Here are links to the Thanksgiving tips that I gave in blog posts last year. (Each post below has links to the next tip and/or the last tip at the bottom.) Happy Thanksgiving!
Thanksgiving gets a great deal of attention every year. For many, it is a time for families to see each other over a large traditional meal. Thanksgiving is the American feast. I like the idea of being thankful for the good things in my life. I happen to love the tradition, and to love eating the old favorites, prepared from real food. Yet I must confess something. I also love to cook the Thanksgiving feast.
Yes, it is a lot of work. Especially when you add the trimmings, such as homemade stuffing and real gravy, made with fresh broth and the magnificent turkey drippings. But to see the joy it brings to those who eat it-that is truly fulfilling. And chances are that your work will be very much appreciated.
And I want to confess something else. It is not that complicated. If you get real ingredients, even average cooking skills will result in a wonderful meal. I make a turkey, a stuffing, roast some vegetables in the pan with the turkey, roast some sweet potatoes on the side, make some simple boiled vegetables, and a wonderful gravy from the drippings. None of these items are difficult to prepare. It is just that there are a lot of them, and some are time consuming. The solution is planning and organization.
I plan the cooking of each dish, organize the ingredients, start early in the morning, and it always goes well. And the smell of the roasting turkey, lovingly basted with butter, is just magnificent.
Often, you can also get family members and friends to help with some of the tasks, and it can become a fun project, with a result that everyone will enjoy.
It has become common for supermarkets to offer people a full Thanksgiving meal, which just needs to be reheated, for a large amount of money. I am certain that no reheated meal from a store can possibly compete with a home cooked meal of real food. Food prepared for people you love or like, with love, has a special quality all its own.
After the feast, turkey leftovers are considered a problem by many people. Not me. Here is a link to a recipe for the turkey broth I make after every Thanksgiving, which uses those leftovers to create a wonderful traditional broth:
Happy Thanksgiving! May you and yours eat well!
This post is part of Real Food Wednesday blog carnival.
One of the almost inevitable issues created by the Thanksgiving feast is what to do with the leftovers. One of the recipes in Tender Grassfed Meat is the best solution I have come up with. Not only does it solve the problem, it gives you a delicious, flavorful broth full of nutrients.
This is a traditional broth, using only real food. Even the salt is unrefined. In fact, this recipe works great for those on Paleo or Primal diets. The only exception would be those whose version of a Paleo or Primal diet excludes salt. I am convinced that the cave people ate salt. First, if you do not get enough salt, you die. They survived and thrived. Second, every hunter-gatherer group ever studied added salt to their food, at least some of the time. They got their salt from the same source the cave people probably did—salt licks. They found the salt licks the same way—by tracking animals, because they knew the animals would know where to find salt. Yes, even wild animals eat salt, and they know where to find it.
I have gotten very positive feedback on this recipe. If you do not have giblets, the soup will still be great. Here it is:
This broth is THE solution for leftover turkey, for all of it. The leftover turkey bones become a valued asset, contributing minerals, natural gelatin, and many nutrients. I always save the turkey drumsticks for this broth, as the drumstick’s meat and many tendons transform into a wonderful gelatin in the broth. You can also use turkey wings, which are often sold separately. Turkey wings are wonderful for broth due to their high natural gelatin content. Turkey broth, much like chicken broth, is delicious and nourishing.
You will need a large stockpot for this one. Make sure that it is stainless steel, not aluminum. The long cooking time is necessary to combine the flavors, and to get the nutrients out of the bones.
Makes 6 to 8 quarts
Leftover bones and carcass from a roasted turkey, or 4 to 6 pounds turkey wings
Turkey neck, (if available)
Enough filtered water to cover the bones by 2 to 3 inches
½ cup raw organic apple cider vinegar
ASSORTED ROOT VEGETABLES
1 large organic onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
4 stalks of organic celery, coarsely chopped
4 large organic carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
4 cloves of organic garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
Several chicken giblets (if available)
Turkey giblets, (if available)
1 bunch of organic Italian parsley, each stalk cut into 2 or 3 pieces
2 tablespoons coarse unrefined sea salt
- Put the turkey into the pot, except for the giblets. Add the water and the vinegar. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.
- Add all the vegetables, except the parsley. Heat the pot until the water begins a strong simmer. This will take a while due to the large volume of ingredients and water.
- When the water is close to boiling, remove all the scum that rises to the top with a skimming spoon. This can also take a while, but is necessary.
- Once the scum is gone, add the giblets, parsley, and the salt.
- Cover and simmer gently for 12 to 14 hours.
Using a ladle, strain into jars, cover, and refrigerate once the bottles have cooled down. The fat will rise to the top, and will solidify in the refrigerator. This fat cap will help preserve the broth. The fat should be removed before the broth is reheated.
This recipe was inspired by the broth-making techniques demonstrated in Sally Fallon Morell’s wonderful book on traditional cooking, Nourishing Traditions.
Tender Grassfed Meat contains many traditional recipes for broth, as well as grassfed meat.