Creamy Turkey and Kale Soup

We get two turkeys a year from our poultry farmer – the first in the summer and the second usually a day or two before Thanksgiving.  Last year we roasted the summer turkey and canned it; I used the meat all winter long in soups, stews and casseroles.  It was incredibly convenient.

This year, we decided to break it down into its different parts, the way we do our chickens, and freeze them.  In the end, we were left with one bag containing just the wings – well, actually, a wing-and-a-half; it apparently suffered an accident in the processing.  Which was fine, but it left me wondering what to do with one-and-a-half turkey wings.

Our garden was also full of surprises this year, as we had all sorts of plants pop up that we never actually planted.  Not weeds, either, but actual food, mostly in the form of tomatoes and winter squash  (thank you, Mr. Compost).  Among the winter squashes, which was mostly butternut and spaghetti, we found a lone kabocha.  After Beloved picked it, it sat on my kitchen counter and, well…stared at me.  For about two weeks.

Kabocha squash makes marvelous soup, and since we’ve had quite the cold snap up here lately, it finally occurred to me what I could do with the turkey wings:  roast those suckers and put the meat in a nice, hearty soup with some of the kale that was also overflowing in our garden.  So one evening last week I roasted both the wings and the squash while cooking that night’s dinner, in anticipation of the next night’s dinner.

It worked like a charm, too, making the following evening’s meal a snap to put together.  What surprised me, though, was how much meat was on those turkey wings; I got a full 2 1/2 to 3 cups off of them when it was all said and done.

The soup turned out marvelously; rich and creamy, warm and comforting, it was simply delicious.  It was also incredibly nutritious, a serving providing 36% of your daily recommended amount of potassium, 561% vitamin A, 227% vitamin C, 28% vitamin E, 50% niacin, 47% vitamin B6, 692% vitamin K, 31% phosphorus, 25% magnesium, 43% manganese and 47% selenium.

If nothing else, it will leave you feeling quite smug, knowing you ate something that was so good for you.

Note:  You can, of course, use leftover cooked chicken if you prefer.  This also reheats very well.

Creamy Turkey and Kale Soup. An easy and hearty cold weather soup that is as nutritious as it is delicious.

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Creamy Turkey and Kale Soup
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or clarified butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium winter squash, such as kabocha, roasted
  • 6 cups chicken stock or broth, preferably homemade
  • 3 cups cooked turkey, chopped
  • 6 cups kale, stems removed and torn into pieces (about 1 pound)
  • red pepper flakes (optional)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. In a small stock pot or enameled cast iron Dutch oven, melt the ghee over medium-low heat and cook the onion until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and bell pepper and cook another minute more.
  2. Stir the roasted squash into the pot and increase the heat to medium; season lightly with salt and pepper and continue cooking until the squash is heated through. Gradually whisk in the chicken stock until the soup is smooth.
  3. Add the turkey, kale and red pepper flakes (if using) to the soup; simmer until the kale is tender, about 15 minutes. Taste and season as needed with salt and pepper before serving.
  4. Nutrition (per serving): 350 calories, 10.9g total fat, 70.6mg cholesterol, 429.5mg sodium, 1272.5mg potassium, 34.5g carbohydrates, 7g fiber, 8.6g sugar, 30.7g protein

Ham and Cheese Quiche

You know, I could get used to this empty nest thing.  It was kind of nice this weekend; we picked up our eggs as well as a double share of our CSA Saturday morning (we are flying to Vegas to visit Darling Daughter Thursday afternoon and won’t be able to get the last share of the season) and spent most of Saturday afternoon and early evening processing what will freeze/can/keep well.

Sunday we did a whole lot of nothing, if you can count watching movies and television (we started Orange is the New Black on Netflix) and crocheting “nothing.”  I did make us a late brunch, which consisted of the last watermelon of the season (“G always tells me, ‘No seeds in my watermelon, Meema!'” “That’s because Papa hasn’t taught him how to spit them yet”), zucchini fritters with homemade ketchup, and this recipe.

Not the most innovative meal I’ve ever made, but the quiche?  She is delicious.  And pretty darn easy to boot – what more could you ask for?

This has a ton of dairy in it – I used vat-pasteurized, non-homogenized whole milk with a great deal of the cream in it (which is why the recipe calls for half and half) and some beautiful aged, raw milk cheddar.  My sinuses weren’t happy about it later, but it was well worth it.  You can, of course, leave out the cheese and substitute full-fat coconut milk and it will still be quite good, as well as Whole30 compliant if your ham has no added sugars or nitrates.

Ham and Cheese Quiche. Ham and cheese are a perfect combination, especially paired with onions, leeks, peppers and made into a delicious, crustless quiche!

