Okay, it's not the BEST part - the very best part is being with friends and family, but that's a given. So aside from that here's the best part of Thanksgiving:A BIG OL' POT OF TURKEY SOUP.
The first time I made it was after I prepared my debut holiday dinner for my parents and my (first) husband's family. I was 24 or 25. I wanted it to be amazing. I took special care with that turkey, stuffing it the night before, putting it in the oven on a low heat at 4:00 in the morning. Low and slow is good, right?
Yeah, unless you cook the piss out of it.
How many hours did that bird cook? I don't know...10-12? Can you say styrofoam turkey? Can you say botulism from that stuffing? It's a wonder all those people survived.
But that's how you learn (if you're not in prison for involuntary manslaughter).
I also had the obligatory candied yam dish (canned) with brown sugar and marshmallows, that green bean casserole with the cream of mushroom soup (ugh) and canned French fried onions (do you still make that?), canned creamed corn, mashed potatoes (from the box), gravy (from a package), Brussels sprouts with raisins and bacon (the only 'gourmet' touch), cranberry sauce (the jellied kind in the can), Pillsbury crescent rolls. Well, it was the 70s. We weren't into organic or health back then.
So the turkey was a little dry...we had plenty of food and my husband thought I was Betty Crocker (young love).
I don't know how I got the idea to make turkey soup from the carcass but I threw those bones into a pot with some veggies (low and slow worked that time), then strained it, then added new veggies and noodles (now called pasta) and voila! a delicious meal.
I've never used a recipe and it changes every year (no matter where I am I always score the carcass) but it's always hearty and delicious and makes the house smell like heaven.
This year for the first time I used a slow cooker. Here's what I did: I cut up the carcass and put it in the slow cooker with some carrots and celery, water to cover and a little salt (right). And then I cooked it on low for about 10 hours.
Next day I strained the broth, took the meat off the bones and put it back in the pot with the broth and some new cut up carrots, celery, mushrooms, salt, parsley, and cooked it on high for about 3 hours. Then I added about four handfuls of spinach and maybe 8 oz. of egg noodles and cooked it for another hour (left).
AND...if that's not enough I made cornbread. With bacon. In a castiron skillet. And drizzled it with honey.
Oh. My. God.
Add a glass of wine and you're all set.
If you want the cornbread recipe just send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.