Ready or Not #33: Boiling Turkey Bones

I love Thanksgiving time.  I think that it is one of my favorite holidays because there isn’t a lot of decorating (a.k.a. – STRESS).  Advertisers have basically passed it over – going from Halloween straight to Christmas — so they haven’t subverted the original intent of the holiday.  And, you are encouraged to eat lots and take naps – could it get any better?  I think not!  It is also a time to gather family together and ponder all of the privileges we have and think of all of the things that we have been blessed with – our freedoms, our abundance and love for each other.  Nice.

Right now I can hear a lot of women saying: “Yeah, RIGHT! (with a hint of sarcasm) I am stuck in the kitchen for a solid week SLAVING OVER A HOT STOVE!  This is not a relaxing holiday and after it is over I plan to hibernate in a comatose state for at least an hour and a half before I start to clean this mess up (while EVERYBODY ELSE is watching a foot ball game) and get ready for Christmas!”

If that is going on, you are going about this the wrong way.  When my children turned about 8 years old I started to put them to work in the kitchen.  My philosophy is to teach them to cook so that when they get older they can cook for ME, sometimes – and make it enjoyable.  Thanksgiving is just a really good practice time for them.

We all sit down and decide what we want to eat at our Thanksgiving feast and then we divide the list up.  My son usually likes to do the stuffing and Jell-O salad, but sometimes he’ll make a pie.  My daughter loves to make the potatoes and gravy and a pie and my husband roasts the turkey.  I make the rolls, prepare the vegetables and make another pie.  One year everybody took over and all I had was two pies to make and I made them the day before.  I read an action adventure book while they checked the turkey and mashed the potatoes.  It was great.  Clean up is the same, everybody helps until it is done so that we can visit and nap at the same time.  I love Thanksgiving.

Now, lets talk turkey, leftover turkey.  I am just amazed when I hear people complaining about leftover turkey.  I don’t know about your house, but if we have more than a day and half of having any turkey left in the fridge I would be surprised.  One year I didn’t even have one turkey sandwich from leftover turkey and was so distraught that I roasted another turkey just so I could have leftover turkey in the fridge.  If you just can’t eat turkey two days in a row (what?) then put your leftover turkey in the freezer for a later turkey pie, fried turkey pieces, or my favorite, the turkey sandwich (with mayonnaise –NOT Miracle Whip)

Oh, I about forgot (I got distracted with anticipation), don’t throw your turkey carcass away!  After you have stripped the meat off, throw the bones into a big pot and simmer, or low boil, the bones for a couple of hours.  It makes the best broth ever.  You can then strain the broth and make soup or freeze the broth and use it later on for recipes that call for broth.  I then go through the bones and pick off the rest of the meat.  You don’t have to if you don’t want to, but I have found that there is a lot of meat that comes off the bones after it has been boiled.

This is my favorite recipe for using turkey broth.  Add all of the vegetables that you want and season it like you like, don’t forget the garlic.  You can leave the potatoes out if you want because you are going to add Danish Dumplings.  Make sure that you double the recipe because you will still run out of dumplings before you run out of soup.

Danish Dumplings
4 Tbsp. Butter or margarine        1 tsp. Salt
2/3 cup flour                1 tsp. Sugar
½ cup boiling water            ¼ tsp. or less of Nutmeg (you decide how much)
2 eggs

Bring butter and water to a boil.  Add flour all at once, stirring continuously.  Cook until mixture leaves the sides of the pan.  When cool, add all the seasonings and eggs, one at a time, beating well with a spoon.  Drop by teaspoonfuls into boiling broth or soup.  Dip spoon into hot liquid after dropping each dumpling so the mixture will not stick to the spoon.  Do not cover.  Cook 4 to 5 minutes, they are done.  Serve hot.  So good.  My husband prefers the light airy dumplings, but give me these mounds of joy any day!

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