I love to cook and I love to eat good food.  Alas, the fact that I work 9-5 means that I can't do either as much as I would like, and like many I am often stuck at my desk during my lunch "hour".  My solution is to try to bring my lunch to work as much as I can.  This is my collection of recipes, all made quickly the night before (either as lunch or as dinner with leftovers that can be taken in).  Happy eating.

Monday, 1 December 2008

Wild rice, mushroom and turkey soup

For me, the best part of cooking a turkey is not the juicy dark meat (yes, I am firmly on the dark side), the crispy skin, the unctuous gravy, or even the primeval and promethean thrill of cooking a very large animal (at least as large as most of us will ever cook), but rather the best part is the turkey stock I make after I finally give up trying to pull those last bits of meat off the carcass.  Rich, golden, and with a deep flavor, this is the sort of stock that jells in the fridge and is practically a meal in itself.

My secret weapon this year was saving the tops of the leeks from the big turkey day, the carrot peelings, and the slightly wilted stalks of celery from the stuffing.  Into the pot they went, with the bones, some bay leaves and peppercorns, and a few hours later, with practically no work, the mixture turned itself into liquid gold.  The alchemists were on to something after all -- they were just using lead instead of turkey.

In this soup, I like to start the rice in water first, since it absorbs so much liquid that I would rather save my precious turkey stock for the soup itself.  My wild rice takes about 45 minutes to cook, so I add it first, then the brown rice 15 minutes later.  Only when the water is mostly absorbed do I add my stock, but it is of course easier and delicious to use all turkey stock and just add it all at the beginning.  It just depends on how much of a miser you are with your stock.

1 leek
1 carrot
2 stalks celery
6 C. turkey stock plus 2 C. water
1/2 cup wild rice
1/2 cup brown rice
1/2 C. dry white wine
1/2 C. dried mushrooms
1 C. shredded turkey.

Chop carrot, leek and celery and cook in a large stock pot until soft.  Add water, wine, mushrooms, and rice according to instructions above.  Once water is absorbed, add the stock and turkey and simmer for a final 15 minutes, or until the rice is cooked and all the flavors have come together.  Taste, adjust seasoning, and serve with a good sprinkling of parsley.

Serves 4.

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