Thursday, October 24, 2013

Everything Is Just Souper... Thanks For Asking! ;)

Last month when I was sick, and then last week when I was sick again, I really, really missed chicken noodle soup. For those who don't know, I have a chicken sensitivity/allergy/reaction/I-have-no-idea-but-it-isn't-pretty, so chicken noodle soup is off-limits. And while beef-vegetable soup soothes a sore throat and body just as well, it isn't quite the same. What's more, I've been unable to find premade turkey broth or stock to make my own!

I've been toying with the idea of roasting a turkey myself so I could enjoy some poultry and use the carcass to make broth, but the idea of roasting a whole turkey seemed a bit... daunting. For one thing, there's my oven, which is, ahem, challenging to say the least. For another, I'm not actually sure a roasting pan with a turkey in it would fit in my oven. And last, a whole turkey seems like an expensive undertaking for a lot of meat for one single person, even if I do love me some turkey. So I had kind of put the idea on the back burner.

Then last week, wonder of wonder and miracle of miracles, I stopped in at the local upscale grocery store (probably to get an Orangina - I'm so addicted right now!) and right next to the rotisserie chickens was rotisserie-style turkey breast!!!

I was really excited, but busy, so I left without one and prayed they'd be there the next time I stopped by - and they did!

On Monday, I picked up a roast turkey breast on the way home from work and stuck it in the fridge. On Tuesday morning, after I got home from dropping Abby off at school, I picked the turkey over, pulled off most of the white meat, and put the remaining bones, skin, and dark meat, as well as half a coarsely chopped onion, a couple chunks of carrot, some parsley flakes, black pepper, and salt in my trusty crockpot with enough water to cover most of it.

Just want to interject here and say that I recognize this is an imperfect combination for broth, but my pantry, freezer, and fridge are the least-stocked they've been since I first moved. Money's a little tight right now, I'm trying to put off filling my fridge and my propane tank til this weekend (cuz I have a weekend job! Yay!). Cut me some slack. :)

I diced the white meat, set aside most for the soup, and ate the rest for lunch in turkey-salad sliders - yum! :)

I let the crockpot simmer all day and night, adding and on Wednesday when I came home I scooped out all the solids, gave it a quick strain, and had lovely, lovely turkey broth. :) Success!

That was only half my mission, though, as I wanted a few bags of turkey noodle soup in the freezer for the next time I was under the weather and needed comfort.

So I put the broth back in the crockpot, added chopped carrots, celery, and some finely chopped onion, the rest of the chicken, and half a bag of medium egg noodles, as well as a little extra water.

I wish I'd waited a little longer to add the noodles - dumb mistake and I do know better - but they still turned out fine, and the soup was absolutely heavenly. It rained all day, and I could barely wait for the veggies to cook through before I filled a big bowl and devoured it.

I spent the day working on different crocheted items for the craft fair, snacking on soup, and watching some of my favorite-but-often-overlooked movies. And I took a little nap. And when I woke up late afternoon to go teach swim, it almost instantly cleared up and filled with brilliant autumn sunshine, so it ended well, too. :) I have half a bag of egg noodles left over, and I'm imagining either a yummy bowl of beef stroganoff or possibly trying to make turkey alfredo... Mmm.

Last week, before I started my turkey-broth-making adventure, I made my first-ever batch of soup in the crockpot. It started with a really lovely cut of steak I'd bought and then become too busy to cook, and I was afraid it would go bad and I would have wasted it, which just wouldn't do. So I threw it in the crockpot with some beef broth, a bag of mixed veggies, a can of kidney beans, and some spices, and let it cook most of the day. That night I fished out my very tender meat, diced it up, and voila! Beef-vegetable soup. :) I ate it for dinner and portioned it into single-serving ziplocs for the freezer, and I can now say that while it was really good the first time, it's even better reheated. Especially over rice, which is how I ate it tonight. Just another nice thing to have in my freezer!

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