Some years ago I read a book by Rose Prince: The New English Kitchen. In it she describes how she makes good use of a lovely, free range chicken over several meals. The principle of buying the best and then making the most of it appeals to me. Here is the Tyrannell take on the concept; it works just as well with a turkey in a Welsh kitchen.
The Main Event
We always buy a large free range Turkey from Eric Bujok in our nearest town, Builth Wells, and it feeds us for weeks. Of course, the main event is the Christmas Day feast, so do what is traditional in your family. Then the fun starts.
- Collect all the dripping into a jug or bowl and allow to cool, scraping off the fat.
- Save the fat and the brown jelly dripping into separate bowls.
- Remove every last scrap of meat and carefully wrap it in several packages: brown meat, white meat, tiny bits.
- Break the carcase into manageable chunks and bring to the boil with enough water to cover the bones, bits of cartilage, shreds of skin and scrapings from the roasting pan. Simmer for one hour, cool and batch into 500ml plastic containers and freeze.
Now you can use these delicious things in some lovely recipes.
Mid Wales Minestrone
- Use a large pan.
- Chop an onion and gently soften in a little oil with a rasher of bacon, cut in small pieces with scissors and the rind thrown in to be removed at the end.
- Tip in a chopped clove or two of garlic, two sliced celery sticks and a grated carrot.
- Cook over a medium heat, stirring and shaking from time to time, until well softened.
- Add a tin of chopped tomatoes or up to six whole ones, chopped well.
- Cook for a further five minutes then add 500ml of brown turkey dripping.
- Simmer for half an hour then add finely chopped leeks and a selection of shredded savoy cabbage, finely sliced courgettes, grated Brussels sprouts, whatever you have and in season.
- Throw in a handful of rice at this point or, after twenty minutes, a similar amount of tiny pasta and cook for just two minutes more.
- If it is too thick or strong tasting add a little water.
- Serve with grated cheese at the table and fresh crusty wholemeal bread.
I don’t approve of peeling potatoes; a waste of time and lovely flavoury skins.
- Simply scrub and cut into bite size pieces (this is the way Alice likes them) or larger if you prefer.
- Par boil or steam for about five minutes, shake and dry, then carefully tip into a hot pan with some of your saved turkey fat.
- It will take about an hour to cook them in the hot oven.
- Turn a couple of times so that the cut surfaces face down and become crisp.
Not the most elegant name. I’m working on a better one. However, this is a top favourite using the white meat and little pieces (because by day three I have eaten most of the brown as it is the very best for cold cuts and pickle – see Seeds and Pickles).
Take about two handfuls of chopped turkey, some scraps of ham if you have some, a chopped, cooked sausage of any kind, or a rasher of cooked bacon, two handfuls of any cooked green vegetable (peas and celery work very well) a tablespoon of grainy mustard and a tablespoon of sherry. Stir into the White Sauce made to the recipe in Time Saving Tips from the Tyrannell Kitchen. Turn into an oven proof dish and sprinkle over a handful of porridge oats and another of grated cheese – any hard variety will do. Bake for about 35 minutes in a medium oven, giving a few extra in the hot oven if it needs a little more crisping and browning. We like this with a big jacket potato on the side.
Leek, Onion and Potato Soup
Any standard recipe will do (Delia Smith has a classic version) and it will be immeasurably improved with the turkey bone stock. A swirl of cream, if you have a little languishing in the fridge, will add a smooth finish.
- Frozen cooked meat loses the lovely texture of the freshly cooked product but it is fine in pies.
- Frozen stock is a life saver and shows no deterioration for a year in the freezer. 500ml blocks are useful if you have a family of four.
- If you are too busy to boil the bones, save them in the feezer until you have more time.
- Small quantities of fat are fine for a few weeks in the fridge if they are skimmed and free from particles of meat or traces of dripping. Larger amounts should be kept in the freezer in glass jars or plastic containers. Goose fat, for example, will keep for a year like this.
A week of festive food
So, you have had at least five days and probably more of lovely varied meals from your turkey. The only things that have been thrown away are the twice cooked bones and they can be composted by the council food recycling programmes in many areas.
This makes what started as an expensive treat into very good value indeed. You will probably have fat, dripping, stock and scraps of meat still in your freezer so wait a few weeks and enjoy the whole routine again.
Here’s how we handle Shrove Tuesday.