The bird that keeps on giving
I’ve always loved Thanksgiving leftovers, but it’s only recently that I’ve made the most of packing the freezer with leftover turkey. Ever since the year that unexpected guests left us with no leftovers, we’ve always bought a bigger turkey than we could eat. This year, it was just over nineteen pounds; a lot for three adults and one turkey-eating child!
But never fear, we were up to the task. I think we happily ate Thanksgiving leftovers for three days straight. By the end of the weekend, though, I was ready to move on to some other foods, and it was time for our annual pot-pie-making marathon. Steve (slightly on the mend from his injured back) took on the job of picking the turkey clean and chopping the meat. I did the rest, from chopping the veggies to making the white sauce.
The result was seven pies (some with a top crust, some frozen topless for a later addition of biscuits) plus a couple of casserole pans. Definitely our biggest batch EVER. I’ve never made a batch of white sauce in my stockpot before, but I needed to for this many pies. Most went straight into the freezer, but one went into the oven–too late for dinner, but the perfect evening snack. Steve dubbed the pie “perfect.” When I told him there were six more in the freezer, he cried with delight, “We’re rich!”
But the pies were not the end of the turkeying around here. Although I’ve made turkey soup before, it’s honestly never been that thrilling to me. Last year, though, I was inspired by this article to convert my turkey carcass into stock for cooking. The actual making of the stock is not a big deal; straining and getting everything into jars is a bit of a project and a bit of a mess (I’m still working on the best technique for this)–but the result is many many jars of wonderful stock to go in the freezer. The yield was twelve quarts this year.
Of course, it wasn’t only food that we made this week. There have also been a truly astonishing number of dishes. A little overflow from Thanksgiving, plus all the big dishes these cooking projects got dirty. Huge stockpots and our biggest mixing bowls. Every paring knife. Strainers and casseroles and cutting boards. Not well-timed, between Steve’s injury and a work trip to Atlanta–but short of freezing all the turkey, the timetable wasn’t too flexible. It’s challenge enough to keep up with the normal accumulation of dishes, but the extras have put me over the edge this week!
I swear, this morning that sink was empty. Where do they all come from???
But at least my freezer is full of pot pie and turkey stock. I think it’s a good trade-off.