Tag Archives: turkey

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, darlings! Suze here, writing to you from the deck of my cabin in the woods. I woke in time to see the sunrise over the lake. A flock of ducks just came in for a landing on the water below me. A bald eagle just flew past (I never, ever fail to be thrilled, no matter how many times I see them!). And if I’d remembered to set up the coffeepot last night, I’d be enjoying a cup right now, making it pretty much a perfect morning. We make our own electricity here and must be frugal with what we have, so it’s an old-fashioned top-of-the-woodstove percolator for us–no Keurig machine!

I have so much to be grateful for, more this year than most, perhaps. So I’m making a Thanksgiving resolution: to live more mindfully and to practice gratitude in some form every day.

That being said, I’m thankful for all of you, my friends!

Now that the mushy stuff is over, how about a no-longer-secret recipe? I make my Black Friday stew every … Black Friday! I’ve never shopped on Black Friday, and don’t intend to (except maybe once as a bucket list kind of thing). It takes a while, but it’s easy, and it’s a great way to use up leftovers.

SUZE’S BLACK FRIDAY STEW

Pick as much meat as you can off the turkey frame and refrigerate the meat. Get a big stock pot and put the frame in the pot, breaking it up if you need to. Toss in the wing tips, and any other bones that people didn’t gnaw on (legs, thigh, wings), as well as a quartered onion, a couple of bay leaves, a few carrots, a few stalks of celery, and a parsnip if you have one. Fill the pot about 2/3 full with water, cover, and put the pot on the stove. (I make mine on a woodstove here at the cabin). Bring the water almost to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for several hours. Remove from heat and cool slightly.

Strain out all the solids, discard, and return broth to the pot. (I find it works well to use two strainers—one with larger holes nested inside one with finer mesh).

Now comes the fun part. Add in:

-2 cans of cream of celery/mushroom/chicken soup, undiluted, or a combination of soups

-3 cans of creamed corn

-Leftover mashed potatoes

-Leftover gravy

-Leftover corn (or a can of corn, drained)

Stir to combine, and heat through (10 or 15 minutes is plenty). A few minutes before serving, add leftover turkey and heat for a couple more minutes.

Ladle into big bowls, and serve with a green salad and a loaf of French bread (I’m a fan of the Pillsbury French bread, the kind that comes in a tube in the refrigerator section).  Don’t forget leftover pie for dessert.

This feeds a crowd! If you don’t have a crowd, freeze the rest. It’s nice to pull out a tub of homemade soup for a quick supper or lunch on a cold winter day.

Have a wonderful day!

A Tale of Two Turkeys

Happy Thursday again, and Happy First Day of December, you wonderful Scribe fans!  Suze here.  It’s great to see you all again after the long Thanksgiving weekend.

Before we get to the “meat” of this post, some business.  If you’re a writer and you haven’t entered CTRWA’s Write Stuff contest, what are you waiting for?  There are still a few days left.  First prize in each category is a hundred bucks, which you know you want.  Go for it!  Click here for details.

Now, I know you’re all dying to find out what happened last Thursday at my mom’s house.  Remember?  The turducken?  Click here for a link to last week’s post so you can get yourselves up to speed if you missed it.

Mr. Suze and our son and I spent the morning at our remote woodland cabin, alternately watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and an awe-inspiring trio of bald eagles circling not too far overhead — two golden brown juveniles and an adult with a snowy white head and tail.  Once the parade and the aerobatics show were over, we headed over to Mom’s.

She wasn’t home.   We knew she wouldn’t be there yet, because she was doing volunteer work at her church.  So we brought in the box of turducken, and I set about preparing it for cooking.  Hmmm. A frown creased my forehead.  A distinctive aroma permeated the kitchen, and it wasn’t coming from my still-raw Turducken.  A tiny orangey light caught my eye.  Not a Faulknerian Light in August, but a very suspicious Light in the Oven.

I investigated further.  I strode to the oven.  I threw open the door.  A blast of hot air hit me in the face as I discovered — you guessed it — a 20 pound turkey, skin brown and crispy, hissing poultry steam from the vent holes in the old blue enamelware roaster pan.

Nearly four hundred years of family Thanksgiving tradition simply could not be denied.  Mr. Suze just shook his head.

I pulled out the cooked bird and replaced it with the turducken, prepared according to the package directions (leave it in the cooking bag and place on a baking sheet in a 400 degree oven).  Mom came in the door shortly afterward.

“Oh, good,” she said.  “My turkey’s done.”  She had the grace to look a little sheepish (pardon my mixing of farm animals here).  “I had to cook the turkey.  Ooh, is that the turducken?”

She never did say why she “had” to cook the turkey.  Was it because the turkey was about to spoil and “had” to be cooked?  (unappetizing, but entirely possible)  Or was she simply compelled by a force greater than herself to cook that bird on the fourth Thursday of November?  The world may never know.

