My absolute favourite thing about Thanksgiving or Christmas turkey, is the leftovers. The fact that you have a turkey carcass to make delicious turkey stock out of is, quite possibly, the best part about it. And because of that fact, the turkey soup you can make is out of this world!
First off, in order to make the turkey stock – you will need to get a tad aggressive with the carcass – ie. break it up into smaller pieces with your hands. If you believe you are unable to do that, either grab a willing person to do so, or skip this step altogether and use pre-packaged chicken or vegetable stock – you won’t have a same flavour – but it’ll do if you’re a bit squeamish.
Makes A LOT – approx. 8 quarts
- 1 turkey carcass – don’t worry if it is not squeaky clean – and leftover meat on the carcass will be removed and used as part of the turkey in the soup
- 1 large carrot, stem removed, rough chopped
- 1 onion, skin-on, quartered
- 1 celery, rough chopped
- 4 – 5 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 sprig fresh sage (with at least 4 – 5 leaves intact)
- ~ 8 quarts water – fill the pot until the carcass is just covered.
Toss all ingredients into a big stock pot (if you only have an 8 quart soup pot or Dutch oven, adjust the ingredients to ensure you don’t boil over). And cover with water, just so the carcass is submerged.
Bring a boil, and reduce to a simmer for 2 – 3 hours, occasionally skimming the fat off the top of the stock. Strain the stock into another soup pot when completed, setting aside the meat and bone with meat still intact – discard the skin and fat. When cool enough to touch, begin to pull the meat off of the bones, and shredding it into bite size pieces – set aside for turkey soup.
Turkey and Orzo Soup
Makes approx. 16 cups
- A couple Tablespoons Olive oil
- 1 onion, peeled and diced
- 1 carrot, peeled and diced
- 1 celery, diced
- 1 parsnip, peeled and diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 3 cups, turkey, shredded/diced into bite-size pieces
- ~ 16 cups turkey stock, or your alternative, ie. low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 cup orzo, or any other small pasta
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 1 tsp honey
- Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Juice of half a lemon
In a large soup pot, heat olive oil on medium heat, and begin to sweat the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, parsnips and mushrooms. Cook for approximately 7 minutes or until softened.
Add in the turkey, combine, and add in stock. Bring to a boil, and reduce the heat to a low boil.
Add in the orzo, and flavourings – cinnamon, red pepper flakes, parsley and honey. Once the orzo has cooked through, approximately 8 – 10 minutes, taste and adjust the salt and pepper accordingly.
Add in the lemon juice, and serve.
The bright, fresh turkey soup is a great way to reinvent your leftovers, and keep warm on that cold and rainy day!
Ally Taylor is a food writer based in Vancouver, British Columbia. Through her All in Moderation blog, she aims to promote a healthy gourmet lifestyle for the 9-5’er. Learn more about Ally or follow her on Twitter @allinmod or Instagram @ally_in_moderation