Sunday, October 26, 2008


Remember after school specials? Those corny movies that aired once in a while around  3 or 4 o'clock in the afternoon, just after school let out.

On the day of these specials, I would look forward to it all day long, then run straight home from school to watch.

There was something so comforting about these silly movies. I don't know why, but I always considered it a good day if I was able to go home and watch an "after school special." But I was a weird kid.

And perhaps I am still weird, because I have learned something about myself. I often look forward to the after part of an event even more than the actual event itself.

For instance: Who hasn't been to a big party or event, or even a prom, and actually had more fun at the late-night after party, than the actual stuffy dinner or event itself?

And then there's Christmas. I always tend to relax, let my hair down, and have more fun the days following Christmas ... eating leftovers, going to the movies, hanging out with my family and friends, than I ever do on the actual day itself.

Perhaps it is just me. Perhaps I am too uptight, and work myself into such a frenzy preparing for such events, that when they are over, there is a bit of a relief.

I think people, by nature, just enjoy the after part of things. Like dessert. Or a cup of hot cocoa after a long days work. Or that moment when the movie is over, and you're walking out of the theater, listening to the music playing with the closing credits, and you take comfort in that. The end came. We took solace in it. And moved on.

So my theory is, that 'after events' do become important and memorable elements of our lives as well.

Take this soup for instance. I am already looking forward to eating it after Thanksgiving.
It will be the perfect soup for leftover turkey. I've made it a couple times before and it tastes much better than it looks.

Creamy Wild Rice Soup With Smoked Turkey

Yesterday, my football fan hubby happened to be cooking some pork on the smoker and we decided to throw on a fresh, whole turkey breast just for fun. And it turned out great. With the leftovers I made this soup for Sunday dinner. I ran into one problem, however, as I did not have wild rice on hand. And the nearest grocery store is twenty minutes from home. So I substituted whole grain rice instead. The end results weren't quite as pretty, but tasted just as good. Smooth and creamy, with a hint of rosemary, and the smokiness of the turkey, a very unique and satisfying soup. The perfect after Thanksgiving soup.

Creamy Wild-Rice Soup With Smoked Turkey
adapted from Cooking Light

2 teaspoons butter
1 cup chopped carrot
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green onions
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups homemade chicken broth
1 1/2 cups chopped, smoked turkey breast (about 1/2 lb.)
1 cup uncooked wild rice
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups milk
2 Tablespoons dry sherry
1 teaspoon salt

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

2. Combine flour with milk in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk to make sure there are no lumps. Add to pan. Add smoked turkey to pan. Cook over medium heat until thick (about eight minutes), stirring frequently. Stir in sherry and adjust salt if needed. Yields 8 servings.

Note: This soup looks much prettier when prepared with the wild rice and it adds a nice nuttiness to the dish. The version I made today, as you see in the photo, did not have wild rice, but whole grain instead, and it still tasted creamy and delicious. Also, if you don't have a whole smoked turkey on hand, no problem, just pick up 1/2 pound smoked turkey breast from the deli and that will work just fine. Remember to tell the man behind the counter to slice it thickly, so you can easily cut it into bite sized pieces at home. Lastly, I found the soup a little thick at the end, so added just a touch of chicken broth to thin things out a bit.


Peter M said...

This soup looks awesome and I would even say it could be called a Turkey Bisque.

Noted for future tasting.

Michelle said...

Peter -
You're right. It is similar to a bisque. Let me know if you try it.

Proud Italian Cook said...

Ooooh Michelle! Yumm! and no cream!
Great with leftover turkey. Saved!

Michelle said...

Hi Marie,
I do hope you try this recipe. It really did taste better than it looked.

Anonymous said...

Your soup does look very tasty, so it must have tasted awesome. I'm on a soupmaking kick and found your recipe. Can't wait to try it! I love to use brown basmati rice, which we love for its nutty flavour, so I might use that.

Michelle said...

anonymous -
Brown basmati rice would be perfect here. Let me know how it turns out.

Linda said...

I very much like your perspective in this particular blog entry and I can fully relate. And, yes, I remember the after school specials. I had actually forgotten about them until you mentioned it here. I love nostalgia and this entry filled me with that, and oh yes - the soup looks delicious as well! Thanks.

Michelle said...

linda -
I'm glad you liked the nostalgia of this post. I have fond memories of those silly after school specials.