Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thanksgiving Iron Chef Leftover Edition Round II

What an amazing Thanksgiving this year at the Blaneknhaus! Dare I say Best Tday Ever? Well, okay. I'll commit to that title. We've been prepping for days (weeks if you count the Pier One table linens!), and the holiday started at 6 a.m. when we got up to get the smoker going for the turkey. Lesson learned: just like with an oven, the "recommended" per-pound cooking time is grossly overstated. Next year we'll sleep in, since the supposed 11-hour smoke only took 6. Luckily we kept Ol' Smokey warm until dinner, where we were joined by longtime and new friends in what may be a new tradition--orphanage Thanksgiving. Nowhere else to go? Come to Hubbard!
Aside from the incredible, slow-smoked cherry and applewood turkey, there were some other fabulous recipe discoveries. Martha Stewart's Caramelized Onion and Bacon Dip was popular on the appetizer table, and the compound butter selection for the rolls was an everyday spoiler--why can't we have flavored butter choices everyday!? 

Instead of getting up before the sun for stupid Black Friday sales the next morning (or bailing right after dinner to follow this year's Screw Thanksgiving, Run Your Credit Card NOW GODDAMMIT marketing trend), we and our guests Brynne and Dan slept in, made spicy sriracha-cheddar waffles with apple butter syrup and bacon jam, and headed out for Willamette Valley wine tasting. I'm not sure how it started, but Black Friday's new haute snob tradition is wine tours the day after Thanksgiving. We battled wine limos and school buses full of tourists ("OMG we just HAVE to go to Erath!!") to visit Prive Vineyards and Anne Amie winery. We ended up in Carlton, an adorable-amazing, divinely-planned main street purely crafted out of tasting rooms and foodie boutiques. A half hour away, and I had no idea this oasis existed. Luckily there is still room in the world for holiday miracles.

One particular shop called out to me, as if the heavens had parted over its doors: The Republic of Jam. You know, dear readers, how much I cherish anything processed into a little jar. And this place didn't disappoint. Walls of creative flavors dreamed up and created in-house like Blueberry Syrah Black Pepper, Marionberry Sage, and Russian Plum (my new favorite creative condiment packed with a garlicky punch). I would have taken five of each, but I settled for the aforementioned Russian Plum and an Apricot Ginger.

Tonight, with a fridge overflowing with leftovers and a husband leaving for San Jose tomorrow (for a whole month!!!), I tried to use up as much as I could in the greatest Iron Chef Thanksgiving strategy there is: soup. I boiled the smoked turkey carcass to make a broth last night, and found a bag of Bob's Red Mill Grain and Bean Soup Mix in the pantry from my last visit. It's just dried beans, barley and other grains. Easy to recreate on your own--or even better, support the mission of Bob's Red Mill and buy a bag yourself! Don't forget a jar of Republic of Jam's Apricot Ginger. Balances out the smokiness of the turkey with a perfectly tart sweetness.

The result? A light dinner to balance out some of the post-pie guilt, and a pot's worth to freeze for some night where I don't have a smidge of the cooking motivation I just exerted this week. 

Smoked Turkey, Sweet Potato and Apricot-Ginger Soup
1 post-Thanksgiving turkey carcass (ours was smoked, but I'm sure a roasted turkey would be yummy to--albeit not as deeply flavored)
1 bag Bob's Red Mill Whole Grain and Bean Soup Mix (or three cup's worth of dried beans and grains of your choosing)
2 cups leftover Thanksgiving sweet potatoes
1 jar Republic of Jam Apricot Ginger jam
2 tbsp red curry paste
3 cloves garlic, mined
Salt and pepper to taste

The night before soup night, place the whole turkey carcass in a large Dutch oven or stock pot. Cover with water, bring to a boil, and then simmer for 4-6 hours. Cool, then fish out the bones and any unwanted skin/fat/gristle. Leave the meat in the broth, and add the beans and grains. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate overnight.

Place the pot on the stove at least 4 hours before planning to eat. Add sweet potatoes, jam, curry paste, 3 cloves garlic, and salt and pepper. Stir and slowly simmer. Allow to simmer and marinate flavors for 4-6 hours, then serve with leftover rolls. I garnished the pretty bowl above with some leftover parsley and pepitas (pumpkin seeds I bought for a recipe I didn't end up making).


  1. Love it, Tabitha. Gorgeous food, lovely writing.

  2. Awesome, Tabitha! Love, love your creativity - we are certainly kindred spirits!