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It’s spring in name only in Saint Paul.  Whereas many food writers and bloggers are already complaining about too many fresh pea or asparagus recipes, people here are still sniffling and shuffling around town in their by now worn-out snow boots. (Uh, there are not even pea tendrils in St. Paul because snow covers the vegetable gardens; see below.)  In fact, if you move here, you’ll save a lot of money on shoes;  you only need them May – September.  Not only that,  you can write about fresh peas, rhubarb, and asparagus when folks further south are eating their first tiny tomatoes and are getting tired of grilling already.

This picture is out my front door this morning.

While people keep emailing or texting me, “Aren’t you tired of snow?”  I’m not.  I’m happy to make one more bubbling cauldron and a big pan of biscuits.  I might be sick of my sweaters, though.

If it’s not too warm where you are, maybe you’re still in the mood for a big pot of soup with bread.  (It’s also a perfect way to use that leftover Thanksgiving turkey if it’s that time a year. ) Try this:

turkey-wild rice + vegetable soup
   makes about 10 quarts of soup

Using up leftover turkey from a holiday meal? Skip that 1 1/2 hours cooking the turkey thighs and  just add  your 2-3 cups shredded or chopped cooked turkey after the rice (#3).

  • 1 tablespoon each butter and olive oil
  • Pinch crushed red pepper 
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 5 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces, divided
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed, cored, and chopped
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 quarts chicken or turkey stock
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 6 cups water, divided
  • 2  turkey thighs, skin removed (or 2-3 cups shredded or chopped cooked turkey)
  • 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
  • 1 cup wild rice, rinsed several times and drained*
  • Tabasco
  • 2 parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices (can sub 2 medium potato, peeled, and diced)
  • 1/2 cup each fresh or frozen green peas and corn
  • 1/3 cup dry sherry for garnish at the table
  • 1 cup roasted, chopped walnuts or almonds for garnish (optional)
  1. Heat butter and olive oil with red pepper over medium heat in a 12-quart stockpot for one  minute.  Add onions, 1 of the cut-up carrots, the celery, fennel, parsley, thyme, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt with 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.  Cook five minutes or until vegetables are beginning to soften.  Add garlic and cook another minute or two, stirring.
  2. Pour in stock, wine, and 2 cups of the water.  Stir well and add turkey thighs, poultry seasoning, another 1/2 teaspoon of salt and another 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 1 – 1 1/2 hours or until turkey is tender.
  3. Remove turkey to cutting board and let cool several minutes.  While the turkey is cooling, add rice and 3-4 drops of Tabasco (or more to taste) to the broth.  Bring back to a  low boil.  After turkey is cooled, shred using two forks, and return to pot.  Let cook about 20 minutes and add parsnips along with the rest of the carrots.  Continue to cook another 20 minutes, skimming off fat as needed.** Stir in peas and corn.
  4. Continue to cook until turkey, rice, and all vegetables are tender –another 5-10 minutes. Continue to skim off fat.  Add more water or broth if necessary. This should not be a thick stew, but rather a rich, brothy soup.   Taste and adjust seasonings.  Serve over or with biscuits.  Pour sherry into a small pitcher and pass at the table with the walnuts, if using, to garnish soup. (Just a teaspoon or so of sherry per bowl is plenty, but it’s a matter of personal taste.)

*Please buy Minnesota, Wisconsin, or Michigan hand-harvested wild rice. 
Click here for wild rice nutritional information.

**Turkey thighs give off a lot of fat.  You might have 1/4 cup of fat skimmed off (or more) by the end of the cooking.

biscuits
                      makes 12   2-inch biscuits

  • 2 cups allpurpose, unbleached flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon each salt and cream of tartar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2/3 cup milk    

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, salt, cream of tartar and baking powder.  Add butter and cut in well using a pastry blender, two forks, your fingers, or even a food processor until some of the mixture is the size of peas and some are larger, some smaller.  

Stir in the milk all at once and keep stirring until a ball of dough is formed.  Place dough on a floured board and knead 10-12 times.  Pat out (or roll) into a rough circle until dough is about 1/2-inch thick.  Cut out using a 2-inch floured biscuit or round, fluted cookie cutter. * Place biscuits on a baking sheet or in a glass pie pan.  Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.  Serve hot, warm, at room temperature, or cold.  (I like to bake biscuits in a Pyrex pie plate or casserole pan because they stay warm at the table.)

*You can use the mouth of a small, floured glass to cut biscuits if you have no cutter.  Another option is to cut them with a knife into squares or rectangles.  They’ll bake.

( Biscuit recipe courtesy FANNIE FARMER BAKING BOOK  by Marion Cunningham.)

 … … … … … … … …

My south window today.


If you like turkey thighs, you might want to try this if the weather is warmer where you are:

Dave’s Ribs and Barbequed Turkey Thighs



By the way, I still have a few soups left to test for my soup cookbook.  Interested?  Leave contact information in a comment or email me afmorgan53@yahoo.com.  No pay, but hopefully a good meal and fun!

Sing a new song,
Alyce