This month’s Recipe Redux asked us to use a green herb in a different way, or to highlight a rarely used herb.
Nettles (Urtica dioica) are my favorite springtime herb, one that many people aren’t aware of as food, but I love in this Nettles Soup recipe.
They are a bit like the season-vibrant, bitter, prickly with just a bit of a bite from the venom.
Stinging nettles have an interesting way of protecting their stores of Iron, Calcium, vitamin A and vitamin K all wrapped up in a non fat, high fiber package.
To get those vitamins in your body requires picking before the venom pockets are filled and steaming or sauteeing the leaves to breakdown the stingers.
What you are left with is a brilliant green powerhouse of nutrition.
So gather your gloves and long pants, look for an area that has had a bit of disturbance and pick NOW before they flower.
We routinely pick enough to blanch and keep in the freezer for this kind of soup later.
We dry the leaves for a tasty tea to help with seasonal allergies later in spring too.
Our twins actually made the soup.
this is what the onions look like when ready.
Now that the Thanksgiving dinner is done, what do you do with the leftovers?
Around my house there are family classics so important that we actually make double of these foods just to enjoy them.
One is this soup.
The recipe calls for vegetables to be diced from fresh, and that is wonderful. But, I just cook extra carrots with a bit of dill and butter, extra brussel sprouts and turnips, extra roasted parsnips and a few creamed onions.
Then all I have to do to get this soup on the table is add diced carrots.
Feel free to use up all your vegetable leftovers. Just make the broth and then proceed to soften any not already cooked vegetables in a bit of oil or butter. Pour in the hot broth, add the cooked vegetable leftovers and top with the dumpling batter.
Your soup will be uniquely yours.
Once again our lack of gluten can make life just a wee bit easier.
Since we have to use a gluten-free flour to thicken our gravy, it is very easy to stir out any lumps. But to get a flavorful gravy there are a few tricks.
First, use the roasting pan of the turkey as the gravy making pan. This insures that we don’t miss any of the darkened bits on the bottom of the pan from adding their flavor to the gravy.
Second, make the gravy while the bird is resting.
What, You don’t rest your bird? Resting allows all those hot juices in the turkey to settle back into the meat, creating that perfect moist, tender meat that we all crave.
So go ahead and put your turkey on your serving platter, cover it with a tent of foil and let it sit to rest while the gravy takes the focus.
So lets begin:
Recipe: Giblet Herb Gravy
Summary: Gravy, no lumps, best accompaniment to turkey ever.
3 tablespoons Sweet Rice Flour
1 quart Turkey Broth – from giblets
1 teaspoon each fresh Rosemary, Thyme, Sage
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt or more to taste
Once you have the turkey resting comfortably on the platter under it’s foil tent, pour the oil and juices from the roasting pan into a pyrex measuring cup or other heat proof pitcher.
Pour off the excess fat from the measuring cup. I tend to leave about 2 tablespoons on top of the meat juices.
Place the roasting pan on a medium flame.
Pour the juices into the pan.
Brown the juices till they are the color of the skin of the turkey.
Using a whisk or gravy tool, stir in the sweet rice flour.
Allow the mixture to cook for 1-2 minutes to absorb all the fats.
Add the herbs, salt and pepper.
Add the broth and allow the gravy to come to the simmer.
Cook for 2-4 minutes.
To make the giblet broth, use 6 cups of water. Add one carrot, one celery stalk and 1/2 onion cut into chunks Bring the water to a simmer and add the heart, neck and all the other bits in the packet from the turkey Except for the Liver. Allow them to simmer till the turkey juices have browned. Strain into a measuring cup.
Sometimes, I add in a bit of garlic along with the herbs, Sometimes I use a bit of white wine too. Feel free to make this your own by including your favorite gravy additions like mushrooms or shallots