If you enjoyed turkey at your Thanksgiving dinner (in Canada) last weekend, then no doubt you had a pot of turkey bones bubbling away on your stove at some point this week. My mom hosted the feast this year, and for a change she did a bacon lattice on top of the 22 pound bird. I repeat. Turkey, covered in bacon. It was a glorious sight to behold. I was so smitten I forgot to take a photo. And that's saying something. The bacon infusion could be detected throughout the meat, and oh sweet lord, the gravy. So good. So, if you want to switch things up this year for the holidays, you can't go wrong with slathering turkey in bacon. Of course, the next day, she brought out her soup pot, tossed some of the bones in (I got a freezer bags worth too - them being lots of bones in that big bird), covered them with water, onion, celery, carrot and simmered them the day away. Given my thrifty nature, ahem, I save my vegetable scraps from whatever meal prep I'm doing and just tuck them away in a freezer bag as I go along. That way when it comes time to boil up some bones, you already have your veg, no need to chop up fresh onions, celery, carrot, etc. Also, fresh parsley, garlic, peppercorns and a pinch of whole cloves are my musts for stock. Let it simmer long and slow, with bubbles just breaking the surface. You'll get a nicer flavour than just boiling the crap out of it for one hour. Remember, most good things in life take a good, long while.
So while I was away last weekend, crashing through leaves with my little nieces and enjoying an absolutely gorgeous Saskatchewan weekend, I couldn't help but be reminded how different it was from last year's Thanksgiving, when I was laid up with a broken foot. I was all about the crutches and cast, then. And pain. Oh the pain. Up until then, I'm certain I had taken my freedom of movement for granted. Don't we all. But this year, I was especially conscious of how good it felt just to walk. Under the glowing canopy of falling leaves, I was thankful my foot healed so well, and just keenly reminded that nothing very horrible ever stays very horrible for very long. But the flip side is true, too. When you have those moments of sheer joy, hold them tight.
This is a great recipe to have in your back pocket when you have a bag of turkey bones in your fridge. Of course you can make it with boxed chicken broth, but the flavour won't be quite the same. I thoroughly enjoy the chew of wild rice in soup. I cooked it separately, then just stirred it in at the end. It's squash palooza out there in the markets, and butternut is my favourite, though any will do. Even the proverbial pumpkin. Fresh tomatoes and handfuls of parsley and arugula make this soup colourful and delicious. Don't forget that squeeze of fresh lemon - it helps increase the calcium content of the broth. And we all know how good calcium is for us, right? Gotta keep those bones strong; they carry us to and fro, taking us on adventures that will hopefully last a good, long while.
I was sponsored by the Turkey Farmers of Canada to write this post. Obviously, all thoughts and opinions of turkey are my own.
Turkey Soup with Butternut Squash and Wild Rice
¾ cup wild rice, rinsed
3 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 ½ cups butternut squash, diced
1 cup carrots, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp each dried rosemary and oregano
6 cups turkey stock (or chicken stock or veggie stock)
3 cups shredded turkey meat
2 cups fresh tomatoes, chopped
2 cups arugula or spinach
¼ cup chopped parsley
juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp maple syrup
salt and pepper
pea shoots for garnish
In a saucepan, bring the wild rice and 4 cups of water to boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer over low heat for about 45 minutes or until rice is tender. Drain, and set aside.
In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Stir in the onions, squash and carrots. Cook for about 5 minutes or until onion is translucent. Stir in garlic and herbs, cook a few minutes longer. Pour in the stock, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in the turkey meat, tomatoes, greens, parsley, lemon juice, maple syrup, cooked wild rice and season with salt and pepper. Cook about 10 minutes longer over medium low heat. Adjust seasonings. Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with pea shoots or more arugula. Serves 6.