How to Make Soup from Your Turkey Leftovers

If you're like me, you haven't had a chance to do anything with your turkey leftovers yet.  On Black Friday, I worked all day.  I work in retail, so there was no getting around that!  Yesterday I had a family leftover dinner.  However, I still have plenty of leftovers to deal with, so today I'll be making turkey soup.

Use this recipe as a template and make it your own.The ingredients you use will depend on what you have leftover.  Typically you will not need to buy anything extra, which makes this dish very cheap to cook.  Most ingredients in this recipe can be substituted out for something else that you have on hand.  The amount of salt you will need will vary greatly depending on how salty the other ingredients in the dish already are. 

Making soup is a very easy way to use your leftovers for a new dish, although it does take some time.  Allow about 4 hours to make this recipe.  Here are the basics on how to make turkey soup and soup stock, which you can use as a template to create your own recipe.

Turkey Soup Recipe

The bones are the most important part of this recipe.  Bones from roasted birds give the broth a really rich flavor.  However, they don't have as much of the thickening power of raw bones, so if you have any bones saved from other meals you can throw those in as well.  Try to include all the leftover bones you have.  First you are going to have to get your turkey parts into a manageable size.  Take some heavy kitchen shears and a knife and carefully cut your turkey into pieces small enough to fit into your pot.  Sometimes it's easier to break joints before cutting off the legs and wings.  Be sure that you can see where you're cutting.  Remove any large chunks of meat still on the carcass and set them aside.

Cut into pieces:

1 stick celery
1/2 onion

Put some oil in a large stock pot and place it on medium-high heat.  Saute your cut vegetables until brown.  Reduce the heat and pour in some water or other liquid.  Scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon until all the brown pieces come up.  Put all the bones into the pot.  Fill the pot about 3/4 full with:

chicken stock or vegetable stock (optional)
1-4 Tbsp fresh or dried sage, parsley and thyme or herbs of your choice (don't use all you have - save some to put in later)
Parmesan cheese rind (optional)
salt (if needed)

Turn the heat on high and bring the soup to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 3 hours, stirring occasionally and adding more water if the level gets low.  Periodically skim off the impurities on the surface and discard.

Turn off the heat and let cool until you are comfortable handling the soup.  Remove all the bones with tongs and discard.

Optional: If you want a really fine, clear broth, strain the liquid through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl.  I usually do this step in the sink.  Discard the solids and rinse the sieve and the pot.  Strain the liquid again as you pour it back into the pot.  Place the pot back on the stove.

You now have a fine turkey stock.  Set aside any stock you want to save for later.  Turkey stock can be used in any dish that calls for chicken stock, although you should keep in mind that it has a richer flavor.  You can refrigerate it for a few days or freeze it for a few months.  Turn the burner back on and heat the remaining broth to a low boil. You will now place what vegetables you want to use into the pot, but keep in mind that different things need different amounts of time to cook.  Here is the basic order to place things in the pot and the amount of time they need to cook:

Salt (if needed)
potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces (20 minutes)
celery, chopped (20 minutes)
herbs (10 minutes)
kale (5-10 minutes)
Roasted turkey pieces (4 minutes)
Carrots (4 minutes)

Serve right when the carrots are just tender but haven't lost their flavor.


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