For most of America Thanksgiving means a four day weekend, lots of good food and football games. For those of us in the food service business it means a lot of work. The work begins long before the turkeys even arrive. The week before we roast turkey necks to get a jump on making the gravy, about 18 gallons worth this year!
For most of America Thanksgiving means a four day weekend, lots of good food and football games. For those of us in the food service business it means a lot of work. The work begins long before the turkeys even arrive. The week before we roast turkey necks to get a jump on making the gravy, about 18 gallons worth this year! It doesn’t end until several days after the feast when we’ve finished making turkey soup, turkey pot pie and this year, slow roasted turkey wings and drumsticks with an Asian hoisin barbecue sauce. Last but not least, we froze some stock and picked turkey meat to make turkey black bean chili at some point in the future when people are no longer tired of all things turkey.
At Bistro-to-Go Thanksgiving is easily our busiest holiday with Passover running a close second. A big part of it is, like Passover, almost everyone is eating the same menu: turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes and so on. At other holidays such as Christmas people celebrate more according to their ethnic or religious roots. Roast pork or ham is popular, roast goose, beef tenderloin, turkey again for many and the Italian-American feast of the seven fishes.
Thanksgiving is not celebrated in other cultures so it is 100% American right down to the pumpkin pie. We let our staff have the day off to celebrate with their families and we are open from 10-12 only for pickups. At the stroke of noon, we lock the doors and do what we love the most - bringing trays of food and desserts to the annual Family of Woodstock community dinner, which is open to everyone and is truly a joyous celebration.
The day after Thanksgiving would not be complete without “pilgrim sandwiches” for lunch, something I enjoy as much as the dinner itself. Basically it’s the entire turkey dinner in a sandwich! Our version features cranberry sauce, gravy, sausage stuffing, and sliced turkey warmed up and served on sliced whole grain bread. So so delicious!
Turkey Wild Rice Soup
Serves 6 with extra for the freezer
1 roasted turkey carcass with extra meat
2 bay leaves
1 large onion, diced
1/2 bunch celery, diced
1 medium leek, white and light green, sliced in rounds
1/2 bunch fresh thyme or sage leaves, minced
3 large carrots, diced
3 large parsnips, diced
2 turnips, peeled and diced
1 cup wild rice
3 cups picked turkey meat
1/2 cup frozen green peas (call me old-fashioned)
To make the broth:
Pick the meat from your leftover turkey and add any other leftover bits, you’ll need (about 4 cups turkey meat). Place the turkey bones in a large stock pot, add the cleaned trimmings from the onions, leeks, carrots, parsnips, and celery along with the bay leaves and the stems from the cleaned and chopped thyme or sage. Cover with water, (about 4 quarts or so), slowly bring to a boil, then simmer for at least 45 minutes to an hour. Skim any foam that rises to the top and discard.
To make the soup:
Strain the broth and reserve. Now skim a bit of the fat that has risen to the top of the strained broth into your soup pot and begin sweating the prepared onion, celery and leek, along with the minced thyme or sage. When the onions and leeks are transparent, 8 to 10 minutes, add the carrots, parsnips, and turnips cover with broth, and simmer for about 20 minutes. Now add the wild rice and simmer for another 20-25 minutes. To finish, add the chopped turkey meat along with the peas. (Use the petite peas as opposed toregular peas as they are less starchy and sweeter.) Simmer for another 5 minutes and check the seasoning.