Wednesday, December 03, 2008


One of our revered traditions here at Chez Elisson is that one known as “The Disposal of the Carcass.” For after we have eaten our fill of the Meat of the Turkey - in all its happy disguises - we have a frame of bones, gristle, and meat that must be dealt with.

Generally, what I will do is take a cleaver and hack the Turkey-Skeleton into manageable chunks. If there are any wings or legs left I’ll strip them of their meat and throw the bones in the Stock-Pot, along with a chopped-up yellow onion, a mashed clove of garlic, a couple of sliced carrots and celery stalks, some parsley stems, a bay leaf, and a few whole peppercorns. I add water to cover, then bring the pot up to a gentle simmer and just let it sit for a few hours, skimming the surface occasionally.

This Turkey Stock, once it is strained and cooled, is full of gelatin and rich flavor. It’s a fine base for all sorts of good things. Soup, f’r instance.

All you do is take any remaining turkey meat, cut it into cubes, and add it to the stock, along with a diced-up yellow onion, a sliced carrot, one minced garlic clove, a 12-ounce bag of split peas, and about six ounces of pearled barley. (Be sure to pick through and rinse the peas and barley before adding it to your soup, lest your bridgework encounter a stone.) Mushrooms? Up to you. I didn’t use ’em this time.

Simmer for a few hours. When the split peas have begun to disintegrate, it’s done. Add salt and pepper to taste...and a healthy dollop of fino sherry, if you like, and serve it forth. It’s traditional!

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