Long Island Thanksgiving – Leftover Turkey Soup

Time to put that stock to use, that’s right; we’re talking turkey soup here. We’ll talk about turkey salad later, but as the colder air creeps in, and turkey soup is what’s on.

  • 1 quart turkey stock
  • 1/2 pound of turkey
  • 2 celery ribs chopped
  • 4 carrots chopped
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 cup wild rice
  • Thyme
  • Sea salt

Pour the stock into a soup pot on a medium heat and shake in a little sea salt. Then add the rice and let it simmer away for 20 minutes or so. Then add the carrots, celery, onion, turkey, thyme and let that simmer another 20 minutes or so to let the flavors meld together.

At this point, you could toss in some cilantro if you have some handy, and I usually have some handy as its growing in the window sill. Let that cook another couple of minutes as you fetch some bowls and crackers.

I prefer to use the wider, shallower soup bowls for this, and serve it with the crackers and leftover cranberry sauce (for the crackers of course).


Long Island Thanksgiving – Taking Stock

Post thanksgiving – taking stock, turkey stock that is. It’s a good way to finish off the remains of the bird. Once you have finished the thanksgiving feast, there is always the left over turkey. You should pick as much turkey off the carcass as you can find. Even the smallest bit will be used in our upcoming turkey salad recipe.

  • 1 picked over turkey carcass
  • Plenty of water
  • Bay leaf
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Sea salt
  • Plenty of plastic quart containers

It’s the simplest thing in the world… if you can boil water, you can make stock.

In a large stock pot, take the carcass and submerge it in water. Add some bayleaf, rosemary, thyme, sea salt. You don’t have to bundle these into a garni, or packed in a spice ball, as we will be straining these out.

Bring this to a good rolling boil, and let it boil a good half hour or so. This rolling boil is the heat needed to extract the marrow from the bones and breaks down the collagen. This packs a lot of flavor for the stock.

Once the house is fragrant with the order of hot turkey water, remove as much of the carcass as you can with tongs. Once you have most of the large bones out, place a cheese cloth over a second stock pot and strain this mixture into the second pot.

Take the second pot and leave it to cool to room temperature. Then, transfer it to the fridge overnight. Then we start the next part tomorrow.

The fat in the stock will have hardened at the top of the pot. Remove this fat cap and put the pieces in a small sauce pot on a low heat just to re-liquefy it. Then, pour this into a plastic pint container and pop it in the fridge. You can use a table spoon or two to replace butter when making rice or other things where a pat of turkey flavor is wanted.

The remaining stock can then be poured into quart containers and frozen for later use.

Long Island Thanksgiving – TURKEY

Its turkey time! And turkey is certainly a local Long Island item. The state’s department of conservation reports that the local populations have made a remarkable recovery since the wild species was threatened in the late ninetieth century. The wild turkey hunting season on Long Island is from November 21st through the 25th. But, if you don’t have the time or inclination to dress up like a pilgrim, grab a blunderbuss, and wander into the field to ‘shop local’ for a thanksgiving turkey, there are other local alternatives.

Turkeys have been farmed on Long Island since colonial times. When I was a kid living in Patchogue, there was turkey farm on Gazzola drive, right near Sills road. They made quite a racket when you drove past. Although that farm, like many other local large farms is no longer around, there are still local Turkey farms on Long Island. So, here is another shop local option for your holiday feast.

Unlike many of my other recipes, this list of ingredients harms no hogs! As for cooking the bird, my personal secret recipe will remain a secret… at least for another year.

So, tomorrow, enjoy your secret turkey recipe but remember that the results are best shared with friends and family and a remembrance of those whom we are thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving to all… and check back for more recipes after the holiday!

Long Island Thanksgiving – Island Oyster Stuffing

So let’s talk stuffing. I’m a big fan of stuffing. I think it’s what really compliments the bird. Now I know that there are a thousand and one mother’s recipes for stuffing, so feel free to share yours in the comments section.

Stuffing… Long Island style… here’s what you’ll need to bring a taste of the coast home to your house.

  • 1 bag of stuffing mix (why go to the hassle of drying your own bread cubes) about 8 or 9 cups
  • ½ pound oysters about 20 or so with their juice (about 1 cup juice)
  • 3 rashers bacon diced
  • 3 ribs celery
  • 1 apple diced
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 cup duck stock (chicken if you don’t have duck)
  • ¼ cup Duck Walk red wine
  • Sage, thyme, bay leaf garni

Start by rendering down the bacon, thick cut of course (you can use a good tbsp or two of duck fat instead of bacon here if you wanted to). Then, sauté the onion and celery until tender.

Deglaze the pan with ¼ cup or so of the Duck Walk red wine, then add in the stock, the oyster juice (clam juice if you don’t have oyster), and the garni. Bring this mixture to a boil.

Discard the garni and transfer from the pot to a large bowl. Stir in the bread-crumb stuffing. Mix this together well, and then get it to the table. Oysters, duck, wine… Long Island…

Long Island Thanksgiving – Roasted Cauliflower

Let’s talk side dish vegetables. With a ripening/harvesting date range of October through November, Long Island cauliflower is not only local, but freshly seasonal for this time of year. Now, cauliflower is most often seen on the table in a steamed or pureed form relatively unseasoned, and most people consider it rather bland.

But anything would be bland if you put no effort into it. If like many people, you steam cauliflower florets too long, letting their natural flavor dissipate, the resulting dish will be bland. But, we will infuse our cauliflower with so much flavor that it will stand up nicely next to the main dish it accompanies.

We will be roasting our cauliflower… sounds dangerous? Read on!

