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Dark Days Challenge has Begun

December 4th, 2011

The Dark Days Challenge has begun (it’s not too late to sign up if you still want to). The idea behind the challenge is to:

Cook one meal each week featuring SOLE (sustainable, organic, local, ethical) ingredients, write about it on your blog and email your happy recapper a link to your post.

For those of us who have been eating locally for a while, this isn’t as hard as it is for someone just starting out. For us it’s about encouraging others to eat locally during that dark season when it’s more difficult. We have a group discussion forum to help people source items in their regions and to discuss meal options and alternatives for items you can’t find locally.

As a seasoned local eater, I thought I’d try to come up with more interesting recipes for the challenge this year. I’m going to try to find a few new things at the farmer’s market each month for my Dark Days meals. This past week leftovers from Thanksgiving was the theme for my meal. We had a wonderful smoked turkey from Martha’s Farm and the stock made with the bones was more like ham stock than regular turkey stock. When I woke up in the morning and smelled the smokey stock I decided that potato soup was the way to go. I have an abundance of potatoes in the garage from my summer garden and I’d like to make sure to eat them up before they start to sprout.

I don’t very often cook with recipes but I’ll do my best to put this one down in case you want to make it.


3 quarts of smoked turkey or ham stock*
1/4 cup of butter
2 large yellow onions, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, diced
3 pounds of potatoes peeled and cubed
1 pint to 1 quart of whole milk
salt and pepper to taste
your choice of tasty toppings

Melt butter in pan and add onions, cook for 5 minutes over medium to low heat until almost translucent, add garlic, salt and freshly ground pepper; cover and cook on low for additional 4-5 minutes. Add stock to pan and heat until simmering, add potatoes and cook until soft. Pour milk into pan and smash potatoes with a potato masher until soup is thick and there are only small bits of potato left. If soup is too thick add more milk, if it’s too watery cook down a bit. Top with your choice of delicious toppings: scallions, chives, bacon, cheese, etc.

*if you don’t have smoked turkey or ham stock use regular chicken stock or purchase a ham hock and simmer in water for a few hours.

As a side, I added a some tiny butter head lettuce that I got at Local Roots in Wooster, OH and a homemade buttermilk herb dressing with fresh herbs from the garden! How’s that for a meal to brighten you mood on a dark and cold December evening?

How do you creatively use up turkey leftovers from Thanksgiving? Any favorite turkey leftover meals?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.