Day 284: Hearty Southwest Soup and Grainy Buns

But first, I must introduce Turpigen.

We made history today, right here in my kitchen, by creating the very first Thanksgiving Turpigen for the Calgary Eyeopener’s Thanksgiving Turkey Breakfast. It was the result of an impromptu post-show brainstorming session a few weeks ago: ever heard of Turducken? A chicken stuffed inside a duck stuffed inside a turkey and roasted? Our one-upped version involves a ham inside a turkey, along with sausage meat cooked inside the neck cavity. Turpigen. A far easier feat to perform than Turducken.

This is how you do it: Remove the giblets and dry your turkey, just as you would prep it to stuff with your usual stuffing. Instead of stuffing, shove a 1 kg ham – Black Forest or honey – one of those ones that are shaped like footballs with the mesh pattern imprinted into the outside – into the cavity. We had an almost 20 lb bird and a longer, narrower ham rather than a rounder one, and one slid right into the other. Then take a 1 lb. package of sausage meat – you can buy it in chubs or squeeze any kind of raw sausage out of its casing – gather it into a ball and pack it into the neck cavity; fold the flap of skin over to cover.

Rub the bird with canola oil and/or soft butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast at 325F according to the size of your bird – ours took about 6 hours, but you can find a turkey roasting chart here.

So because I had to leave at 7, Mike stayed up and put the bird in at 1am, then I got up at 3 for the first basting, he at 4, and then I was up at 5 for the day, finishing it off between 5 and leaving for the studio at 7. Needless to say I was burned out afterward, having not gone to bed until after midnight, and so I was happy to have a dinner plan: putting the soup ingredients into the slow cooker before heading back to do traffic this afternoon took about 4 minutes, and I guarantee had I not bothered we would have picked up something junky on the way home.

As you likely haven’t noticed, my Mom posted a comment yesterday, which was far more exciting than you might expect it would be (I thought she was far too busy to keep reading my blog) and she offered up some loot for Free Stuff Fridays! So I guess it’s a thing, then. (Congrats to the Crock Pot winner, who I was relieved to find actually lived in Calgary, rather than Australia or the UK; this thing is a monster.)

It’s a nce stainless steel digital thermometer, which is timely, because Turpigen needs one – the ham inside the bird makes the juices appear pink (ham-coloured) and so it’s difficult to tell when it’s done without a thermometer. They also come in handy when making candy or jam; it’s the sort of thing that once you have, you’ll wonder how you got by without it. I’m not going to ask what you ate for dinner this time, but to perhaps make a suggestion at my Mom’s request – she needs vegetable ideas that will make her actually want to eat them? (Hint: nothing will make her touch Brussels sprouts or broccoli, so don’t even bother going there.) And yes I’m talking about her, not the kids. How to get your Mom to eat her vegetables – now that’s a new topic!


Hearty Southwest Soup

Recipe link


October 10, 2008

I love the idea of using refried beans in this soup! I adore bean soups, but never would have thought of refried beans, which give the soup a nice thick base without having to puree anything.


1L chicken stock

the rest of the pork broth from the pulled pork (or about a cup more stock)

2 cups pulled pork mixture

1 can (19 oz/540 mL) black beans, rinsed and drained

1 can refried beans

1 cup finely chopped carrots

1 cup finely chopped celery

chopped cilantro, for garnish


1Put everything but the cilantro into your slow cooker and cook on high for 4-6 hours or on low for 8. Sprinkle with cilantro before serving.


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32 comments on “Day 284: Hearty Southwest Soup and Grainy Buns

  1. ladyloo
    October 10, 2008 at 10:40 pm

    Squish up any hardy vegetable in a ziploc with a glug of olive oil and a bunch of kosher salt. Then either roast them or put them on the bbq. Yum.

  2. Fiona
    October 11, 2008 at 8:25 am

    What about mashed cauliflower with parmesan? Steam it with stock, mash it up, add some parmesan, and mmmm. Or a gratin? You can cover anything in good cheese and it’ll taste fantastic.

  3. Kathy
    October 11, 2008 at 10:31 am

    how about glazed carrots?

    2 T. marg.
    1/4 c. brown sugar
    2 T. mustard
    1/4 tsp. Salt
    parsley or dill flakes

    3 cups sliced cooked carrots.

    Melt margarine in skillet, add brown sugar, mustard & salt. Stir in carrots. Heat, stirring constantly until carrots are nicely glazed, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle w/ parsley or dill. Serves 4.

