The first time I had turkey soup was about 3 years ago, which was the last time I was in Idaho for Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is a huge deal with my family out here. There’s enough food to feed an orphanage it feels like, and there’s always at least 12 people. It’s a big event. Well, Thanksgiving only happens once a year, and there’s always a bunch of leftovers.
That year was the first year that I had turkey noodle soup, and it was awesome. This isn’t the exact turkey soup that I had, but it looks yummy.
That first time I had turkey noodle soup, my nana’s friend made it the day after Thanksgiving. The house smelled warm and welcoming. It was a nice thing. It’s cold where they are come Thanksgiving. It’s usually snowing. Where I’m from, it’s usually chilly, but it’s raining not snowing! This soup is great for those leftovers from Thanksgiving. Plus, it’s packed full of good nutrients!
Thanks to Elise at Simply Recipes for this wonderful recipe!
- 1 medium to large yellow onion, quartered or cut into thick wedges
- 1 to 2 carrots, roughly chopped (can include tops)
- Several sprigs of fresh parsley
- 1 to 2 sprigs of thyme, or a teaspoon of dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 celery rib (roughly chopped) and some celery tops
- 5 to 10 peppercorns
For the soup:
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups each, chopped carrots, onion, and celery
- A few sprigs of fresh parsley, leaves chopped (about 2 to 4 Tbsp)
- A couple cloves garlic, minced
- Seasoning – a couple teaspoons or more of poultry seasoning (to taste) or a combination of ground sage, thyme, marjoram, and/or a bouillon cube
- 2 cups or more of leftover chopped or shredded cooked turkey meat
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Egg noodles or rice (optional, skip egg noodles for gluten-free version)
- Remove all the usable turkey meat from the turkey carcass to save for making sandwiches later or for adding to the soup once the stock is made.
- If you are working with a large turkey carcass, you may want to break up the bones a bit so they fit better in the pot. Place the turkey carcass, neck (if you haven’t cooked it with the turkey), leftover skin and bones from dinner, into a large stock pot (at least 8 quart or 12 quart depending on the size of the turkey), and cover with COLD water by an inch.
Add any drippings that weren’t used to make gravy, and any giblets (not the liver) that haven’t been used already. Add thickly sliced onion, some chopped carrots, celery and celery tops, parsley, thyme, a bay leaf, and some peppercorns to the pot.
- Bring to a boil on high heat and then lower the heat to keep the stock to a bare simmer. Skim off any foamy crud that may float to the surface of the stock. (Note in the photo that even though the stock is at a bare simmer, it looks like it is boiling because of the foam that is beginning to come to the surface.)
- Add salt and pepper to the pot, about 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper. It sort of depends on how big your turkey is. You can always add salt to the soup later.
- Cook for at least 4 hours, partially uncovered, occasionally skimming off any foam that comes to the surface.
- After 4 hours of a low simmer, use tongs or a large slotted spoon to remove the bones and vegetables from the pot. Then strain the stock through a fine mesh sieve or strainer. If you have a strainer but it isn’t a fine mesh strainer, you can line it with cheesecloth or with several layers of dampened paper towels and strain the stock through that.
- If making stock for future use in soup you may want to reduce the stock by cooking it longer, uncovered, to make it more concentrated and easier to store. (We usually do this step at a rolling boil, and reduce the stock by at least half. When you boil stock it will make it cloudy, but the taste is great so we don’t care. If you want to reduce stock and keep it relatively clear, you’ll need to do that slowly and a bare simmer, and it will take much longer.)
Makes 3 to 4 quarts or more of stock, depending on the size of the turkey carcass, and how much water you added to cover it.
To Make the Soup
- Prepare the turkey soup much as you would a chicken soup.
- In a large soup pot, heat some butter or olive oil (or turkey fat rendered from the stock) on medium high heat. Add chopped carrots, onions, and celery in equal parts. Cook until the onions are softened, about 10 minutes. Add a couple cloves of garlic, chopped, and cook for a minute more, until the garlic is fragrant. Then add the stock to the pot. Add some parsley and seasoning—salt, pepper, poultry seasoning, sage, thyme, marjoram, and/or a bouillon cube.
- Bring to a simmer and cook until the vegetables are just cooked through. Add rice, noodles*, or even leftover mashed potatoes (skip all of these if you are cooking low-carb). Take some of the remaining turkey meat you reserved earlier, shred it into bite sized pieces and add it to the soup. You may also want to add some chopped tomatoes, either fresh or canned. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sometimes a dash or two of Tabasco gives the soup a nice little kick.
*If cooking gluten-free use gluten-free noodles.
Check out the original source for this recipe with step-by-step photographs and helpful tips as well as many other delicious recipes at: Simply Recipes.