The day after Thanksgiving, the last thing I'll want to do is to spend the day in the kitchen. But if I was in possession of a turkey carcass, I would make a rich turkey stock the effortless way--by roasting it in the oven all day while I am out playing--and cook up a pot of Sopa de Lima a few days later.
Sopa de Lima--the official soup of the Yucatan--is the perfect meal to follow Thanksgiving gluttony. It's simple and healthy, hearty and spicy, and makes good use of leftover turkey and stock.
My kids have been begging me to make the Sopa de Lima they remember from our vacation in Campeche a few years ago. Sopa de Lima is the Yucatan's version of tortilla soup, served with avocado, fried strips of tortilla, diced serrano chilis, sliced radishes and a crumbly, salty fresh cheese. And limas, a sour lime that is is ubiquitous in the Yucatan, but almost unheard of farther north.
The antidote to too much Thanksgiving feasting.
To get that sour citrus flavor of the lima into my soup, I used an ordinary Persian lime and half of a ruby red grapefruit. Another reason I love this soup so much....there's a big dose of vitamin C in each bowl.
A few of the friendly faces we saw in Campeche.
If you go to Campeche, you'll notice that the Yucatan is not like the rest of Mexico: They favor baseball over soccer, and mayonnaise over salsa. They eat turkey, not chicken, and the most popular seafood dish is a layered casserole of tortillas and shredded baby shark--cazón--which they pull from the ocean in shockingly huge numbers. The food reflects their Spanish and Mayan heritage and the seaside abundance.
Fresh corn ice cream sold on the steaming hot sidewalks of Campeche.
But our best food memory of the Yucatan is the Sopa de Lima, eaten outside in the stifling heat, with a lid of freshly fried tortillas. For dessert, elote--creamy corn ice cream--from a local stand tops off the meal.
Can you tell that I am dreaming of spring break already?
To make a no-fuss turkey stock in the oven, place your turkey carcass (and the drumsticks if you still have them) into the biggest pot that will fit into your oven. Break it into pieces if it is very large. It is good if the carcass still has some meat clinging to the bones. Place uncovered in the 200ºF oven. Roast in the oven for at least 4 and up to 12 hours. Head out for the day...return to a most enticing aroma. You could even make this stock overnight.
Put the pot on the stove, and add 1 large quartered onion, 2 peeled and roughly chopped carrots, 2 bay leaves, 1 teaspoon of black peppercorns, and 1 tablespoon of tomato paste. Bring to just below a boil, and then reduce the heat to a low simmer. Cook stovetop for another hour, or return the pan to the oven.
Strain the stock through a fine-mesh strainer or a cheesecloth. Taste, and add Kosher salt to your liking. Store in the refrigerator for 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months. Skim off any congealed fat, and cook up steaming bowls of Sopa de Lima to take the edge off the gray sleeting November skies.
Queso cotija is a locally available soft Mexican cheese.
For a printable version of the recipe, click on the file below it.
Sopa de Lima (Turkey Tortilla Soup)
Have everything ready when you start to fry the tortilla strips. The soup is best when the just-fried tortillas hit the broth with a sizzle.
For the soup:
- 2 cups shredded leftover turkey
- 4 cups turkey stock
- 1/2 grapefruit
- 1 lime, cut in half
- 1/3 white onion, finely chopped
- 1 serrano chili, seeded and deveined, finely diced
- 2 tablespoons canola
- 2 tablespoons canola or peanut oil (for frying)
For the toppings:
- 4-5 radishes, sliced paper thin
- 1-2 serrano chilis, seeded and deveined, finely diced
- 4 tablespoons crumbled fresh Mexican cheese, such as Queso cotija
- 4 limes, sliced into quarters
- 4 corn tortillas (stale is good) cut into strips
- 2 avocados, sliced
- In a medium saucepan, heat the oil until sizzling, and add the white onion and chopped serrano chili. Sauté until the onion is just turning brown, about 4-5 minutes.
- Squeeze juice from the lime and grapefruit into the pot, and then throw in the rest of the fruit.
- Slowly add the turkey stock and heat to a boil. Simmer over low heat for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare all the toppings, and have them ready.
- Discard the lime and grapefruit from the pot, and add the shredded turkey. Keep over low heat while you prepare the tortillas.
