Editor's note: Philadelphia food writers Joy Manning and Tara Mataraza Desmond drop by each week with Meat Lite, which celebrates meat in moderation. Meat Lite was inspired by the book coauthored by the two, Almost Meatless, due out in spring 2009.
Bacon supporters are an unwavering bunch. Smear campaigns run by health pundits claim that bacon is driving the health crisis with its fat-laden record and reputation, but they can't deter loyalists. Bacon continues to win the popular vote, even reaching across the aisle to attract vegetarians.
It's arguable, though, that above its crispy goodness, beyond the virtues of its rendered renewable grease (which Joy Manning endorsed not long ago), bacon's greatest appeal is its signature smoky flavor and ultra-savory characteristics. Smoked pork belly, then, isn't the only candidate capable of reviving recipes with flavor change we can believe in. Other smoke-cured foods, including beef, poultry, fish, and vegetables lend the same infiltrating flavor and aroma. And, just like bacon, a little bit goes a long way.
This rich, filling Smoked Turkey Soup calls on the credentials of naturally smoked, nitrate-free turkey wings to get behind an entire pot of ingredients. Plus, a few ounces of tender turkey meat make the finished bowl even heartier than bits of bacon would.
- 2 smoked bone-in turkey wings or drumsticks (about 1 1/2 pounds total)
- 2 quarts (8 cups) chicken stock or vegetable broth
- 1 small yellow onion, diced small
- 2 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
- 2 large celery stalks, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
- 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup dry white wine
- 1/4 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 1/4 pound okra, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
- 2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1 1/2 cups cooked cannellini beans (or 1 14.5 ounce can, drained and rinsed)
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon malt or cider vinegar
- Freshly ground black pepper
Pull the turkey meat from the bone and skin. Cut the meat into chunks and set aside. Put the bones and skin in a Dutch oven or large stock pot over medium heat. Render the fat from the skin for about 10 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, transfer the bones and skin to a separate medium saucepot and cover with the stock or broth. Simmer over medium heat while you prepare the rest of the soup.
Return the Dutch oven to medium heat. Add the onions, carrot and celery to the reserved fat and fond and sweat the ingredients for 10 minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic and sauté 30 seconds. Add the wine and deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom to release the bits while the liquid cooks down until mostly gone. Stir in the mushrooms and okra and sweat the vegetables for another 5 minutes.
Add the reserved turkey meat, potatoes, and beans. Strain the stock into the pot with the other ingredients. Discard the bones and skin. Add the sprigs of thyme and simmer for 1 hour.
Stir in the vinegar and season the soup to taste with freshly ground black pepper before serving.