Smoke ’em if you stock ’em

We celebrated Thanksgiving last week.

Not because we forgot that it was February. Or that we missed the November holiday.

We celebrated Thanksgiving last week for basically one reason: We’d run out of turkey stock.

In previous posts, we’ve explained why we at Cuisine Stupide always grill-roast our turkey. We’ve detailed how we use the leftovers from that exquisite bird to create a simple but unique turkey salad. And like almost everyone else, we adore turkey sandwiches, turkey pot pies … the whole A Christmas Story litany.

But the tail end of the byproduct parade, the stock that Chef Sin makes from the turkey carcass, cannot be considered a mere byproduct of the feast. Frozen in pint jars, it has fast become one of our pantry staples. For one reason: the smoke.

As we roast the turkey, we throw a couple of chunks of mesquite into our Weber kettle grill, and the result (again, as we’ve written before) is the most wonderfully succulent, smoke-kissed meat we’ve ever had. The smoke carries over into all of the leftover dishes, of course. But it’s the stock that lasts for weeks afterward. And we’ve become so accustomed to using smoked turkey stock in other dishes, any other stock, homemade or prepared, seems lame by comparison.

A perfect example: this recipe for sopa de ajo, a Spanish garlic and bread soup that we’ve made for years. It’s a perfect weeknight meal–simple, fast, and delicious, rich with garlic, creamy with egg, spicy with cayenne and dried chiles. But it’s the addition of the smokey broth that makes this dish truly remarkable.

Sopa de Ajo (Garlic Soup)

Adapted from Hot & Spicy: Unusual, Innovative Recipes from the World’s Fiery Cuisines by Marlena Spieler

2 cups cubed French bread
1/2 cup olive oil
1 head of garlic, 1 clove chopped, remainder separated and peeled but left whole
2 tablespoons fresh sage leaves (or 1/2 to 1 tablespoon dried leaf sage)
3 small dried red chiles
4 cups smoked turkey stock
2 eggs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, plus extra for sprinkling
1 tablespoon dry sherry
Cayenne pepper to taste

Saute bread cubes in olive oil until golden. Toss with chopped garlic. Set aside.

Place whole garlic cloves, sage, dried chiles, and stock in saucepan. Bring to boil and simmer 15 minutes or until garlic is soft and sweet-flavored.

Beat eggs and add 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Slowly stir into soup mixture. Simmer for a few minutes over low heat to thicken soup slightly; stir in sherry. Serve immediately, topped with the reserved croutons, sprinkled with cayenne pepper to taste, and with Parmesan cheese if desired.

Serves 4 as an appetizer, 2 as an entree, and can easily be doubled.

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