My Thanksgiving assignments were as follows: Mashed potatoes, Gravy, and Pumpkin Bread. Oh and I couldn’t help myself from bringing some of my ferments as appetizers!
The potatoes were from a neighboring farm and mashed up beautifully. The pumpkin bread was made in part from, our roasted pumpkin, along with our eggs, and it was sweetened with Black Walnut Syrup that we collected last Spring.
The gravy is always a trick. You see I bring the gravy to Thanksgiving, and heat it up when the bird is ready to serve. It’s a bit non-traditional because this is generally something you make after you take the bird out of the oven using all the wonderful golden and browned bits. I often make a bird a week before thanksgiving and use the drippings to make the gravy but then of course the turkey at the table is less of a treat since you just had it a week ago.
This year I decided to take another course of direction. I pulled the 50 necks and 50 hearts, out of the freezer, from when we butchered our birds last Summer. I sauteed the hearts about a dozen at a time, and scraped every dripping into a bowl. Then I took said necks and put them in the oven and poured the drippings from the hearts over them.
Then I scrapped all the drippings from pan after pan of necks until I had a considerable amount of drippings.
I still wanted more drippings so I took all the necks and put them in a pan on top of the stove and rendered more drippings. Now I had a full bowl of browned bits and drippings!
I then took the necks (yet again) and put them in water to make a very rich roasted tasting broth.
Once the fat settled to the top of the drippings I put that in a pan and made a roux with flour, adding broth until I had this amazing gravy! Talk about not wasting anything!
My contributions to the meal included something from 3 different seasons…the Black Walnut syrup was collected in the Spring, the ferments were from our summer garden veggies and some from the neighbor, the chickens were processed in late summer, the Pumpkin was from Fall. Not something everyone thinks about these things but I can’t help but notice that it took a year to gather, grow and raise the food I brought for the meal, and it is a very satisfying feeling.
My sister who made the wonderful, family farm raised, organic turkey for our Thanksgiving table, offered me the carcass which I couldn’t say no to, and she sent me home with all the drippings from her bird and it all went into the pot with the carcass and some water. I was going to use the neck meat from all the chicken necks I had used for the gravy, but when I saw them in the fridge I thought why not throw them in with the simmering carcass and drippings? I now have a fire in the wood burner and a huge pot of rich and delicious turkey broth simmering on the stove. When it is done, I will freeze and share the Thanksgiving soup with family.
We come from a long line of soup eaters!