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Pasta alla Norcina

It isn't often that I find a recipe using only ground pork. Usually it is mixed with beef and/or veal. Perhaps that and the simplicity of this recipe attracted me. Orchiette, fondly called little ears, pasta is suggested but I had none. Penne worked fine.

Rather than transcribe the recipe, just go to the source. Click here and you can find it on Cooks Illustrated in resplendent detail.


Stock Tips for the Turkey Carcass

Rather than stow the carcass away in the freezer just put it back into the oven and make the turkey stock right now. There is no time like the present to convert the Christmas turkey carcass into a tasty golden stock for making soups, sauces and stews. There are a myriad of ways to make stock but simply put, a long simmer produces more flavour and a clearer stock. Fat makes it cloudy. 
Start the roasted bones in cold water. As fat rises to the surface skim it off every ten minutes for the first half hour and then every half hour for the next two hours.  Chill the completed stock and scrape off the fat that sets on the surface.
An easy way to get a crystal clear stock is to freeze it first. Then defrost it in a sieve over a bowl in the refrigerator. As it melts a gelatinous blob is formed that strains all impurities. Discard the blob.
Long simmer on the stovetop, in the oven or in a crockpot. A quick stock can be made in a pressure cooker for 15 minutes after full pressure is reached. Allow it to cool naturally.
Stock will keep in the refrigerator up to 6 days or in the freezer up to 6 months. Freeze in resealable plastic bags by laying them flat until frozen and then they can be conveniently stacked in the freezer to save space.
The only safe method to preserve stock by canning is to use a pressure canner. At sea level pints are processed at 10 pounds (5 kg) pressure for 75 minutes and quarts at 10 pounds (5 kg) pressure for 90 minutes. At altitudes over 1,000 feet (305 m) use 15 pounds (7.5 kg) pressure. Stocks preserved by pressure canning have the benefit of a longer simmer time and become very rich and flavourful. After properly cooling and checking that lids have sealed they can keep on the shelf for a year. (Source: National Presto Industries Inc.)

Roasted Turkey Stock
Pull off all the meat and reserve. Place the bones in a roasting pan along with aromatic vegetables. Roasting imparts a more intense and complex flavour. Feeling adventurous? Add a cinnamon stick. This is a tip from a Mennonite friend.
 leftover turkey carcass, including neck, wing and leg bones
4 onions, quartered
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
2 large celery ribs, cut into chunks
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. whole black peppercorns 5 mL
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 whole star anise
6 oz. can of tomato paste 200 mL
Preheat oven to 450 F (230 C). Tear turkey carcass into large pieces and arrange in a single layer in a roasting pan. Fit vegetables around the carcass. If they won’t fit around the carcass then roast the vegetables in the same pan after the bones are done. Roast until brown and sizzling, 20 to 25 minutes.
Remove from oven and transfer everything to a stockpot. Be sure to deglaze the roasting pan with a little water and scrape up all the flavourful brown bits. Add to stockpot.
Add thyme, bay leaves, black peppercorns, star anise and tomato paste to stockpot.
Fill with cold water to cover and place over medium high heat. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to maintain a slow simmer. Simmer for a minimum of 5 hours but better if simmered for 12-24 hours. Skim the fat off the top regularly to prevent clouding of the stock.
Cool and strain through a sieve. Discard all the solid parts. Refrigerate and use within 6 days or freeze up to 6 months. 

Turkey Demi-Glace
Velvety textured demi-glace is typically made from veal bones because they contain the most gelatin. The roasted turkey stock is reduced until it is very thick and then gels with cooling.  With a demi-glace an intense flavour is imparted without excess liquid. If you do not like the flavour of celery it can be omitted when making the stock.
Continue to simmer prepared turkey stock for another 3 or 4 hours. Skim the fat from time to time. The stock will be reduced to a syrupy thickness. Keeps in the refrigerator for 6 days or frozen 6 months.

Second Day Brodo 
Brodo is Italian for broth. This is a long simmered bone broth detoxifying cleanse.  Bone broths are a popular trend and touted to be very healthful. Although there is no definitive research to prove they are a super food they are hydrating, contain collagen that is a protein that may help with bone, joint and skin health and contain vegetable and herb anti-inflammatories. The lighter meal after a period of over indulgence brings your digestion back into balance.
carcass and extra meat from the turkey
8 c. water 2 L
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar 30 mL
1 c. onion, diced 250 mL
1/2 c. carrot, rough chopped into 1/2-inch lengths 125 mL/ 1.2 cm
1/2 c. celery, rough chopped into 1/2-inch lengths 125 mL/ 1.2 cm
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp. salt 15 mL
1/2 c. whole garlic cloves 125 mL
1 tbsp. olive oil 15 mL
fresh ginger
coconut oil
Break the turkey carcass into small pieces and place in a large stockpot with cold water and vinegar. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. During the boiling, a frothy layer will rise to the top. Skim regularly to remove.
Simmer 6 hours over gentle heat. If the level of the water drops below the bones during simmering, add water to bring the level back up.
After 6 hours, add the remaining ingredients and simmer for an additional 30 minutes.
Strain through a fine strainer discarding all solids. Return the liquid to the stove. Bring to a moderate boil and cook until the volume has been reduced to 4 cups (1 L). This step will intensify the flavors of the broth.
Then heat oven to 325 F (160 C). Toss garlic in oil and salt and wrap in aluminum foil. Roast in oven for 20 minutes until the garlic cloves are lightly browned and softened.
Finish the dish by cutting the peeled, fresh ginger into matchsticks. Use about 12 per serving. Add about 1 teaspoon (5 mL) coconut oil and three cloves of roasted garlic per serving.
Place the ginger, coconut oil and garlic in the bottom of a soup bowl and pour in 6 ounces (200 mL) of the hot brodo. Let the ginger and garlic steep for 2 minutes and serve. (Source: Chef Zeb Stevenson)