Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Thanksgiving Reclamation

I know I said Halloween was my favorite holiday.

But when it comes to food, Thanksgiving rules.

What's better than turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes, freshly baked pumpkin pie and a nap?

Even with its drawbacks: the crowded grocery stores, the mounds of dirty dishes, the long hours spent on your feet. It's worth it.

I think of Queen Elizabeth I ... I may be a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king!

Well, the stomach part is certainly true.

For me, Thanksgiving is a time for food and family, for coming together, for celebrating Autumn.

No tinsel, no toys, no crowded shopping malls. A simpler holiday.

For years, I have been astonished whenever I see stores decorated so early for Christmas. I want Thanksgiving(!).

And I am here to proclaim its importance.

We don't send out cards with little hearts on them on New Years Eve.

Would the Easter bunny even consider infringing upon Uncle Sam's holiday?

I don't think so.

So let's unite and reclaim our national Norman Rockwell-autumnal-football-watching-stuffed-to-the-gills-holiday. It's our right!

Hmm. I guess it's pretty clear, I am passionate about Thanksgiving. And turkey, too.

My husband reminds me of the Dad in A Christmas Story - a real turkey junkie. So we always buy a much larger bird than we need, and therefore, have plenty of leftovers.

This has become a seasonal favorite and for some reason seems a bit elegant to me.

Creamy Wild-Rice Soup with Smoked Turkey,
adapted from Cooking Light.

2 tsp. butter
1 Cup chopped carrot
1 chopped onion
1 cup chopped green onions
1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary or 1/4 tsp. dried rosemary
1/4 tsp. pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 (14 oz.) cans low sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups chopped smoked turkey breast
1 cup uncooked wild rice
1/3 cup all purpose flour
2 3/4 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
2 Tablespoons dry sherry
1/2 tsp. salt

1. Melt butter in a dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add carrot and the next 5 ingredients(carrot through garlic); saute 8 minutes until browned. Stir in broth, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Stir in turkey and rice, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour and 15 minutes or until rice is tender.

2. To thicken, combine flour and milk in a small bowl, stirring until smooth with a whisk. Add to pan. Cook over medium heat until thick (about 8 minutes), stirring frequently. Stir in sherry and salt. Yield: 8 (1 cup) servings.

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