- In a large frying pan, heat the peanut oil until it sizzles when a tortilla strip is placed into it. Fry the tortilla strips until golden, and set aside on paper towels to drain.
- Fill warm bowls with the turkey and broth. Serve with toppings on the side.
If you go to the Yucatan, be sure to climb some pyramids!
We couldn't wait. We had to have Thanksgiving dinner a bit early.
Simple Ginger Cranberry Sauce: Simmer 1 bag of cranberries with 1 cup sugar, juice and zest of 1 orange and 3/4 tsp. ground ginger until berries pop. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes.
In particular, we just couldn't wait to make Sourdough Stuffing with Sausage and Apples, Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes, and Ginger Cranberry Sauce. Especially the stuffing. In our family, it is always about the stuffing.
Photo by Gary Silberberg
I won't be cooking on the actual Thanksgiving Day, but I couldn't resist making a few old favorite recipes to kick off the holiday season.
If I were hosting the big spread this year, the first thing I would do is make some Cayenne Pepper Wafers
. My mother's recipe for this spicy gruyere cracker is a must for that first toast of Champagne.
Cayenne pepper wafers are a decidedly grown-up sort of cracker. They make a nice hostess gift.
If you need vegetable inspiration, I would turn to the blog Orangette
, and check out her recipe (actually Molly Stevens' recipe) for Cream-Braised Brussels Sprouts
, which I dress up for the holidays with some pomegranate seeds.
For a unique salad, I would make the Kale Salad with Apples and Walnuts
from Tori Ritchie's blog Tuesday Recipe
. I have not made this yet, but my friend Catherine made it for me, and I couldn't stop eating it. It's crunchy and fresh, the perfect Thanksgiving salad.
The magpies have discovered my star anise wreath, and have been carting the spices off one by one. By Christmas it will be bare.
For dessert, I would skip the pie crust from scratch, and the 3 kinds of pie for a simpler end to the meal. Have you seen all that snow out there, by the way? Don't you want to be spending a lovely chunk of the day out in it? I would simply poach red wine in figs (see last post), and serve it with ice cream or sweet ricotta. Since there must be pie, I would pick up a Pear Frangipagne Tart from the Persephone Bakery here in Jackson. When it comes to pie, it just doesn't get any better than this.
Yesterday on Teton Pass.
Thanksgiving can get complicated. Stuffing should be simple. Here's my tried and true recipe for stuffing that can be doubled or tripled. It gets its personality from the type of sausage you choose...spicy Italian, sweet pork, you decide.
For a printable version of the recipe, click on the file below it.
Sourdough Stuffing with Sausage and Apples
serves 10-12, easily doubled
This recipe was adapted from that of Pam Anderson in her book Perfect Recipes for Having People Over.
- 1 pound crusty bread, such as Harvest Organic Sourdough Bread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 pound bulk sweet or hot Italian sausage, or breakfast sausage
- 1-2 tablespoons butter (optional)
- 2 medium onion, cut into medium dice (about 2 cups)
- 2 celery stalks, cut into medium dice (about 1 cup)
- 4 small or 2 medium tart apples, cut into 1/2 inch dice
- 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
- 1/4 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- a few spoonfuls of pan drippings from the turkey
- Cut the bread into cubes, cutting off the crusts if you like (I like to leave the crusts) and spread them in a single layer on two baking sheets. Leave to dry overnight, or toast in the oven at 300ºF for 15 minutes or until crispy and dry.
- Turn the oven temperature up to 400ºF.
- In a large skillet, fry the sausage until it has broken down into small pieces, and there is no more pink remaining. Drain in a colander and pour off most of the grease from the pan.
- Using the same skillet, sauté the onions, celery, and apples in the pan juices, adding butter if you need to, until soft, about 8-10 minutes.
- Place the sausage, onions, celery, apples, bread cubes, and the rest of the ingredients into a large bowl. Mix well.
- Turn the stuffing into a buttered 3-quart baking dish. Cover with foil and bake until steamy hot, about 30 minutes.
- Remove the foil, drizzle with pan drippings from the turkey if you like, and bake for 10 minutes longer, or until the top is crusty. Try not to eat too much of that crusty goodness before you bring it to the table.
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