Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving Thanks to the Day Before Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Day, kitchens across America join in the collective cacophony of pots and pans banging together in an attempt to get the feast to the table.  My kitchen is no different, joyful in the din of making dinner.  The day before Thanksgiving is a different matter entirely.  Then it is only me, the cat, and perhaps a glass of wine, as the building blocks of the blowout are quietly prepared.

The day before Thanksgiving used to mean hand to hand combat with traffic as I made my way to my parents.  Even when I started making the annual dinner, it was a battle to get out of NYC to get home.  One dish may be thrown together, but rattled nerves and razor sharp knives are not good bedfellows.  Then one year, due to an unexpected plethora of vacation days, I took the day off.  The scales fell from my eyes as I saw how easy, and relaxing, it was to crank out dish after dish.  When the big day dawned, I was so much more relaxed and in control having made about 60% of the meal already.

Yesterday was no different.  I was sipping my coffee as I prepped onions and carrots for the turkey stock.  Popping them in the oven, along with a pair a turkey wings, gave me the added bonus of having the house smell like Thanksgiving two days in a row.  Soon the cranberry sauce was out of the way, the dessert was cooling on a rack, the first course was in the oven and I was prepping  veggies for the stuffing.  I had spent the whole day in the kitchen, rocking out to a countdown of the 1043 best classic rock tunes and having an all around good time.  Led Zepplin provides the best soundtrack to dice an onion by, just in case you were wondering.

Rich Turkey Stock for Gravy  

One large onion
Two medium carrots
Two turkey wings
Vegetable oil
Thyme or other fresh herbs
Pepper corns

  1. Peel and roughly chop onion 
  2. Peel and roughly chop carrots
  3. Place in roasting pan with turkey legs and drizzle oil over everything.  Just a small amount of oil to  facilitate browning.
  4. Place pan into a preheated 450 degree oven for one hour or until wings are brown
  5. Place wings and vegetables in a stock pot.  Add water to cover.  You are looking to have at least a quart of stock at the end of cooking, so be sure to add more than a quart of water.
  6. Pour roasting juices from pan into another vessel so that the fat can be removed.  Add defatted liquids to stock pot.
  7. Deglaze roasting pan with water.  Add the liquid to the stock pot.
  8. Bring to a simmer and cook for one hour, skimming the scum off the top of the stock.
  9. After one hour, add the thyme, pepper corns and other fresh herbs to the pot.  Cook an additional 2-3 hours until the stock is dark and rich tasting.
  10. Strain into a large vessel using a colander.
  11. Re-strain using a small mesh sieve if desired.
  12. Restrain yourself from drinking it all, you need it for gravy remember.


Fresh Local and Best said...

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Chow and Chatter said...

great stock and hope your thanksgiving was wonderful

Tasty Trix said...

Cooking by yourself with music (I love to chop to Dave Brubeck!) while sipping some wine is the best.