Leftovers Turkey Soup

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leftovers turkey soup

“You can make this 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”

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
  • 1 onion coarsely 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
  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • Your homemade turkey stock
  • Your reserved turkey meat
  • 8 ounces cooked small pasta, such as Ditali or small elbow (or rice or noodles)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


Step 1

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.

Step 2

Drain though 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.

Step 3

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 minutes then add the stock along with the meat and peas. 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.

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.


{The making of Leftovers Turkey Soup}

Thanksgiving!  And you know what that means…LEFT-OVERS…yep, turkey this, turkey that.  Making a soup out of the carcass is a great idea…but there is usually more left over 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 left-over 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.

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 carry turkey broth.  So if you can find turkey broth, use that.  The more gobble in the broth the better.


leftovers turkey soup


This recipe is actually written to use fresh vegetables, although left-over veggies are fine.  If using left-over 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 come to the surface and all the flavor that is deep within comes out.

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.

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 left-overs!

And for lunch on a rainy winter’s day.


homemade turkey soup made with leftovers


BTW – This tastes great with some fresh homemade Polenta Muffins…

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Nutritional Info

This information is per serving.
  • Calories
  • Fat
    10g (2g Sat, 6g Mono, 2g Poly)
  • Protein
  • Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Cholesterol
  • Sodium
  • Nutritional Information is provided as a guideline only and may not be 100% accurate based on the ingredients you use

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