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Ham and Cheese Quiche
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 large leek, white and pale green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons ghee or butter
  • 1 small red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup cubed cooked ham
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups half and half
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Generously butter a 10″ deep dish pie plate.
  2. Melt the ghee or butter in a large sauté pan over medium low heat and cook the onion and leek until soft and fragrant; stir in the bell pepper and ham. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, half and half, salt and pepper until well blended. Set aside.
  4. Spread the onion and ham mixture over the bottom of the buttered pie plate and scatter the cheese evenly over the top. Slowly pour the egg mixture into the pie plate and carefully transfer to the oven (the dish will be very full).
  5. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until nicely browned on top and a knife inserted in the center of the quiche comes out clean. Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.
  6. Nutrition (per serving): 348 calories, 26.6g total fat, 251.6mg cholesterol, 1039.4mg sodium, 336mg potassium, 9.1g carbohydrates, 1.5g fiber, 2.6g sugar, 18.2g protein

Winter Squash Casserole

It’s funny, where you can find inspiration for a dish.

I don’t know about anyone else, but the little “ticker” over on the right-hand side of the screen on Facebook fascinates me.  I’ll often click on it just to see the photo or status someone on my friends list “likes” or see the post or status they’re commenting on.  I’ve found some hilarious and infuriating things over there – and, occasionally, something instructive.

Such was the case last weekend when I clicked on something that looked like a recipe by my friend Barbara, a professional chef who owns the blog Tigers and Strawberries.  (She hasn’t blogged for quite some time, but has left the blog up – which is a great thing; it is a marvelous resource of recipes and cooking knowledge.)  In fact, that’s exactly what it was – a simple recipe on one of her friend’s post about discovering delicata squash.

And, like all of Barbara’s recipes, it looked marvelous.  Right away I sent her a private message saying I planned to make the dish soon (I made it the next night, as a matter of fact) and asking if I could post the recipe here when I did.  Gracious as always, her reply was, “Go for it.”

So here it is.

And it is every bit as marvelous as I had anticipated.

Barbara gave no real measurements – it was just a list of ingredients and general instructions for the dish – so I had to sort of wing it when it came to proportions.  We had a fairly large butternut squash that we’d just pulled out of our garden, so I used that, along with two Fuji apples because they are delicious and hold up fairly well to cooking.  The only other ingredients were 2 parts almond butter to one part maple syrup, dried cranberries and slivered almonds.

Since the almond butter I used was an all-natural butter with no added salt or sugar, I ended up reversing the proportions of that and the maple syrup (which turned out to be a good thing once I saw the calorie content of a serving).  On a whim, I also added raisins along with the dried cranberries and I had no slivered almonds, so I used chopped pecans instead.

I also didn’t realize when I began that it was going to make a HUGE amount, but that’s okay – it is so very, very good that we’ve eaten the leftovers every day this week for lunch (and there is still some left in the fridge that we’ll probably polish off today).  In fact, it’s so good that Beloved is campaigning for it to be part of our Thanksgiving dinner this year, and I may very well accommodate him.

This would work well with just about any kind of winter squash, and Barbara says you can use sweet potatoes if you prefer.  She also says this would make a great dessert, and if you use sweet potatoes, I’d have to agree.

Note:  This dish is vegetarian as written; if you sub the butter with olive oil or palm oil shortening for greasing the pan, it will become vegan – and dairy-free – as well.

Winter Squash Casserole. This delicious and simple casserole is perfect for a chilly autumn day - or your holiday table.

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Winter Squash Casserole
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 3 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2″ dice
  • 2 cups apples, peeled, cored and diced
  • 1/2 cup unsalted almond butter
  • 1 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 cup dried unsweetened cranberries
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Generously butter a 9″ x 13″ baking dish.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the almond butter and maple syrup until well-blended. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients except the salt and pepper. Pour the almond butter mixture over the contents of the bowl and toss to coat all of the pieces of squash and apple evenly. Add the seasonings and stir to combine.
  4. Pour the squash mixture into the buttered baking dish and spread out evenly. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes, or until the squash and apples are tender. Remove the foil and return to the oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until the top of the casserole begins to brown.
  5. Nutrition (per serving): 425 calories, 13.2g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 343.5mg sodium, 426.3mg potassium, 77.5g carbohydrates, 6.6g fiber, 26.5g sugar, 3.8g protein

Beef Bourguignon

Julia Child.  She revolutionized the way the United States not only cooks, but views, food, and collectively we owe her a great debt of gratitude.

Beef Bourguignon, that gorgeous peasant dish of beef stewed in wine with bacon, mushrooms and onions, is arguably her seminal recipe; you can barely think of Julia Child without thinking of Beef Bourguignon, and vice versa.  And for good reason – it is most likely the best beef stew you will ever, ever eat.  Julia herself wrote in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, “[It is] certainly one of the most delicious beef dishes concocted by man.”

Who am I to argue with that?  Why would I argue with that?  I don’t disagree with her at all.

