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Simon Hopkinson's Creamed Turkey and Ham Soup with Tarragon

This recipe was given to me by my very good friend, cookery writer Simon Hopkinson. He says a turkey carcass makes one of the very finest poultry stocks. Perhaps it is something to do with all that stuffing and the long cooking of the bird that produces something so very savoury.The stock - or broth - itself is perfectly good to drink on its own, but with the addition of rice as a thickening agent, the richness of cream and an aniseed kick of tarragon, this velvety soup is ideal for those days after Christmas, when a simple bowl of nourishment is all that one can cope with. The ham is a welcome addition to the soup, but if you have not cooked one for the festive season, simply leave it out. However, slices of crisply cooked streaky bacon, broken into shards, could be the perfect substitute.

 
 


Method

Put all the ingredients for the stock into the pan and add 5 pints (2.95 litres) of water, bring to a simmer, skim off any resultant froth, then cover and cook very gently for about 2 hours.

Pour through a colander into a clean pan and leave to drain for 15 minutes, then discard the bones and vegetables. Using several sheets of absorbent kitchen paper, remove any fat from the surface of the stock.

Pour the stock back through a fine sieve into the original large pan (wash it out first), rinse out the other pan and pour the broth back into it.

Slowly bring to a simmer, using a large metal spoon to remove any scum that will surely form. Reduce the liquid, uncovered, until you have roughly 3 pints (1.75 litres) remaining, continuing to skim the surface occasionally.

Reduce the heat, add the rice, cover the pan and cook until it is very overcooked and soft (about 20 minutes). Ladle the whole lot into a liquidiser and blend until very smooth (you will have to do this in batches).

When reheating the soup, add the cream, ham and tarragon and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.

Stir in the lemon juice, check for seasoning and serve.

 

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