*originally posted 10/18/10 by Emjayandthem
Mom was visiting us for the Thanksgiving holiday and we had no less than 17 guests in attendance. I’d been cooking for three days already so the fridge was stocked to the rafters, the garage fridge was jammed, and every spare counter-top seemed to hold a pie or appetizer.
Afterwards, while packing up the leftovers, Mom started to cover what was left of the 26 lb turkey. I began to explain that I wasn’t keeping it when I saw a look of abject horror cross her face. She tried to suppress it but there it was. Guiltily, I scraped the last of the turkey bones into the garbage. Later I tried to dodge the issue by explaining that we just didn’t have room to which she softly replied, “No turkey soup? That makes the most wonderful turkey soup you know.”
Of course I knew that. I grew up knowing that. On the farm, mom made soup all the time; hearty hamburger soups during harvest, ham soup after Easter dinner, creamy potato soup, chicken noodle soup, you name it soup. Soup was a staple in our home. Soup was a bowlful of loving care and not saved just for head colds or cold wintry days.
A few days later, after many hugs and tears, I put her on the plane back to her prairie home and reflected on what I’d nearly missed. That week I bought a rotisserie chicken, cooked it down and made homemade soup, for the first time in years. Hubby thought he’d hit Nirvana! Next came beef & rice soup, beef vegetable soup, chicken tortilla soup, ham & bean soup, you name it soup. More soup than you can ever eat! Guilt begets soup? In my case, yes, yes it did.
Flash forward to the next Thanksgiving: we were all gathered at a relative’s home and, for once, I wasn’t in charge of the meal. Later, as we cleaned up, there it was: what remained of the turkey. As I started to cover it with foil, our hostess commented, “Oh we’re not keeping that.” A look of abject horror crossed my face that I tried, but failed, to suppress. “No turkey soup? That makes the most wonderful turkey soup you know.”
It was at that moment that I knew. I knew that all Mom wanted me to do was to look and really see what I was doing. Slow down. Re-examine. See the value in what’s before you.
I get it. Thanks Mom.
MJ’s Turkey Soup:
Place all leftover bones and meat into a large stockpot, fill with water about 1/2 full. Add chopped onion & celery, seasonings (I use Mrs. Dash and a bit of garlic, salt & pepper). Bring to a boil and then cover and let simmer for about 2 hours, or until all meat has fallen from the bone. Remove from heat and carefully spoon out bones and discard. When the broth and remaining meat has cooled, shred turkey into bite sized pieces and place back into the stock.
Add 1 chicken bouillon cube and whatever chopped vegetables or noodles you like. I add: peas & carrots, shredded cabbage, more celery and onions, canned (chopped) tomatoes, corn, diced potatoes, rice or egg noodles (not usually all 3). Bring to a boil until vegetables are cooked. Season to taste.
Wonderful, economical and tastes like home.