As for the turducken, reviews were mixed.  Like most prepared foods, this bizarre hybrid concoction was overly salty, or at least the rice stuffing was.  Maybe a “homemade” turducken would be better, but I can tell you that personally I will not be deboning and stuffing three birds anytime soon.  The turkey layer was judged to be fine.  The duck layer was generally not hated, but not really liked.  As for the chicken core, it tasted pretty much like the turkey layer, which is probably why chicken and turkey are never mixed together in recipes.

The other turkey ended up being sliced up for sandwiches the next day, and I made my famous Black Friday Stew with the carcass.  (I’ll give you that recipe soon).

What about you?  Do you have habits that you just can’t break, no matter how hard you try?  Inquiring Scribes want to know!

Turkey Talk

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!  Suze here wishing you all a most special day. I’m writing to you today from my cabin on a cliff in the north woods.  A woodfire is crackling in the stove, I’ve got a cup of hot perked coffee and a Pillsbury orange cinnamon roll in front of me (trust me, try these), and the surface of the lake below us is smooth as glass.

The view from my cabin window a couple of years ago

The air is quiet except for the occasional crack of a rifle off in the distance — it’s hunting season, after all, and while I love venison, I’m secretly rooting for the deer.  Soon the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade will start.  We get one channel here, and this is the only time we ever watch television at camp.  (DVDs, yes. Television no.)    After that, we will head out to my mother’s house for Thanksgiving dinner.

A couple of weeks ago, my husband, who bless him does the grocery shopping for our family (one of my most-hated chores), informed me that he wanted to buy a turducken for Thanksgiving.  For those unfamiliar with this not-quite-mythological beastie, a turducken is a chicken stuffed inside a duck stuffed inside a turkey, all bones removed.

Rare Who roast beast? Nope, it’s the elusive turducken!
Cool, right?  Sounded like fun.  Except he then proceeded to inform me that I should tell my mother not to make a turkey.  Let me just make sure you got that.  He wanted me to tell my mother not to make a turkey.  On Thanksgiving.

Now, of course he was right.  There would have been far, far too much food if both a turkey and a turducken were cooked.  But I dreaded this phone call and put it off as long as I could.  Who was I to mess with the centuries-old tradition of a big fat gobbler on Thanksgiving?  My ancestors came over on the Mayflower and lived in Plymouth.  Carried blunderbusses, wore buckled shoes and buckled hats, and had their unprepared English hineys saved from starvation by Squanto and Massasoit.  John Alden and Priscilla Mullins?

They’re my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandparents.  The turkey tradition runs deep, I tell you.

Finally, I dialed the phone and made the announcement.

There was a pause.  A long pause.  I chewed my bottom lip and pulled the phone away from my ear in a preemptive attempt to save my hearing when the explosion came.

“Turducken,” Mom said thoughtfully.  “You know, I was watching Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives on the Food Channel a couple of weeks ago and Guy ate turducken.  That sounds like fun!  I won’t make a turkey.”

So I invite you this Thanksgiving day, in addition to counting your blessings, enjoying the time with your loved ones, and remembering the loved ones who are no longer with you, to do a couple of things:

  • Don’t be afraid to tell your mother stuff — she might surprise you; and
  • Examine your personal traditions and beliefs.  The ones you thought could never, ever be changed, for any reason.  What seems inviolable might just be . . . violable.  And it might be an opportunity for you to grow and for creativity to expand.

Or maybe that’s just your stomach growing and expanding after that last piece of pumpkin pie today!

Because you can never have too many cranberry recipes around the holidays, I’ll leave you with a no-longer-secret family recipe.  As far as I’m concerned, no Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner is complete without Cranberry Relish.  My grandmother, Margarette, would haul out her giant metal food grinder, the kind that clamped to the table and was heavy enough to use as a weapon, and make this every year.  Now that we don’t have to work so hard for our food, we use a food processor.  Enjoy, and have a wonderful day!

MARGARETTE’S CRANBERRY RELISH*

  • One bag fresh whole cranberries (see Viv’s instructions for cleaning and inspecting these bouncy beauties)
  • One whole seedless orange, peel and all, chopped into a few pieces (an orange with seeds is fine as long as you remove them)
  • One whole apple (a green one is pretty, but any firm apple will do), cored and chopped into a few large pieces
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar, depending on taste

This is best made the day ahead, or at least several hours before you want to serve it.  Fit up your food processor with the regular chopping blade.  Place all ingredients in the bowl, starting with the half cup of sugar (you can always add more later if it’s too tart).  Pulse everything until it’s in fine pieces, stopping short of pureeing the mixture.  Taste and add a bit more sugar if necessary, and serve in a clear glass bowl so you can admire the jewel-like colors.

Delicious with turkey, chicken, or even ham.  My favorite post-holiday leftover is a turkey, cheddar and cranberry relish sandwich.  Enjoy!

** To be fair, I don’t know where my grandmother got this recipe.  It could have been from her own mother, Gladys.  There may be some bickering going on among the angels right now over who should get the credit.  Love you still, girls!