Photo by Judith Hausman
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.