In a few days, most of us in the U.S. will celebrate Thanksgiving. Did you know about 88 percent of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving, consuming 46 million turkeys (some 690 million pounds)? That brings me to this month’s theme for a blogging cultural exchange at World on a Plate — turkey! Turkey (칠면조) is rarely used in traditional Korean home cooking. That doesn’t stop me from using it in my Korean dishes. Every Thanksgiving, I prepare a traditional American Thanksgiving dinner for my extended family. There isn’t much Korean flavor on our Thanksgiving table, other than some kimchi in the stuffing that I recently started to experiment with. But, the leftovers are a different story. I always plan for plenty of leftover turkey. The day after Thanksgiving, it’s a tradition for me to make turkey stock with what is left of the turkey carcass. Then I turn the leftover turkey into delicious Korean dishes – porridge and this spicy soup.
Dakgaejang (닭개장) is a variation of yukgaejang (육개장), made with chicken. Yukgaejang is a popular spicy soup made with shredded beef and lots of scallions and other vegetables. The chicken version is traditionally made with boiled chicken. I often make it with leftovers of a roasted whole chicken (store bought or homemade). Those leftover bones are perfect for making chicken stock, and the whole chicken is too much for two people to finish. Here, I made a variation of dakgejang with turkey leftovers. You can use this recipe for chicken or turkey leftovers, making it great year-round. After a couple of days of heavy Thanksgiving meals, we love to have some kimchi and a spicy bowl of soup!
8 cups turkey/chicken stock (see below for recipe)
2 cups (or more) cooked turkey/chicken meat, shred into bite sizes
1 – 2 bunches scallions
8 ounces mung bean sprouts
3 dry shiitake mushrooms, soaked until plump (use more if using fresh mushrooms)
2 tablespoons Korean red chili pepper flakes (gochugaru)
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon Korean red chili pepper paste (gochujang)
3 tablespoons soup soy sauce (guk ganjang)
2 teaspoons garlic minced
salt and pepper to taste
Pull the meat from the bones and shred into thin strips (or bite sizes).
Blanch the bean sprouts in boiling water for a minute. Drop them in cold water and drain. Cut the scallions into about 4-inch lengths. Thinly slice the mushrooms.
In a sauce pan, heat the sesame oil until hot (but not smoking hot) over low heat. Add the chili pepper flakes and turn the heat off. Stir gently until the oil turns red and the chili pepper flakes become pasty. Do not burn the flakes.
Add the meat, bean sprouts, mushrooms, 1 tablespoon soup soy sauce, and garlic to the sesame oil mixture and mix well. Marinate for 10 to 15 minutes.
Bring the stock to a boil in a large pot. Add the meat and vegetable mixture into the stock. Stir in the gochujang and 2 tablespoons of soup soy sauce. Cook for 5 minutes over medium high heat.
Throw in the scallions. Continue to boil for an additional 3 – 4 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a bowl of rice.
Quick Chicken/Turkey Stock:
Remains of roasted chicken/turkey
1 medium onion, halved and peeled (1/2 for chicken)
1 bay leaf
3 – 4 garlic cloves
Remove as much meat as possible from the chicken/turkey carcass and save them to use in the soup. Put the chicken/turkey remains in a large stock pot filled three-quarters of the way with water. Break up the bones if they are too big to fit in the pot. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and skim off any foam. Add the vegetables, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, covered, for about an hour (longer if desired). Cool and pour through a strainer into a large bowl. You can use a fat separator to remove the fat or keep it in the fridge until the fat solidifies to spoon off the fat.