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled and coarsely minced
  • Lemon juice from half a lemon
  • Olive oil
  • Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper from your peppermill
  • Parmesan cheese

As there is likely to be a large bird in your oven,  cut cauliflower into florets and put in a single layer in a shallow baking tray. Toss in the garlic. Sprinkle lemon juice over cauliflower and drizzle each piece with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Place the tray in the oven. Let this roast in the oven for about 25-30 minutes, or until the top is lightly brown. Test with a fork for desired doneness. Fork tines should be able to easily pierce the cauliflower.

Remove from oven and transfer to a warm casserole dish. Sprinkle generously with Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately, or cover and leave in warm oven till its time to take it to the table.

Long Island Thanksgiving – Onion Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are a Thanksgiving ‘must-have’. Somebody usually brings this dish to the dinner as it saves the cook a good deal of time with one less thing to do. So, if you are going to make a mash potato contribution you have to start with real Long Island potatoes. There really isn’t any other option (IMHO).

  • 6 to 8 nice LI potatoes
  • 1 rasher of bacon
  • 1 medium yellow onion finely diced
  • 4 tbsp butter (the real stuff… no margarine here)
  • 1/3 cup or so of Half and Half (the real stuff… no non-dairy fat free foo foo franken-substitutes)
  • Scallion greens
  • Sea salt

Put the potatoes in a pot of lightly salted water to boil. Dice the bacon and cook over a low heat to render it down. Then, toss in the diced onion. Saute till browned. Transfer this into a large bowl.

When the potatoes are fork-tender, transfer them to this bowl. Add the butter and a little of the half and half ad start mashing. As you mash, add the remaining half and half.

Don’t mash these potatoes too smoothly… think of making a more ‘rustic’ consistency. When you’re happy with the results you’ve achieved, transfer the mashed potatoes to their serving bowl. Using scissors cut some scallion greens over them to garnish.

Now get going… you’ve got a dinner to get to!

Long Island Thanksgiving – Scallop Appetizer

After the guests have all arrived and arranged themselves, it’s time to bring out an appetizer… and what sounds more like a nice Long Island appetizer than a Long Island iced tea… well, maybe not. So, I put out a tray of bacon-wrapped bay scallops.

Here’s what you’ll need…

  • 2 pounds scallops
  • 2 pounds bacon
  • Toothpicks
  • Baking tray
  • Oven

This is one of the few recipes here I’ll use the thin-cut hickory smoked bacon rather than the thick-cut bacon.

Cut the bacon rashers in half. Wrap then around a scallop. Secure it with a toothpick. Place it on the tray. Repeat…

When the scallops are all on the tray… pop the tray into a broiler for about three minutes for each side.

Transfer these savory morsels to a nice platter and plop them before the guests… listen to the ooh’s and ah’s…

Long Island Thanksgiving – Cheese Plate

Yes, there should be a little something for the early-bird wine imbibers to nibble on as they congregate. And what is simpler than a platter of diced cheese cubes, toothpicks, and crackers.  Everybody loves cheese, right?

Click [like] if you like cheese… see, everyone likes cheese.

So, here are the cheeses that I usually put out…

  • 1 Long Island Cheese ( see recipe below)
  • 1 pound cheddar
  • 1 pound extra sharp cheddar
  • 1 pound muenster
  • 1 pound swiss
  • 1 pound port wine

I’m sure you are wondering what is Long Island Cheese. You’ve never heard of Long Island Cheese? I’ll bet you’re googling it now…

Yes, Long Island Cheese is a pumpkin… Here’s how I make MY Long Island Cheese:

  • 1 cup of Long Island Cheese pumpkin ( or other pumpkin if you can’t get LI)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 16 oz package of cream cheese

In a pot of water, boil the pumpkin with the sugar until its soft. Remove it from the water and mash… then fold in the soften cream cheese. There you have it… Long Island Cheese.

You can get your cheese at the Cheese Shoppe on Love Lane in Mattituck. Don’t forget to ask your cheese-monger if they have any other seasonal recommendations, they may surprise you!


Long Island Thanksgiving – Welcome Guests

So let’s start the second in the Thanksgiving series of posts, with the start of the thanksgiving holiday. Before the guests arrive, I welcome my not-to-be-named Mrs. Co-host with a glass of something warm and welcoming, and definitely from Long Island.

Then, as the guests arrive, they also get a warm and welcoming glass…

So, what is this warm Long Island welcome…

  • 2 bottles of Osprey Dominion Spice Wine
  • A bag of small Macintosh apples

Now, I get my spice wine from my brother who creates wonderful wines in his own artisanal operation (here on Long Island), but alas, like so many other artisanal creations, it’s not commercially available. So I recommend the next best option…

Pour two bottles of Osprey Dominion Spice Wine into a large pot and place on low heat to slowly warm. DO NOT BOIL! We’re creating a warm welcome, not a scalding.

Core and quarter the apples, as guests arrive. Place a section in a large goblet and ladle in some wine…  Kisses all around, and bring them in from the cold…

Long Island Thanksgiving Pt01 – Cranberry Sauce

A friend of mine from way-back-when school had mentioned the thanksgiving holiday (the superbowl of holidays IMHO) in response to one of my recipes. So, I figured that I would write down a couple of other recipes for a nice Long Island inspired thanksgiving… I’m going to start with the cranberry sauce.

  • 2 bags of cranberries
  • 2 cups Jamesport Vineyards Late Harvest Riesling
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • Orange zest

Combine the cranberries, wine, sugar, and water in a saucepot and cook over a low heat. Stir to prevent burnt bottom syndrome… as the berries start popping, thickening the sauce,  zest an orange over the post to add a nice citrus tone to the sauce.

This has to be the easiest side for thanksgiving apart from nuking frozen veggies! Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

So, share some of YOUR favorite thanksgiving recipes and help fight the ‘rush to Christmas’ we all seem to be putting up with… PUT THANKSGIVING BACK on the post-Halloween calendar!