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The Cook in Me: Changing the Thanksgiving Holiday--Turkey Vegetable Soup with Danish Dumplings©
Every year as Halloween approaches, I realize how fast the year has flown, and I start looking forward to celebrating the holidays. As always, I find myself hoping that friends and family find themselves in good health and able to celebrate with loved ones. It seems that every year they sneak up on us more quickly than the last (the holidays, not the loved ones). But I guess that’s part of the aging process. Time passes more and more quickly.
The weeks and months fly by, and before you know it, another year is behind you. I think that is why I am a firm believer in making every minute count—you never know how many more you have left. When I turned fifty, I told my sons and their families that the extravagant Christmases were over. The best gift I could give to them, and that they could give to me, was time. Time spent together is not something you can buy. It is not something that will break and be discarded with yesterday’s trash. It is, however, something that can live on in photographs, and memories, to be cherished forever.
The holiday that I treasure the most is Thanksgiving. In the Autumn, the earth is alive with color and fragrance; and all we have to do is sit back and drink it all in and be reminded of the beauty of the world. However, those colors and fragrances are prevalent primarily in September and October. By Thanksgiving time, most of the leaves on the trees have turned brown and dropped, the flowers have died or been frosted or frozen, and in some areas of the country snow has already begun to fall. While there is so much to be thankful for all year ‘round, it just seems to me the meaning and purpose of celebrating Thanksgiving Day gets lost in the hectic craziness of the Christmas season. You can’t walk into a store in September any more without seeing displays of Christmas decorations, hearing Christmas music, and listening to people bragging that they have already finished their Christmas shopping. Thanksgiving Day has actually become Christmas Bargains Day Eve. Instead of enjoying the day with family and appreciating what they already have, shoppers lose site of the real purpose of Thanksgiving Day by anxiously anticipating the bargains and good buys they will find when the stores open in the wee hours of the Friday morning after. Again this year, stores will be open on Thanksgiving day, some all day and some opening at 6 o'clock Thanksgiving evening to enable shoppers to beat the Black Friday rush. My grandson has to be at work at 11:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving night because the store where he works opens at midnight, thus throwing a wrench in my family's celebration. As if that wasn't enough, he also has to work until 8 p.m. on Black Friday. What ever happened to letting the employees have a day off to share with their families, for which I am sure they are grateful?
Perhaps we should move the holiday to another month, June for example, which is a much better month for a Thanksgiving celebration. In June we can also be thankful that we don't have to travel through ice and snow to the homes of our loved ones for the Thanksgiving celebration. We can be thankful that we and other elderly family members and friends have made it through the winter in good health. We can be thankful for the graduations and weddings of our loved ones, the joy of watching children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren thrive in the sunshine and fresh air, and for the birth of babies after difficult or seemingly never-ending winter pregnancies. We can be thankful for the warmth and beauty that surrounds us after a bleak, cold winter, and for the miracle of the land bearing fruits and vegetables when only a few months earlier it looked so barren we thought nothing would ever blossom and grow again. Yes, I think June is an excellent choice for celebrating Thanksgiving. We could grill the turkey instead of roasting it, and eat dinner outdoors in the fresh air. Don’t be surprised if you smell the aroma of turkey coming from my kitchen or grill in that month.
No matter in what month you choose to celebrate Thanksgiving, don't let that turkey carcass go to waste. Turkey Soup with Danish Dumplings tastes just as good in the summer as it does in November and December. The original recipe that I found in a magazine (I have no idea what magazine) called for tomatoes and turnips. That just didn't tickle my taste buds. I like a lot of parsley in my turkey or chicken soups, so of course, I adapted it to my liking. See what you think. And if you do decide to celebrate in June, you'll have fresh parsley from your herb garden to enhance its fresh taste! I wish everyone a very Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving and safe travels!
©2012, 2013 Changing the Thanksgiving Holiday by Kathy Striggow
This article may not be reproduced or reprinted in whole or in part without the express written permission of the author.
Turkey Soup with Danish Dumplings
1 meaty Turkey Carcass
12 cups chicken stock OR
12 cups water with 1/2 cup chicken broth base
1 large onion, chopped
4 stalks celery, sliced (2 cups)
2 medium carrots, sliced or diced
1/2 cup snipped parsley (or more to taste)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 recipe Danish Dumplings
1. In a large soup pot, combine carcass, water and chicken stock. Bring to boil then simmer 1 1/2 hours, or until meat falls freely from the bones. Place on a plate and allow to cool.
2. When the turkey is cool enough to handle, remove meat from bones and set it aside, together with any juices that have drained.
3. Add the onion, celery, and carrots to the stock. Bring to a boil.
4. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30-45 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
5. Return the meat to the broth. Taste to determine if the stock is properly seasoned. If necessary, add additional stock (or dry stock base) and salt.
6. Add the parsley and stir well to incorporate.
7. Reduce the heat and simmer for another 15 minutes. In the meantime, make the Danish Dumplings.
7. Drop the dumpling dough by tablespoons on top of the bubbling soup.
8. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Do not lift lid until 20 minutes have passed. Remove from heat.
9. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
2 Tbsp. snipped parsley
1. In a medium saucepan combine water and margarine; bring to boil.
2. Add flour, baking powder and salt all at once, stirring vigorously.
3. Cook, stirring constantly until mixture forms a ball. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
4. Add eggs, one at a time beating after each until smooth.
5. Add parsley. Drop by tablespoons into bubbling soup. You should be able to make 12 dumplings of this size. If you like smaller dumplings use a teaspoon instead of a tablespoon.
6. Cover the pot and simmer for 20 minutes. Then enjoy!