People always take pictures of their perfect Thanksgiving table, all the dishes lovingly prepared and their family poised to dive in. However, I wish I had a photo of the table and kitchen after. That would be impressive.

We had a great dinner although I was running around like a madman all day getting everything cooked. We narrowly avoided disaster after my mom brought me 3 ounces of dried shiitake mushrooms instead of the 12 ounces of fresh shiitakes the recipe for my shiitake herb gravy called for. Since those mushrooms are particularly important to the flavor of the gravy, I had a dilemma. So I put the dried mushrooms in a couple of cups of hot water and let them steep. After about a half hour, I poured the liquid over a bowl of sliced crimini mushrooms and let them absorb the shiitake-flavored liquid. Success!

Unfortunately, I miscalculated on the dinner rolls. They needed at least 24 hours to proof in the fridge and I had only got them in there the night before, so we had to have my homemade sliced bread loaf instead and I made the rolls yesterday, which were great. Next year, I’ll get them going a day earlier.

After dinner, I dropped the turkey bones—stripped of all the meat—into a big pot with an onion, celery, carrots, and some thyme and tarragon, covered them with water and let them simmer for six hours. When it was done, I had a giant pot of the most scrumptious turkey stock. Today, I’m turning some of that into a tortilla turkey soup and I’ll freeze the rest.

Yesterday, we went over to my sister’s house to meet my new niece. Unfortunately, I was so tired—Bella has been restless the last couple of nights on top of all the running around for the dinner—I kept falling asleep on the couch! I need a vacation to recover from my holiday!

So how was your Thanksgiving?

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  • Dom:

    When you make stock with turkey or chicken bones, do you break the bones after cooking them for awhile, and then put them back in to cook some more?

    My mother always did that, and the marrow gives the chicken broth a distinctive flavor, and gelatin from the bones gets into the broth, which is pretty cool.

    It’s been awhile since I made stock, but that’s how I do it.

  • Fr. Fox,

    You can certainly chop up the pieces into smaller pieces. That gelatin is actually the collagen from the marrow and is what distinguishes stock (flavored by bones) from broth (flavored by meat). The collagen is what gives stock is unctuous mouth feel.

    I don’t usually do the chopping only because I simmer my stock for hours and hours anyway.