Sunday, December 13, 2015

Don’t throw away the carcass: Turkey and daikon soup

This post is not a recipe per se, but more of my thoughts as a complete extremist for stretching the most out of the groceries I buy. In additional to usual suspects of leftovers, my fridge is always flooded with a sea of Ziploc bags serving as individual cryo-cells for wine, old coffee, half-eaten overripe bananas, cooked rice, bread ends, cookie bits and my personal favorite, pieces of roasted chicken, bone carcasses from both cooked and raw animals.  However, I feel that the good intention of a collect-store-freeze habit can quickly turn into a hoarding practice. Your fridge becomes a graveyard, where “good foods go to die”, as Nigella Lawson said in her book “How to eat”. It is unfortunate but not uncommon.


I have come to terms with the fact that I have an almost pathological inability to throw away the bone carcass once the roasted meat has been carved out. My options are 1) to pleasurably chew on them or 2) use them to make broth. The former is obviously my unapologetic guilty pleasure, but when there is a heaping pile of bones, it is wiser to give my molars a break, and turn to a more reasonable solution of making a stock.

I am almost always lazy, and will find any excuse to use good chicken concentrate to make my stock as an ingredient for my cooking. But, when I actually want to pay an undivided attention to gobbling spoonfuls of the pure broth as a soup, I choose to make the stock myself. Honestly, making a good chicken stock is neither difficult nor labor-intensive. I make the process a lot more cumbersome than it deserves because I am one of those without any drop of patience, who opens the pot lid every 10 minutes to check with the hope that the food will cook faster. It just unfortunately happens that I register every unnecessary trip to the stove-top as a demanding chore. Talk about self-imposed abuse.
My all-time favorite is poultry bone stock with daikon (No, it does not have a pretty exotic name). I preferred the bones of roasted organic turkey legs (Yea, I know I sound boogey by intentionally using the word “organic” here. But, it does taste better).  I want the broth to be rich and lip-smackingly savory rather than clear and pristine, so I boiled the roasted bones in high heat along with daikon slices. The daikon slices lends the soup a subtle sweetness, that is neither overpowering nor unyielding – a perfect tug-of-war. The final stock turns into this cloudy milk that feels both luxurious and complex. 

Of course, I can jumble up this hazy elixir with noodles or other vegetables, and this is something I would normally do. But, sometimes, circumstances call for my inner purist, and this soup is one of those times. I had this soup for lunch today, and this is the soup that is worthwhile of every single step between my bedroom and kitchen.

what to do with leftover bones

Ingredients
  • Bones of 2 roasted turkey leg ( Substitute with bones of 5 roasted chicken drumsticks)
  • 2 chicken concentrate packages (From Trader’s Joe)
  • 1 lbs. of daikon slices (about 1/2 inch thick)
  • 3 cloves of garlic (whole)
  • ½ inch knob of ginger (peeled)
  • 4 quarts of water
  • a sprinkle of turmeric (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Instructions
  • Place all the ingredients in a stockpot.
  • I know it sounds ironic that I am using chicken concentrate packages. If you prefer not to use those, double your amount of bone.
  • Bring to a rolling boil.
  • Reduce the heat to medium.
  • Let it simmer for one hour.




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