    I’m bringing this for Thanksgiving dinner.

    As the song goes “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down”!!

  4. Christina
    October 11, 2008 at 9:42 am

    I’ve never liked Cauliflower but I love it rosted. Just break up and put on a roasting sheet, drizzle with olive oil and some salt & pepper (you could do more spices if you wanted) and roast it at 375 until tender and golden. Super yummy!

  5. robyn
    October 11, 2008 at 9:48 am

    She could always blend zucchini, carrots, peppers, etc into a spaghetti sauce – it totally hides the veggies. Or cake? I once had a zucchini/cabbage/carrot cake and had NO clue there were veggies in it.

  6. Buddiegirl
    October 11, 2008 at 10:19 am

    What about spaghetti squash, served like, well spaghetti. Roast it, shred it and smother it in your favourite pasta sauce. It’s great and you don’t even think about the fact that you are really eating a vegetable.

    BTW I really enjoyed listening to you yesterday on the Eyeopener. You made Jim so happy with the Turpigen and all of those dressing recipes sounded yummy. Wish I could have been there.

  7. JulieVR
    October 11, 2008 at 11:01 am

    Great ideas! I should have mentioned that she’s also diabetic. So hiding vegetables in cake or covering them with sugar might not go over so well…

  8. Erik
    October 11, 2008 at 11:40 am

    Turpigen! I love it! What an inspired idea! And probably safer, too, as the ham would be less susceptible to problems due to undercooking.
    Now if we can just work bacon in there somehow…

  9. Katharine
    October 11, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    No more deciding on whether to roast a turkey or ham this year. You can have both with minumal effort!! I really like zuccini sliced lengthwise and covered with parmesan cheese (and a little s&p) and roasted until the cheese is melted and the zuccs are al dante. I could 50 of them. Super yummy and simple.

  10. Elaine
    October 11, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    I just got married this past August and, although I don’t have children and my husband will eat (and compliment!) anything I make, it’s been a challenge to produce regular dinners that don’t just consist of beet soup or a bowl of Brussels sprouts.

    My two favorite ways to green up our meals are to make spinach/turkey hamburgers (this would of course work with bison, but I’m too po’ to be able to afford bison meat) and zucchini grinders. The hamburgers are self-explanatory, but these grinders are simply stellar, so easy, and pretty darn healthy:

    I generally cut the zucchinis in largeish chunks, then saute them with garlic and sometimes onion, dousing the lot of it with black pepper and a little bit of crushed red pepper.

    While it’s sauteeing (I like to get it browned on at least two sides) I cut a french roll or whole-grain hamburger buns, sprinkle them with mozzarella, and stick them in the broiler to get the cheese bubbly.

    Then, spaghetti sauce in the frying pan, heat it on up and spoon it onto the bun/roll. Super-tasty, esp. the crispy, burny bits.

  11. Dana McCauley
    October 11, 2008 at 12:44 pm

    Although I’m sure the taste is divine, I don’t even want to tell you what that ham in a turkey reminds me of…some things are best left unseen!

    Happy Thanksgiving Julie!

  12. A
    October 11, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    How does the “pigeon” come from stuffing a ham in? Am I the only one who doesn’t get it?

    Stuffing one animal up another’s butt is just wrong. I have the same issue with Turducken(threesome?) It just seems disrespectful. We will dine on a windy bird.

    Don’t hate me

  13. robyn
    October 11, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    Those zucchini grinders sound sooooo good!!! I’m trying those for sure.

    Is it pigeon or pigen? I assumed the pig was the ham?

  14. JulieVR
    October 11, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    Yes, so far you’re the only one who doesn’t get it! It’s turPIGen, not pigeon.. the “en” isn’t really grammatically proper, since in turducken it represents the chicken, but turpig doesn’t have the same ring to it.

    I don’t hate you – I know you’re vegetarian and likely more sensitive to multi-species meat dishes! I kind of had some guilty twangs myself..

  15. Bonnie
    October 11, 2008 at 4:44 pm

    For my turkey this weekend I’m brining it for the first time. Added some sugar, garlic cloves, fresh ground pepper and fresh sage, thyme and rosemary from my garden to the brine. Smells incredible.

    The pulled pork recipe from yesterday made me go out and buy a pork roast (on sale at No Frills) and I know we’ll like a soup made from some of the leftovers. Once again Julie you provide me with great ideas and recipes.

