Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

Making Brown Turkey Stock in Advance ~ Recipe Revisited

I first discovered the idea of making turkey stock in advance of a major holiday six years ago and blogged about it here. Since then, I’ve learned much more about developing flavor and simplifying the procedure, so I’m revising and re-posting the recipe. You can go ahead and make your gravy in advance, too, if you want, or make it while the turkey is resting. But having this great stock already on hand will simplify things on the big day, as well as make your food more delicious.

Adding herbs to stockI learned from this experience that a great stock is absolutely key to a great turkey gravy, turkey soup, turkey stuffing – whatever turkey recipe your heart desires. Oh. My. God, it’s amazing. And it’s easier than you might think. It’s time-consuming, but mostly hands-off, so it really is a cinch to make.

There are two kinds of stock you can choose to make: white stock, where the bones, vegetables, etc., are simmered in water but not browned first, and brown stock, where you roast the bones and vegetables before simmering them. Which to choose is a matter of taste and what you want to achieve with the end result. I prefer the roasty toasty caramelized flavors of the brown stock, so this is the recipe I use. You can also follow this recipe to make stock from the turkey carcass after the big meal, and from the carcass of a roasted chicken as well.

One of the most important ingredients in a great brown stock is the fond, or browned bits, that gets stuck to the bottom of a roasting pan. These are full of flavor from the Maillard reaction – proteins and sugars in meats and vegetables caramelize with the oven’s heat and create thousands of savory flavor compounds. You want to scrape all this up and include it in your stock. It’s very, very important that you do not let this go down the drain. Plus, using it in your stock makes the pan easier to clean! Win, win!

Make-Ahead Brown Turkey Stock

Makes about 3 quarts

Don’t add salt or pepper until you are ready to use the stock. If you add it in the beginning, as the stock simmers and reduces, it can become unpalatably salty.

1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 pounds turkey bones, wings or necks
2 carrots, coarsely chopped
2 ribs celery, coarsely chopped
2 onions, coarsely chopped
1 head garlic, halved crosswise
2 cups dry white wine
1 gallon cold water
12 sprigs fresh thyme
12 stems fresh parsley (reserve leaves for another recipe)
3 bay leaves

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Drizzle oil around roasting pan. Place turkey parts, carrots, celery, onions, and garlic in roasting pan and toss well to coat with oil. Roast, stirring occasionally, until well browned, 1 to 1-1/2 hours.

Transfer contents of roasting pan to stock pot or Dutch oven. Place the roasting pan over two burners on medium-high heat. Add the wine to the roasting pan and use a wooden spatula to stir and scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Watch as the liquid turns a deep brown with savory goodness. Add the liquid and all the browned bits to the stock pot.

Add remaining broth and herbs to the pot and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, just so small bubbles break the surface, for about four hours.

Use tongs and a spider or slotted spoon to remove large pieces from the pot. Pour stock through a fine-mesh strainer into another pot (at least 3 quarts), cover with a lid, and refrigerate until fat congeals, at least 2 hours. Discard solids.

Using soup spoon, skim fat and reserve. You can use this to make your gravy now and freeze it, or reserve for another use.

Raw ingredients

Roasted ingredients

Adding herbs

Finished stock

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Happy New Year’s Eve with Hogmanay!

Yesterday, Dan and I attended the Scottish Walk in downtown Portsmouth, which expresses appreciation for the town merchants. A couple hundred people turned out for a walk led by a Colonial-era bell ringer and accompanied by the music of bagpipes.

At Admiral’s Landing on the riverfront, we were treated to a rousing call to revolution, circa 1779, and a gun salute to each of the rebelling colonies. It was great fun.
2009 Scottish Walk

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A really late holiday wish

Happy New Year! Yeah, I know, it’s two weeks old already. I haven’t been feeling great lately, so I haven’t been doing a lot of cooking. Dan’s been doing most of the cooking the last couple of weeks, and it’s been great! Way to go! :-)

Anyway, here’s a photo from our trip to the Mayan Riviera in, I think it was, late 2001? Just to warm you up on a cold day.

Mayan Riviera

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Merry Christmas Eve!

Keep an eye on Santa Claus – he’s heading our way!

NORAD Tracks Santa

Christmas Porch
This is part of a neighbor’s porch, decorated for Christmas. I heard the owners used to be either set decorators or shop window decorators in New York City.

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It’s Holiday Tour Time

Last weekend, I was a hostess at one of the homes on the Holiday Home Tour our neighborhood civic league, the Port Norfolk Civic League in Portsmouth, Va., puts on as a fundraiser every year. Below is one of the homes on the tour – Culpeppers Boat Rental and the family’s home.

It’s an interesting building – the front is the store of a boat-rental operation where people can rent small boats for crabbing or fishing and behind it is living quarters for the family that owns the shop. It was really cute inside and they had a case of interesting antique fishing tackle, among other goodies.

Culpeppers Boat Rental/home on the Port Norfolk Holiday Home Tour

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Happy Independence Day!

American Flag

Dan and I have been watching the HBO miniseries “John Adams” on DVD through NetFlix. I think it’s very well done – we’ve enjoyed it a lot.

Have a great Fourth – I’m making all-American brownies and Southwestern potato salad to take to a cookout tonight.

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