With spring supposedly here in the United Kingdom, the weekend saw a big freezer clear out to see what was left from the winter store. My wife, the list maker extraordinaire, loves these times as it means that she can draw up one of her famous lists and stick it onto the fridge. I know which job I prefer.
It is amazing what you can hoard into a domestic freezer. Ours is only small but there is still enough in there to provide several meals; bags of frozen fish, sorted so that I can instantly make my quick and easy fish pie; several tubs of puréed fruit and yoghurt ice; various curries and casseroles. The undisputed king of the freezer was the huge turkey leg left over from Christmas. It was taking over the whole of the middle shelf and it was time to put it to some use.
I find turkey legs a little tough if not braised rather than roasted. This soup, or broth, is adapted from one of my mother-in-law's recipes, one of those 'everything in the soup' recipes with a little refinement. And with a few herb and mustard suet-less dumplings bobbing on the top, the sorry looking left over leg became a memorable meal in a bowl. And freed up a whole tray in the freezer ready for the new summer hoard...
Turkey, Lentil and Orange Soup with Chive and Mustard Dumplings
1 turkey leg, split into a thigh and drumstick
3 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil
6 rashers of smoked streaky bacon
1 onion, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and diced
3 celery sticks, diced
A few thyme stalks, stripped of their leaves
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 tin of tomatoes
Zest and juice of 1 orange
100g brown lentils
Salt and pepper
For the dumplings
150g self raising flour
75g butter or low fat spread
A handful of fresh chives, chopped
1 tbsp English mustard
Salt and pepper
1 - Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees C, GM3.
2 - Heat the oil in a large casserole dish. Quickly brown the turkey leg all over then remove and keep aside.
3 - Add the bacon, onion, celery and carrot and cook for 10 minutes until beginning to colour.
4 - Stir in the thyme and garlic. Cook for a further minute then add the tomatoes. Return the turkey leg to the casserole and then pour in enough water to barely cover the leg. Stir, bring to the boil then place in the oven for 1 hour.
5 - Take out of the oven and stir in the lentils. Return to the oven and cook for a further 45 minutes.
6 - Remove from the oven and take out the turkey leg. Strip it of the meat and put this back into the casserole dish and stir through along with the orange zest and juice. Taste for seasoning.
7 - To make the dumplings, run together the butter and flour. Stir in the remaining ingredients along with a little water to form a soft dough. Roll into balls the size of golf balls and place onto the top of the soup. Put the lid on and place back into the oven for a further 15-20 minutes until the dumplings are puffed up and cooked through.