    As for getting your Mom to eat her veggies (how funny is that) I bet she’d like roasted veggies – carrots, parsnips, peppers, onions which have been tossed in olive oil and lightly seasoned. Yum. I could eat a whole baking sheet full.

  16. Laurene
    October 11, 2008 at 9:29 pm

    You know, I never liked Brussel Sprouts either until I stayed with some of my Czech relatives in Germany years ago. My cousin made a soup in a pressure cooker using brussel sprouts, to which she stirred in raw eggs afterwards, like an Italian Stracciatella. You wouldn’t believe how delicious it was! So never say never…somewhere out there there is a recipe for a vegetable that will knock your socks off! Keep looking!

  17. robyn
    October 11, 2008 at 10:42 pm

    I forgot this tip: any veggie, particularly green, is DELICIOUS if you saute them in bacon drippings, and serve them with the crumbled bacon.

    Mind you, everything is better with bacon.

  18. Lisa
    October 12, 2008 at 7:56 am

    Hubby’s sister-in-law is very vegetable averse, but she will eat salad. That way you get to vary the veggies, the dressing, the extras. I personally hate tearing up lettuce, so I often just throw a Greek salad together for myself. Can’t go wrong with feta, tomatoes, cucumbers (especially at this time of year when the tomatoes are YUMMY!) and Greek salad dressing (or just a little balsamic and vinegar)!

  19. Lisa
    October 12, 2008 at 9:03 am

    I also have trouble convincing myself to eat anything that actually still resembles a vegetable. My two favourite hiding tricks:

    1) In curry. Cauliflower in particular – I made the Vij’s chicken curry and added some cauliflower florets in with chicken at the end (since there’s so much sauce, it seemed to work, once the chicken had re-heated, the cauliflower was done)

    2) In pureed soups. My current favourite combination is red pepper and parsnip – saute a chopped onion, dump in 3 chopped red peppers and three peeled and chopped parsnips, and cover with stock. Simmer until veg are cooked through, and puree with an immersion blender. I sometimes (ok, most of the time!) add a swirl of cream at the end to smooth it out a bit. I can hardly tell I’m eating vegetables…

    And a suggestion for the commenter wanting to add bacon to the Turpigen: My mom always covered her turkeys with bacon strips before roasting it – the bacon replaces the butter or canola oil rub to keep the meat moist. The bacon gets nice and crisp and turkey flavoured, and to this day picking those yummy bits off the turkey is one of my favourite things about Thanksgiving. Problem solved, should you really feel that three kinds of meat just aren’t enough at the Thanksgiving table…

  20. Erica
    October 12, 2008 at 12:05 pm

    My husband and I just started a mad veggie-eating spree in July, so I can offer a few tips:

    – If you don’t belong to a CSA, try joining one. Getting a box of fresh veggies every week inspires me to find new recipes and use the things I have in the fridge. Kale, squash, and zucchini are now part of our weekly meals.

    – Make pizza. All sorts of produce tastes great as a pizza topping – thinly-sliced zucchini, tomatoes, spinach, red onions, bell peppers. Add some sauce, cheese, and beef or chicken, and voila! Veggies!

    – Soups, salads, and roasting have already been mentioned. I make mixed salads by working with colours, addding fruit (berries, grapes, pear!), tossing on some meat (crisp pancetta or bacon, grilled chicken, anything), and some suitable dressing. Mmmm. For roasting, butternut squash fries are fantastic.

  21. Suzanne
    October 12, 2008 at 2:59 pm

    I crave steamed collard/mustard/swiss chard greens finished off with a good quality and well-aged Balsamic vinegar and Maldon sea salt. Throw on a handful of Valbella’s double-smoked bacon if you like and wash it down with a good bottle of red.

  22. Sophie
    October 13, 2008 at 2:06 pm

    That Thanksgiving meal in your most recent post sounds heavenly, as does this soup! I like the idea of using refried beans :). I would love to feature your recipe on our Demy, the first and only digital recipe reader. Please email sophiekiblogger@gmail.com if you’re interested. Thanks!

  23. Linda
    October 14, 2008 at 6:54 am

    Acorn squash done in the microwave – prick it all over and mike until soft. Cut in half, scoop out the seeds, add some butter and sea salt and mike until butter melted and squash is soft.

  24. Tina
    October 14, 2008 at 7:31 am

    All my favourites seem to be taken (LOVE roasted /grilled veggies of ANY kind!) If she has access to garden veggies, my mom’s “summer stew” is the BEST, though – potatoes, onions, carrots and little peas in a white sauce with salt and pepper. Maybe sounds odd, but soooooo good!!

