Monday, November 30, 2015

Turkey soup - Wood Stove cooking


I love the turkey soup after the holiday. With the weather cold and rainy, what a perfect time to make soup.  In our house we like to use the wood stove as much as possible to cut down on the propane bill. Since the wood stove is heating the house it makes perfect sense to cook our meals right on top of the stove and make use of the generated heat.
Once familiar with how to regulate the heat, cooking on a wood stove is so easy and satisfying. 
Cooking on a wood stove is similar to cooking on an open fire while camping, but the heat is much more consistent and can be regulated easier.  For further instructions on cooking on a wood stove check a great source that I enjoy - look for  Issue #127 of 2011 Woodstove cooking by Cindi Meyers and Farm Folly
I allowed the turkey soup to cook all day while I cleaned house and completed my other chores. It works just as well as using a crock pot. Notice that the Dutch Oven I have in the pic is a footed oven. I use this over direct coals while camping or on the BBQ. For this recipe I like to use my flat bottom Dutch oven. The heat is direct and cooks better on a stove top.

Wood Stove cooking

Home made turkey soup on the wood stove

Turkey Soup on the Wood Stove.

Prep time:  30 min
Cook time 6-8 hours

I started with the bones from our families Thanksgiving turkey dinner. After carving the turkey, I like to split the back from the breast area and break into. I wrap the turkey and freeze for later use. I like to use the legs, wings, the neck skin and the breastbone area as well. The wings and legs give the soup a rich flavor. The back rib area has a lot of smaller bones to contend with, but normally has a lot of flavor from the remaining stuffing that is lodged between the ribs. 
** I used half the bones and used half as much water to fit in my Dutch Oven and to allow for a serving for two people with left-overs for another day. I kept the same portions of spices but reduced the amount of vegetables to serve two people.
The secret to a great soup is the stock.  A good stock depends on long slow cooking to extract every bit of flavor.  Use about two-thirds meat, one-third bone, and add vegetables and spices.
Ingredients for Broth
Bones from cooked 10- to 12-lb turkey

 3 quarts (12 cups) water

 1   teaspoon salt

 1/2 teaspoon pepper or about 6 pepper corns

 1/ 4 teaspoon dried sage leaves

 1 dried bay leaf 

1 sprig of Rosemary

  1  sprig  of  Thyme

  2-3 springs of parsley

  4-5 whole Allspice or whole Cloves

  1-2  cloves of garlic – crushed

  1  medium carrot

  ½ -1 onion quartered 

  1-2 medium stalks of celery chopped in half

 Soup Add Ins
1 cup chopped turkey meat
1 med sized carrot sliced and chopped
1/2 cup of frozen garden peas
1/2 cup of Basmati Rice Medley - Trader Joe's ( this is my favorite because it cooks up easy and is flavored with vegetable and is lightly spiced)

1 can of Cream of mushroom soup.
Start by
Crushung the garlic- Use the side of a large chef knife or you can use the flat side of a meat tenderizer to crush the garlic. By crushing the garlic, the garlic oils are able to escape and flavor the stock better than if left uncrushed.

 Fill your stainless steel or Dutch oven with about half the water.
Place the bones, vegetables and the herbs in the pot.  Add more
  water to cover and season with salt and pepper.

Place pot on the wood stove. The trick to cooking on a wood stove is to monitor the heat once in a while during the cooking. Just as you would watch your process in your on your kitchen stove.

Some wood stoves come with a temperature gauge. If not you can purchase one at a wood stove dealer. Ours is a disk that we can place on different parts of the stove top to measure the temperature. As you can see from the pic, our stove and temperature gauge has had a lot of use.
You want to put your pot at the hottest spot on the top of the stove and bring the stock to a boil, then move to a cooler spot on the back of your stove or cooler area on the stove or reduce the heat with less coals or wood. Let it simmer at low for at least 6-8 hours. Skim off any fat or foam from the stuffing and marrow now and then to help clarify the stock. You can adjust the temperature throughout the cooking time by adding more wood, or opening or closing the vents. You can also use a cooking trivet or a stove burner underneath the pot to help keep the pot contents from scorching.

The picture below is a great example -  from Farm Folly- Check out their
How to Cook on a Woodstove at   

Back to the Turkey Soup

After the soup has simmered for a good 6  hours or so and you have a good stock built up-

you want to remove the pot from the stove and place it on the counter on some heavy pot holders.  Remove all the ingredients and strain; place the bones in a separate bowl. Discard the vegetable and herbs unless you have another use for them, we save ours to give to our chickens and rabbits.

Let the stock broth and the bones cool. You can place them in the refrigerator to help cool faster. When carcass is cool enough to handle, pull off any meat and set side. Skim off any fat from the stock broth. 

Add stock back to pot; add meat from the bones and the remaining turkey set aside in the refrigerator.  Add the carrot, peas, rice and can of cream of chicken soup. Cook on a higher heat until rice is done. Serve with biscuits or corn bread.


Monday, November 2, 2015

Aprons A tradition in homemaking

Aprons -  Tradition that is still holding true

   I am excited to see that this tradition still holds true and that a new generation is now embracing the idea of aprons.   I want to share this from Blue Belle Farms Nouveau. Her aprons are wonderful. Such classic designs and color combinations. How wonderful it would be to slip one of these over your head and prepare that favorite dish of yours. It reminds me of a time not too long ago-

   The fall weather will soon turn to winter and the holidays will be upon us.  This is the time that I remember with the kitchens of my family filled with wonderful smells.  For my mom, it was the time to gather all the dried fruits and prepare her favorite fruitcake.  Mom’s has always been the best; moist, and full of fruits, and with a small taste of whisky that she would soak the cake in. My grandma loved baking her cookies and candies, they were always the hit with all us kids.  My one Aunt was busy “Putting Up” (canning) the summer crops this time of year, while my other two aunts were busy making their brown bread for the holidays or their favorite jello concoction; dazzling with fruits or vegetables, suspended in the glistening colored jello.

When the holidays came around, all the women would be in the kitchen working to prepare the holiday dinner. Each one of them would have an apron on so not to spoil their holiday outfit.  These aprons were more than just a cover to protect their clothing; it was a statement of style and function, each lady having several for each occasion and duty to perform.

I have my grandmother’s utility apron that looks more like a large child’s paint smock with large pockets in the front and full body coverage. It is stained with every imagined and tattered with holes. It was her canning and everyday cooking apron, but it is still very precious to me..  She had several others for different functions, like her gardening smock and sewing apron to name a few.  My mother had several everyday ones; I remember a pretty blue and white one with red trim, and of course she had her holiday dress-up aprons that didn’t serve any purpose in protecting the clothes, consisting only of a sheer chiffon crepe, decorated with ribbons, glitter, and that favorite holiday motif. It was for show only. She would tidy her hair and slip into this one right before serving the main course and presenting it in grand stature.

Aprons were such an American symbol of womanhood; it went along with the Apple Pie they baked while wearing them.  It represented the hard work they put into every meal and the chores they performed on a daily bases. I am proud to wear mine while working in the kitchen or in the yard.