkable how little it’s changed.
So, the day after the feast, I break out the pots (including my prized soup pot – a gift from Tim and Marlene) and get to it.
Step 1 – Boil ‘dem Bones
Separate the meat from the bird and break apart the bones and carcass. Stuff the bones, stuffing, fat and skin into a large soup pot... top up with water and bring to a boil, then simmer for an hour or two, adding water as the level drops.
Get out another large pot, roughly half the size of your big one, a large strainer and the roasting pan for the turkey. Remove the large bones and detritus with a slotted spoon into the roasting pan. Strain the remaining liquid + stuff into the second pot.
Dump the strainer sludge into the roasting pan and let it drain a bit. Tilt the roasting pan and ladle any broth into the second pot. Now dispose of the bones and wash your big pot, strainer and stuff.
One thing about this project – there’s no shortage of washing up – and unless you’ve got a big kitchen, you’ll have to manage your space.
Split the broth between your two pots, and dilute with water about 1.5 to one - in this case, I have 4+6 cups in one pot, and 12+18 in the other - one pot being about 3 times the size of the other.