This is a somewhat streamlined version of the recipe that appears in MTAOFC.  The most notable deviation from the original is the substitution of tapioca flour for wheat flour and ghee for butter; nor do I bother with the traditional bouquet garni or thickening the sauce.  But while the list of ingredients is long, and the instructions seem longer, it’s not a difficult dish by any means – just rather time consuming.

With 607 calories, 31 grams of fat and over 22 grams of carbohydrates per serving (and I’ve increased the servings to 8 from the original 6), this is not “diet food” by any stretch of the imagination.  But who cares?  Julia certainly didn’t, and neither should you.

Beef Bourguignon. The classic French dish of beef stewed in wine with bacon, mushrooms and onions.

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Beef Bourguignon
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 6 ounces bacon, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 pounds stew meat, cut into 2” cubes
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and sliced
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca flour
  • 3 cups dry red wine
  • 3 cups beef stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 tablespoon [url href=”http://www.janssushibar.com/homemade-tomato-paste/” target=”_blank”]tomato paste[/url]
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf, crumbled
  • 1 pound new potatoes
  • Braised Onions
  • 24 white “pearl” onions, peeled
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons [url href=”http://www.janssushibar.com/ghee/” target=”_blank”]ghee[/url]
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup beef stock, preferably homemade
  • 4 parsley sprigs
  • 1/2 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Sautéed Mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 F.
  2. In a 9” to 10” oven-proof enameled Dutch oven or casserole, fry the chopped bacon in the olive oil over low heat until slightly browned and most of the fat has been rendered out. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Dry the beef well with paper towels. Increase the heat to high and cook the beef, a few pieces at a time, until well-browned on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside with the bacon.
  3. Reduce the heat slightly and add the carrot and onion to the pan, cooking until the vegetables begins to soften and brown. Pour off any remaining fat.
  4. Return the beef and bacon to the pan with the vegetables and season wit the salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the tapioca flour and toss to lightly coat the beef. Set the the pan, uncovered, in the center of the oven for 4 minutes.
  5. Toss the beef and return to the oven for 4 minutes more. Remove the pan, and reduce the oven temperature to 325 F. Stir in the wine and beef stock; add the tomato paste, garlic, thyme and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer on top of the stove, then cover and place in the oven. Braise the beef for 2 1/2 or 3 hours, or until the meat is fork tender.
  6. While the beef is in the oven, prepare the onions, mushrooms and potatoes.
  7. [b]For the onions:[/b] Heat the ghee and olive oil in a small sauté pan over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat slightly and sauté the onions, for about 10 minutes, stirring or rolling the onions frequently so they will brown as evenly as possible and taking care not to break the skins. Sprinkle the onions with salt and pepper and stir in the beef stock and herbs. Cover and simmer over low heat for 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are tender, but still retain their shape, and the liquid has evaporated. Remove the bay leaf and the stems of the parsley and thyme. Set aside.
  8. [b]For the mushrooms:[/b] Heat the ghee and olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the mushrooms in a single layer, taking care not to crowd them, and sauté, stirring or tossing frequently, until they have given off their liquid and are nicely browned. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  9. [b]For the potatoes:[/b] scrub the whole new potatoes gently under running water. Bring 2 to 3 quarts of water to a boil; add a tablespoon of salt and the potatoes. Boil until fork tender, about 15 or 20 minutes. Drain. When cool enough to handle, carefully slice each in half. Set aside.
  10. When the meat is tender, pour the contents of the pan through a sieve set over a large saucepan. Wipe the Dutch oven or casserole with a clean paper towel and return the meat to the pan; stir in the onions, mushrooms and potatoes. Skim as much of the fat from the sauce as possible and return to the pan with meat and vegetables. Cover and simmer gently, stirring frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the stew is completely heated through, and serve.
  11. Nutrition (per serving): 607 calories, 31.1g total fat, 141.8mg cholesterol, 883.8mg sodium, 1437.4mg potassium, 22.5g carbohydrates, 3g fiber, 3.5g sugar, 44.7g protein

Tuesday Morning Conversations

Scene opens with Beloved in the kitchen making scrambled eggs when he hears incoherent yelling coming from the living room.

Beloved:  What??

Me (entering kitchen):  Oh, I’m just yelling at that stupid Botox commercial.

Beloved:  Why are you yelling at a Botox commercial?

Me:  Because all of the side effects are symptoms of botulism!

Beloved:  Why?

Me:  Because that’s pretty much what Botox is – botulism bacteria.

Beloved:  Really?

Me:  Yup.

Beloved:  What are the symptoms?

Me:  Basically it slowly paralyzes you until you can’t breathe and then you die.

Beloved:  Oh, that sounds fun.  Why would anyone willingly be injected with botulism?

Me:  Beats the hell out of me.

Beloved (going into sarcastic mode):  Gee, you think the FDA would make laws against something like that!

Me (joining him in sarcastic mode):  But dear, the FDA will never outlaw silly little Botox – if botulism becomes a problem, they’ll just make it illegal for us to can our own food.

 

Someone tell me I’m wrong.