Judith Hausman
November 30, 2011
turkey soup

Photo by Judith Hausman

Lemon (or lime) juice, cilantro and lemon grass impart bright, Asian flavors to this turkey soup.

The Thanksgiving parades are over and the football has begun. In between the two, you reduced that proud bird to a pile of rubble, didn’t you? Don’t give up just yet. Break out the plastic containers and foil, and then take a reviving walk. When you get back, clean the stuffing out of the turkey and get that carcass into a great big pot of water. The roasted bones will give your turkey soup even more flavor. Here are a few tips:

  • Barely cover the turkey bones with water and simmer for 2-3 hours with a couple of carrots, some celery, a bay leaf, an onion, some parsley and a few peppercorns. Remove the remains from the turkey broth broth. Pick off the meat and reserve.
  • Then let the turkey broth cool a little and pour it through a sieve to remove spices & cooked vegetables. Cool the broth further and eventually refrigerate it so you can carefully spoon off the layer of solidified fat the next day.
  • Then add in and cook up a fresh set of diced vegetables and cook any noodles or grain separately. Otherwise, the vegetables will be overcooked and soggy and the starches will soak up too much liquid.
  • If you want to use already-cooked, leftover vegetables, put those in the turkey broth after simmering and de-fatting, along with chopped, fresh herbs (the classic dill is good; thyme and parsley are, too) and the chopped pieces of meat you have reserved. Voila.

For a different palette, try this refreshing and slightly Asian variation of turkey soup once you have prepared the basic stock but before you add a new bunch of vegetables and the leftover meat:

Turkey Soup with Bright Flavors


  • 5-6 cups homemade turkey broth (see above)
  • 5 leeks, well-cleaned and white parts thinly sliced
  • 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
  • 3-4 carrots, sliced
  • 1-2 cups leftover turkey meat, diced
  • 2-3 tablespoons lemon or lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • 2 tablespoons mint leaves, chopped
  • 3-4 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
  • 1-2 tablespoons lemon grass, minced (optional)
  • 3-4 scallions, white parts finely diced (optional)
  • salt and pepper, to taste


Heat the broth well and then add in the leeks, ginger and carrots. Cook until tender. Then add in the leftover meat, herbs and lemon/lime juice, season and heat thoroughly but gently. To serve, add cooked rice or udon noodles. Garnish with some diced scallions. Serves 6-8.

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