"You can make these rich warm Leftovers Turkey soup with leftover, or fresh vegetables. Really, all you need is the turkey carcass to make the rich broth, then add whatever you love in your soup"
The making of Leftovers Turkey Soup
Thanksgiving! And you know what that means…LEFTOVERS…yep, turkey this, turkey that.
Making a soup out of the carcass is a great idea…but there is usually more leftover than just turkey.
If so, throw it into the soup…left-over corn – sure, green beans…absolutely…wild rice? of course.
That said, don’t put in any leftover that has been cooked with a pungent or sweet sauce…I also wouldn't put in Brussels sprouts, due to their strong flavor.
And leave the stuffing and mashed potatoes out too.
Making the full-flavored broth
The longest process to making this Leftovers Turkey Soup is, of course, the time it takes to make the full-flavored broth.
But that's all hands-off time, and could easily be done in the crock-pot/slow-cooker while you are off at work, or Christmas shopping or whatever.
If you plan to make the stock in the crock-pot/slow-cooker, then don't brown the bones.
While it imparts a deeper flavor, it's not so noticeable that it's worth an extra pot to clean.
The most important part is to break the carcass into as small of pieces as you can, this allows more flavor to come out.
Also, when I wrote this I used beef broth, but chicken broth also works well, and now, Trader Joe's and other markets now carry turkey broth. So if you can find turkey broth, use that.
The more gobble in the broth the better.
Sweat the Veggies, or don't
This recipe is actually written to use fresh vegetables, although left-over veggies are fine.
If using leftover veggies eliminate them from the sweating process. Add them to the soup near the end of the cooking time and allow them to heat through.
If using fresh, sweat them. Sweating… when the heat is low, the moisture from the vegetables comes to the surface and all the flavor that is deep within comes out.
Cook the pasta on the side
Some recipes will tell you to cook the pasta in the broth, I don't like to do that as it adds too much starch. I much prefer cooking the pasta on the side and adding it at the end.
You can add what you want to each bowl making it easy to control how much each person has.
If you do use pasta in the soup, I recommend you keep it separate if you have soup to freeze. Pasta doesn't hold up to staying in the soup for a long time and reheats poorly, so make it fresh each time you eat these delicious Leftovers Turkey Soup.
Keep it Gluten-Free
If you want to keep this recipe gluten-free, use rice, white or brown, or better yet, pearl barley.
While these grains should still be cooked on the side and added to the soup, not cooked in the soup, they do hold up well to freezing and reheating so can be added once and then left in.
Can I freeze Leftovers Turkey Soup?
Why yes, yes you can. Other than as noted above, leaving noodles out of the mix, this soup freezes beautifully!
So a couple of days after enjoying your big dinner, take the bird apart, saving some of the dark meat to make Gail's Turkey Tacos, or a Turkey Pot Pie, some, of course, has to go to sandwiches, I love the Turkey Bird Sandwich, and then, use the rest to make this soup. Perfect use of leftovers!
And for lunch on a rainy winter's day.
What to do if you have more stock than you need?
Depending on how large of a turkey you bought, and how many people you are making soup for, you may have more stock than needed for the soup.
Save this, freeze it, and use it for making the gravy next year.
It works beautifully when added along with the current year's neck and giblets simmering, adds so much flavor. Each year a little old, and a little new.
BTW - This tastes great with some fresh homemade Polenta Muffins...
Wine Recommendation: This soup goes lovely with whatever you had with your Thanksgiving dinner, but a soft Chardonnay that has a little bit of malolactic fermentation would be a wonderful choice.
Leftovers Turkey Soup
- For the Stock:
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 turkey carcass broken into as small of pieces as you can
- Turkey legs and thigh bones
- Turkey wings
- A mirepoix of 1 onion coarsely chopped. 2 celery stalks chopped and 2 carrots, peeled or scrubbed and chopped
- 4 sprigs parsley
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 large bay leaf
- 1- quart low-salt turkey chicken, or beef broth
- Cold water
- For the Soup:
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup diced celery
- 1 cup diced carrot
- 1 cup green beans cut into 1-inch pieces
- ¾ cup corn frozen is fine, optional
- ¾ cup peas frozen is fine, optional
- ⅓ cup chopped parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 tablespoons flour
- Your homemade turkey stock for 8 serving you will need about 10 cups stock, save extra stock frozen to use next year in the gravy
- Your reserved turkey meat
- Additional shredded turkey meat as desired
- 8 ounces cooked small pasta such as Ditali or small elbow, cooked rice, white or brown, or cooked pearl barley
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Prepare the Stock: Heat the oil in a large stock or soup pot; add the turkey pieces and brown for about 10 minutes. Add all the remaining stock ingredients and enough cold water to cover; bring to a boil; reduce the heat to barely a simmer; simmer 3 – 4 hours.
- Drain through a fine sieve lined with 3 layers of cheesecloth into a large bowl. Set the vegetables, meat, and bones aside to cool. (I like to prepare the stock the day before making the soup, setting it uncovered in the refrigerator so the fat is easy to remove. If you want to skip that step, proceed with making the soup.) When the vegetables and bones are cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones, tear or cut into small pieces taking care to remove the small pieces of bone. Set-aside. Discard the vegetables and bones.
- Prepare the Soup: If making with all fresh ingredients – In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-low heat; add the onion, celery, carrot, and green beans; give them a good pinch of salt; cover and sweat over low heat for 10 – 15 minutes – do not brown. Stir in the parsley, thyme, and flour; saute a couple of minutes then add the stock along with the meat and peas and corn, if using. Bring to a boil; reduce the heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender. Add the cooked pasta; simmer until heated through; taste and adjust seasonings. Top with additional minced parsley if desired.