Fried Turkey for Two

I used to live in New Orleans and it was there that I tasted my first fried turkey. The crisp saltiness of the skin, the juicy tenderness of the meat - it had everything I ever wanted in a bird! When we bought our house, my mother, God bless her, gifted us with a turkey fryer. Chris has spent many Mardi Gras parties perfecting the art of the fried turkey, but as hosts, we never seem to get even a small bite. So the other day, after the craziness of the holidays subsided, I asked him to make one just for the two of us. We bought the smallest turkey we could find, a 12-pounder, and began to plan not only for the fried turkey dinner itself, but also for the array of dishes we could make with all the leftover meat. I would like to focus on those dishes.

After we had our fill of fried goodness, we picked the bird clean and prepared to make a good stock. To do so, we rough-chopped an onion (skin on), three celery stalks, three carrots (unpeeled), and four cloves of garlic (again, just smashed with the skin on). Chris says that surface area is important in making a stock, so we did the celery and carrots in 1 inch pieces. We sweated these in a large stock pot with a small bit of oil, then added the broken up turkey bones. We did not add salt because the seasoning on the turkey skin was pretty salty, and some of that ended up in the stock pot as well. However, we did add three bay leaves, and some fresh oregano. As the vegetables softened, we added water to cover the contents of the pot. We let that simmer for about four hours, never allowing it to boil. After straining, we were left with almost two quarts of rich, hearty, homemade turkey stock. We allowed it to cool completely then skimmed the fats off the top.

We put two cups aside for a future turkey pot pie. We then turned our attention toward making soup. We boiled some chopped carrots and celery and added them to the stock when they were soft. After throwing in some white and dark turkey meat, we searched for the various leftover vegetables our fridge had acquired over the holidays, including white corn and green beans, a
nd added those. We let our soup simmer, stirring often enough, and both agreed it was the best soup we had ever created.

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