Friday, November 23, 2007

Turkey Chili Recipe

If you have a turkey carcass lying around after Thanksgiving, and enjoy spicy Southwestern style food, try my turkey chili recipe. Much tastier than a "traditional" turkey soup. My family loves it.

Omaha1's turkey chili

1 turkey carcass
turkey meat (4-6 cups, chopped)
2 28-oz. cans crushed tomatoes
1 15-oz. can chili beans
1 med. onion, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup anaheim or jalapeno peppers, chopped
2 T. lard or vegetable oil
1 carrot, chopped
4-5 tomatillas, peeled, chopped
3/4 c. fresh cilantro, chopped
1 t. ground cumin
1 t. black pepper
1/2 t. thyme
1/4 t. sage
cayenne pepper to taste
4 limes, juiced
sharp cheddar, shredded
sour cream
flour tortillas

Place turkey carcass in stockpot and cover with water. Boil until bones fall apart. Strain stock and retain. If time allows, chill stock and scrape off fat. Otherwise much fat can be removed by dropping a layer of ice cubes in stockpot and removing as fat congeals on them. Continue to boil stock uncovered until reduced to 4-6 cups. Sautee onion, celery, peppers, carrot, and garlic in lard or vegetable oil until tender. Add tomatillas, cumin, black pepper, 1/2 c. cilantro, sage, and thyme, stir until heated. Add sauteed vegetables and spices to reduced stock. Add canned tomatoes, chopped turkey meat, and lime juice. Simmer for at least two hours or until flavors are blended. Add cayenne pepper to taste if not spicy enough. Add chili beans for last fifteen minutes of cooking.

Ladle into bowls and top with shredded cheddar, dollop of sour cream, and remainder of chopped cilantro. Serve with tortillas.

(Can also be made with chicken & chicken stock)

Saturday, November 17, 2007

A fishing poem...

Moving around in the dark, I can't see,
I don't want to wake anyone.
Find all my poles, find my bait, find my shoes,
I'll get a head start on the sun.
Cast to that spot in the wake of the moon,
The muskrats and stars are my friends,
Sit in the shadows and silently wait,
Until my pole suddenly bends.
Words can't explain the adrenaline rush,
When I feel that tug on my line.
Days that begin with me catching a fish
Always seem to end up just fine.

Thanksgiving Thoughts & Turkey Gravy Instructions

I am looking forward to Thanksgiving Day this year. I will be cooking a traditional dinner. My menu includes roasted stuffed turkey, mashed potatoes, turkey gravy, sweet potatoes with pecan topping, peas, rolls, homemade cranberry sauce, rolls, olives, and apple and pumpkin pies. In the past I have added fruit salad but that never seems to be very popular so why bother.

When I was younger I was intimidated by the thought of making gravy. For some reason I did not think I could do it, and usually invited over a mature, gravy-making woman to all of my dinners that involved gravy, or else I bought canned or instant gravy. But with the advent of a small mayonnaise jar and Wondra flour the process has become simplicity itself. To make gravy, pour all of the meat drippings and juice into a saucepan. Fill a small jar 2/3 full of water. Slowly stir in Wondra flour with a fork until you have a thick liquid consistency. Screw the lid on the jar tightly and shake vigorously until lumps are gone. Gradually pour the water & flour into the meat juices, stirring constantly. Heat the mixture over fairly high heat, continuing to stir. Bring to a boil, adding more flour or water until the desired consistency is reached. Constant stirring is the key to successful gravy. You can also add as much pepper as you want. By my calculations, you can never have too much pepper.

There is nothing "gourmet" about my Thanksgiving menu. My only reward is the cessation of conversation as my guests consume and are consumed by the delicious, mild flavors and textures of a traditional turkey dinner. As always, I am overwhelmed by the blessing conferred by the company of friends and family, and the almost incomprehensible bounty of food available abundantly and cheaply to American citizens. Thanksgiving indeed!

Omaha1 is back!

I have been terribly busy throughout the summer months and until the end of October. My seasonal business is now closed for the year and is still mine in spite of my efforts to sell it. I also received a promotion at my job, and while the additional income is certainly welcome, it has added to the pressure in my already-busy life.

I have missed blogging and poetry the last few months and hope to spend more time on it now. The only interference will come from trying to clean up my dirty house, which has been sorely neglected since the middle of April. I have the bathroom and about half the kitchen done now, just need to make the living & dining rooms presentable before Thanksgiving, when I will be entertaining several family members & guests.

My most memorable achievement this summer was catching this lovely eight pound catfish. I did not eat him, he went back in the water after I took his photograph.