  25. Rachel
    October 14, 2008 at 7:41 am

    Sometimes just having them cut up and available is enough. Keep a tray of carrots, peppers, cherry tomatoes, parsnips, etc. on hand in the fridge for easy snacking. If you want to keep the fat content down, don’t dip in mayo- or sour- cream based dips, use salsa. Then you get a double hit of veggies.

    Chop them up tiny (or shred)and add to spaghetti or lasagna. You won’t taste them, and they’ll add bulk to your sauces.

    Shred things like summer squash, zucchini, carrots and freeze to be added to sauces all during winter. They’re not as good as fresh, but better than nothing.

    If you don’t mind odd-colored mashed potatoes, throw some chopped carrots in before you boil your potatoes (the carrots take longer to cook through) and mash all together.

    I love roast potatoes, carrots and onions. I “cheat” and dump the chopped veggies in a zipper bag, add a little extra virgin olive oil (or canola oil) and about half a packet of dry ranch dressing. It doesn’t taste like ranch, but I think the veggies have a nice “put together” taste–and it’s easy!

  26. maplesugar
    October 14, 2008 at 10:18 am

    Soup is a great way to get in a lot of veggies without doing your best Bugs Bunny impression… my latest fave is my version of Sweet Potato(yam) soup – with white beans – it adds protein to the sugars in the sweet potatoes and carrots keeping it lower on the glycemic index):

    Sweet Potato & Cannelini Bean Soup

    Makes 12 servings (approx. 2 cups each)

    125 g onion, diced (about 1/2 a large onion)
    75 g celery, diced
    1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
    2 litres Vegetable broth
    900 g sweet potatoes, diced
    175 g parsnip, diced
    250 g baby carrots, diced
    280 g cannelini beans, (1 can rinsed and drained)
    1/2 cup apple juice
    1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    In a large pot saute onion and celery in olive oil. Add broth and bring to boil.

    Lower heat to medium(a low boil) and add sweet potatoes, parsnips, carrots and beans and cook until sweet potatoes are soft – about 20 minutes.

    Turn heat to low and puree soup with an immersion blender or in batches in a food processor. Stir in apple juice, dust with ground cinnamon and serve.

    Serving Size 330.1g (about 2 cups)

    Amount Per Serving
    Calories 149 Calories from Fat 4
    % Daily Value*
    Total Fat 0.5g/1%
    Cholesterol 0mg/0%
    Sodium 368mg/15%
    Total Carbohydrates 32.8g/11%
    Dietary Fiber 5.6g/22%
    Sugars 4.9g
    Protein 3.4g

    Vitamin A 60% • Vitamin C 35%
    Calcium 4% • Iron 7% * Based on a 2000 calorie diet

    Nutritional details courtesy of caloriecount.about.com

  27. Barb
    October 14, 2008 at 11:33 am

    Your Mom shuold have a recipe for Ratatouille. It’s perfect this time of year and not only good just as it is but it can be served so many ways. Some cheese melted on top, with pasta, between lasagne noodles, as a side or add canned beans for a meal. You probably have more ideas than that even.

  28. Sheila
    October 14, 2008 at 11:34 am

    My guy is not an adventurous eater and my mission in life is to get him to eat a few veggies.

    The two techniques that work for me are…
    1. DON’T overcook [remember the well-boiled canned green peas that someone used to make you??]
    2. Curry! Chicken, beef, shrimp, scallop… it doesn’t matter what the protein is… and add potato, carrot, green beans. [oh! and maybe other secret vegetables??]

    Thanks for your blog! I look forward to seeing it each day!

  29. Laurie
    November 27, 2009 at 3:42 pm

    I wonder if you inventive people could help me. I’ve never liked the texture of beans and lentils (though I do like pea soup when it’s cooked until it’s smooth) and I really hate cauliflower. I’m doing my best to learn to like beans and lentils, experimenting with recipes. It’s not the taste, it’s the texture that turns me off. I’ve discovered if I cook them way past what other people will accept, then puree them, I can used them as thickeners and cope with them that way. But nothing, nothing, improves the taste of cauliflower. Even in curries I pick it out, and can detect even the smallest piece that was missed. Does anyone have any suggestions?

  30. virginia horner
    February 26, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    Anyone ever tried cooking cauliflower fork tender (n0t soggy),then tossing it when it is drained, cooled in a light oil,vinegar with minced green onions dressing?

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