Recently, a friend read our post from last winter on eating leftovers, and emailed to ask for Michelle’s turkey frame soup recipe. With Thanksgiving hard upon us, it’s a good time to post this, although, like most of our family’s cooking, this isn’t so much a recipe as a description of one of the many ways we fix a meal.
After stripping a turkey of the easily accessed meat, we’re left with the “frame” of bones sitting in a pan of turkey debris in the bottom of the pan: meat and skin scraps, stuffing fragments, loose bones, and oils. We empty all of these into a large pot, add a judicious amount of fresh water (more than to cover the contents, about ½ to ¾ full) and set it on low heat, usually the wood stove in our case. Let it come to a boil if it will, but mostly let it simmer.
After the meat begins to fall from the bones, remove from heat and strain out any bones that come easily. Remove the meat, then set bones aside to cool, then refrigerate. These can easily make a second round of soup at a later time.
If allowed to boil long enough, the bones and cartilage will pulverize almost completely. All of the dissolved calcium and nutrients goes into the soup.
Return the meat to the soup. Add any variety of root vegetables, chopped cabbage, and celery depending on taste, whim, and availability. For seasoning we lean toward sage and other traditional poultry spices to add to those already in the mix from the turkey. We may add rice, barley, or other grains, or noodles. Our favorite is to add dumplings later on. Allow to simmer, all day if you like, till dinnertime. You won’t need to call people to the table twice.