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Turkey Soup and Dumplings

Here’s my favorite Thanksgiving leftover recipe!

Turkey Soup:

1 turkey carcass

10-12 cups water

2 large onion, diced fine

12 ribs celery, diced fine

8 carrots, diced fine

4 Tbsp. olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

2 tsp. baking powder

1 cup flour

1 tsp. sugar

1 Tbsp. ice cold margarine

1/2 cup ice cold milk

Directions:

1.  Heat half of  the olive oil in a large soup pot. Add half of the vegetables, salt, pepper,  and saute until the onions are translucent.

2. Add the turkey carcass and cover with water.

3. Don’t let the water boil – allow it to simmer for at least an hour, but I usually let it go for 2-3 hours.

4. Strain, discarding the vegetables and carcass and saving the broth.

5. Heat the remainder of the olive oil. Add the remainder of the vegetables, salt, pepper, and saute until the onions are translucent.

6. Add the turkey stock.  Allow to simmer, adding whatever vegetables you want (I like zucchini, yellow squash, larger chunks of carrots) and all of your leftover turkey.

7.  In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt to taste.

8. Add the margarine and mix it into the flour with your fingers, breaking up the margarine by coating it with flour.

9. Add the milk and lightly stir to absorb the milk.

1o. Using a teaspoon, scoop some of the dumpling mixture  and drop it into the soup. Continue until all of the dumpling mixture is used.

11. Cover the soup. Allow it to simmer (don’t boil, or your soup will be cloudy!) for about 20 minutes.

12. Serve and enjoy!

Thanksgiving Food Safety

What’s on the menu? Turkey, stuffing, gravy, potatoes? Or a side dish of food borne illness?

When preparing your family’s Thanksgiving feast this year, make sure to avoid possible food contamination issues, which could lead to serious food borne illnesses. One of the most overlooked occurrences of food contamination occurs within the turkey itself.

Alton Brown, host of Food Network’s Good Eats and Iron Chef America, has this to say about stuffing.

Be sure to cook your stuffing this Thanksgiving outside of your turkey. You may have heard that cooking the stuffing inside the turkey may create a risk of food poisoning.

Because you take the temperature of your turkey in the thigh, the inside of the bird is still not at the USDA suggested 165 degrees. The stuffing has been sitting in an uncooked (or cooking) turkey, exposed to whatever food borne illnesses the turkey may contain. While cooking a turkey to 165 degrees will kill most safety hazards, the stuffing still hasn’t reached that optimal temperature. This allows food borne illnesses to grow rapidly within the turkey, which otherwise would have been killed in the turkey itself.

Stuffing cooked outside the bird (technically called “dressing”) can still be just as delicious, if prepared with turkey or chicken stock. If you were to attempt to cook the stuffing inside the bird, it would require much more time to reach 165 degrees than the turkey, leading to an extremely dry turkey. You can still prepare the stuffing separately, and stuff the turkey once both are finished cooking, if your family prefers this presentation.

The USDA’s turkey safety website is here.  Image

Talking Turkey

Here are 14 turkey facts you might not have known:

  1.  In the US, about 280 million turkeys are sold for the Thanksgiving celebrations.  Each year, the average American eats somewhere between 16 – 18 pounds of turkey.  Californians are the largest consumers of turkey in the United States.  97% of Americans surveyed by the National Turkey Federation eat turkey at Thanksgiving.
  2. The average weight of a turkey purchased at Thanksgiving is 15 pounds. The heaviest turkey ever raised was 86 pounds, about the size of a large dog.thanks giving closeup turkey
  3. Turkeys have about 3,500 feathers at maturity. Most turkey feathers are composted. The costume that “Big Bird” wears on Sesame Street is rumored to be made of turkey feathers. Turkeys have been bred to have white feathers because white feathers have no spots under the skin when plucked.
  4. Commercially raised turkeys cannot fly but wild turkeys can fly up to 55 miles per hour. . Turkeys will swim and can run 20 miles per hour.
  5. A large group of turkeys is called a flock. The male turkey is called a tom. The female turkey is called a hen. Baby turkeys are called poults.
  6. Male turkeys gobble. Hens make a clucking noise. Tom turkeys have beards which is a black clump of hairlike feathers on their breast. Hens sometimes have beards, too. The fleshy growth under a turkey’s throat is called a wattle and the long, red, fleshy area that grows from the forehead over the bill is called a snood.
  7. Turkeys can have heart attacks. The United States Air Force was doing test runs and breaking the sound barrier. Nearby turkeys dropped dead with heart attacks.
  8. Turkeys have poor night vision but very good full-color vision and make direct eye-contact as soon as they hatch.
  9. Turkey hens normally sit on a clutch of about 12 eggs which are tan with brown specks and larger than chicken eggs.  Turkeys inside the egg communicate with the mother hen long before they are born. Turkey eggs hatch after 28 days.

10. Ben Franklin, in a letter to his daughter, proposed the turkey as the official United States bird. 

11.  Turkeys’ heads change colors when they become excited.

12. The ballroom dance the “turkey trot” was named for the short, jerky steps that turkeys take.

13. For their first meal on the moon, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin ate roasted turkey in foil packets.

14. Contrary to popular myth, eating turkey does not cause you to feel sleepy after Thanksgiving dinner. Carbohydrates in your Thanksgiving dinner are the likely cause of your sleepiness.

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