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Sunday, November 12, 2006

Stone Soup Thanksgiving

In Case you've not heard the story:
by: Author Unknown, Source Unknown
Many years ago three soldiers, hungry and weary of battle, came upon a small village. The villagers, suffering a meager harvest and the many years of war, quickly hid what little they had to eat and met the three at the village square, wringing their hands and bemoaning the lack of anything to eat.
The soldiers spoke quietly among themselves and the first soldier then turned to the village elders. "Your tired fields have left you nothing to share, so we will share what little we have: the secret of how to make soup from stones."
Naturally the villagers were intrigued and soon a fire was put to the town's greatest kettle as the soldiers dropped in three smooth stones. "Now this will be a fine soup", said the second soldier; "but a pinch of salt and some parsley would make it wonderful!" Up jumped a villager, crying "What luck! I've just remembered where some's been left!" And off she ran, returning with an apronful of parsley and a turnip.

As the kettle boiled on, the memory of the village improved: soon barley, carrots, beef and cream had found their way into the great pot, and a cask of wine was rolled into the square as all sat down to feast.
They ate and danced and sang well into the night, refreshed by the feast and their new-found friends. In the morning the three soldiers awoke to find the entire village standing before them. At their feet lay a satchel of the village's best breads and cheese. "You have given us the greatest of gifts: the secret of how to make soup from stones", said an elder, "and we shall never forget."

The third soldier turned to the crowd, and said: "There is no secret, but this is certain: it is only by sharing that we may make a feast". And off the soldiers wandered, down the road.

Now - this is coming from someone who is NOT cooking more than 2 turkeys at once, and I realize this. OK?

Has anyone considered taking the turkey carcasses and making broth with them for a second meal of soup?

Roast turkey/chicken bones/skin makes THE best broth EVER. Throw in tidbits of stuffing, carrots, a tomato or two, celery, scraps of meat, seasoning, red or white beans and rice or pasta and you've got an incredibly complete meal for virtually no cost. It's more work when you might not want anything to do with a kitchen, but it does give you 2 meals out of 1, making the donations stretch that much further... That's the only reason I bring it up. NOT because I expect it to be done. It's only a thought for if you have the energy and want/need to serve more people.

I've even been known to take left over tossed salad (no dressing on it) and throw that in. Iceberg lettuce gives a great buttery flavor to anything it's cooked in. The stuffing gives the soup a slightly creamy texture AND seasons it with little effort. Beans and rice cheaply fill in the cracks. Tomatos just *add* to the flavor, without it becoming minestrone. Celery because there's usually some in the fridge. Carrots - ditto. Potatoes maybe, but they can overwhelm a soup easily.

Make the broth with the bones, the tomato and the stuffing. Cover all with cold water, bring to a slow boil, simmer for a couple of hours. Done. Strain. Add the other ingredients and simmer for about an hour and it's done. And it does 90% of the work. It can be frozen for later or served right then. (curry is what Campbell's smell so good - so you can add it if you like the Campbell's nostalgia)

A small amount of tomato paste or sauce can double for the whole raw tomatoes. Celery salt really doesn't take the place of celery, but if you have more stuffing, just use that - it has bits of celery in it.

The broth also makes a great base for cream soups, in case someone wants to take the carcasses themselves...

If you have leftover gravy, mix that in last minute to make the broth a little more full-bodied. This is truly a stone soup kind of thing. Just about anything can go in and it'll taste great. Plus it uses leftovers that would normally get thrown out.

I grew up in a family of farmers and post depression grandparents where you used EVERYTHING to make your food stretch as far as possible. Then, I found out it tasted BETTER *and* is better for you. Broth made like this is actually quite high in protein, calcium and other minerals.

Share with whomever you think might be interested. I honestly don't know who is cooking Thanksgiving en masse. I do know that CitiImpact has just shipped *800* turkeys to the Gulf Coast for Thankgsiving. WOW

Thanks for tolerating me and my bright ideas.

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