Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thansgiving Left-overs Turkey Soup

As you know by now, I am mostly vegetarian. Most vegetarians would say there is no such thing. So, maybe I'm flexitarian. I usually eat vegetarian, however I will eat fish occasionally and chicken every once in awhile. It's been at least two years since I've had any kind of beef. Extremely rarely I might have pork. Since I will eat chicken, I figured why not have turkey this year?

I used to always make this soup after Thanksgiving and everyone loved it. So, I went ahead and made it this year (I skipped all turkey last year). I started it last night by taking the carcass and gently boiling it for about an hour and a half in enough water to cover. Then, I let it cool so that I could work with it: I strained the solids from the liquid into a very large bowl I had sitting in the sink because I knew I had more broth than the bowl could accommodate.

Once I had the meat and bones in my largest strainer, I poured the broth back into the pot. I let the bones and meat cool for a bit in the strainer. Then, I began taking the meat from the bones. I do this slowly and carefully by hand so that I discard everything except the meat.

I then put the meat back into the pot with the broth; there wasn't a whole lot, but I think there's enough to keep the soup flavorful. I added the following that were left over from Thanksgiving dinner: corn, mashed potatoes, dressing, and gravy; these I stirred into the broth until the potatoes and dressing were well incorporated and no longer lumpy. Next I added frozen mixed vegetables. That's where I stopped last night. Because I added the remaining ingredients straight from the refrigerator it cooled everything down enough that I could put it all back into the refrigerator and go to bed.

This afternoon I will bring this all to a slow boil, then gently simmer it for at least an hour. I'll add no yolk egg noodles and cook them as instructed on the package. There you have it! I have used all sorts of leftovers in this soup in the past, but these are the ingredients I have on hand this year. We really like the mashed potatoes and dressing in the soup because they basically dissolve and thicken the broth.

I have to tell you a little about my becoming mostly vegetarian. I read this book called The China Study that discusses the relationship between what we eat and diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Well, I've had cancer and hope not to have it again (16 years ago, uterine cancer, completely cured). I also have high cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure (as well as too much weight). I've been working very hard at getting these all under control. After reading this book, I stopped eating red meat - that's the only change I made in my lifestyle at that time and my cholesterol started dropping into a more normal range. I was able to stop taking some medications. Since that time I re-joined Weight Watchers and began exercising daily. My blood chemistry and pressure is starting to come back into normal ranges - I hope to be able eventually to be off all medications. I've lost 17 pounds and while I've been at a plateau for some time now, I've not gained any back.

Luckily my family loves vegetables. Michael and I had already been eating almost vegetarian, so this hasn't been a completely drastic change for us. I don't know that the turkey soup is all that healthy, but I can think of other things to eat that would be much worse. I'll be sure to let you know how it all turns out.

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