Ever just get in a really intense cooking mood, just to see where it goes? I do this sometimes, mainly to learn a new technique, but also just to get some “cook” out of my system.
I did this the other day when I had a moral obligation to use turkey bones. (You know, the same creepy obligation that requires you to make quick breads when your bananas go brown.) I wanted to learn to make brown stock. It may have been haphazard, but it worked, and it was step one to a quite yummy dinner! And, it ended up just being about enjoying the process. Even if I cheated really badly at the end.
If I haven’t mentioned it, we ended up frying our gargantuan turkey (from Farm Girl Natural Foods in Perryville, Arkansas) on New Year’s Day, since I was sick on Thanksgiving. After enjoying it with friends, blackeyed peas and coconut lime cupcakes, I kept the bones for stock. Yes, turkey doesn’t have a lot of marrow and such for gloriously gelatinized stock, but they’re bones, and as the LOLcats would say, they haz flavor. (The turkey itself was amazing, too! Definitely buying from Farm Girl again.)
This could get really long, so lemme esplain in bullets what came to pass, over two days:
- Consulted my new On Cooking textbook. A nerd that way, I am. Had to try brown stock after reading The Making of a Chef.
- Roasted the turkey bones at 375 degrees, about 1 hour.
- Removed bones to huge pot, poured off fat, deglazed pan of yummy bits w/water while over two stovetop burners. The resulting yum-sludge is called “deglazing liquor.” Also goes in pot.
- Dumped mirepoix (carrot, celery, onion dice) into pan, cooked until caramelized. Also in pot.
- Covered bones, mirepoix, etc. w/cold water, peppercorns, bay leaves, carrots, celery, etc. and simmered about 5 hours.
- Strain, chill in ice bath, refrigerate overnight, lift fat off top (there wasn’t much). (Now we have brown stock, boys and girls, the beginning of several mother sauces we’ll discuss another time!)
- Diced and boiled some lovely Yukon Gold potatoes. Love those.
- Diced up some turkey breast and leg meat that was pulled off earlier, and diced some more carrots and celery. Very slightly softened veggies in pan w/oil, added turkey to warm it up.
- Made something close to a brown sauce by making a roux (4T butter + 4T flour), adding a bit of cold brown stock to break it down, and then adding more stock until I got 3-4 cups. Simmered w/thyme, bay leaf, S&P until thickened and held warm.
- Oiled a large baking dish and put in veggie/turkey/potatoes. Poured the brown sauce over all.
Now, here is where I caved. All this work, all this from-scratch goodness. And what do I do? I go and get an idea. POT PIE. And do I feel like making a scratch crust at this point? Of course not.
I hate to admit it. You know by now I don’t use much processed food. I only keep these for the hubs, who loves them.
Again, I hate to admit it, but it turned out pretty well. I unrolled the boogers (the jumbo size kind) on top, covered with a cookie sheet (coulda used foil) so it would heat through, then removed the sheet and baked until it was brown, about 15 minutes.
Whew. Are you tired? I am.
But it was gooood!!! Even better the next day, after the brown sauce had set up a little better and had an even better flavor and texture.
I don’t really expect any of you to follow along and make such a thing. I just wanted to demonstrate that it is good to chase the occasional culinary rabbit, even if you have to finish it off with a processed bag of plastic Easter grass.
BONUS FOOD PHOTO:
I made these tonight, so I’ll have a bit of bread in the morning and some buns for dinner tomorrow night. Gonna make some kind of sandwich out of flank steak I have marinating. Here’s the recipe on AllRecipes for the rolls…absolutely killer, and you can make a whole loaf out of it if you want. I recommend using a whole yeast packet rather than the amount listed.
More soon about my day at Pulaski Tech, getting ready for culinary school! I’m so excited!!!!