From the recipe archive, first posted in 2005. Happy Thanksgiving! ~Elise
Every Thanksgiving my mother takes what’s left of the turkey carcass and makes a delicious turkey soup that we enjoy for days.
The first step is to make the stock, which you can get started on right after dinner.
The amounts shown are a guideline. Improvise at will depending on the ingredients you have on hand and how much soup you are making.
For the stock:
- 1 turkey carcass, leftover from carving a whole turkey, including any leftover drippings or giblets (not the liver) if you have them
- Cold water
- 1 medium to large yellow onion, quartered
- 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
- 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)
1 Remove all the usable turkey meat from the turkey carcass to save for making sandwiches later or for adding to the soup.
2 Break up the leftover bones of the carcass a bit, so they don't take up as much room in the pot. Put the leftover bones and skin into a large stock pot and cover with cold water by an inch. Add any drippings that weren't used to make gravy, and any giblets (except liver) that haven't been used already. Add a yellow onion that has been quartered, some chopped carrots, parsley, thyme, a bay leaf, celery tops, and some peppercorns.
3 Bring to a boil and immediately reduce heat to bring the stock to a bare simmer or just below a simmer. Skim off any foamy crud that may float to the surface of the stock.
4 Add salt and pepper, about 1 tsp of salt, 1/2 tsp of pepper. It sort of depends on how big your turkey is. You can always add salt to the soup later.
5 Cook for at least 4 hours, uncovered or partially uncovered (so the stock reduces), occassionally skimming off any foam that comes to the surface. To help maintain a steady, even heat, you can cook the stock in a 180-200°F oven.
6 Remove the bones and veggies and strain the stock, ideally through a very fine mesh strainer.
7 If making stock for future use in soup you may want to reduce the stock by cooking it longer, uncovered, at a bare simmer, to make it more concentrated and easier to store.
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.
Making the Turkey Soup
Prepare the turkey soup much as you would a chicken soup. With your stock already made, add chopped carrots, onions, and celery in equal parts. Add some parsley, a couple cloves of garlic. Add seasoning - poultry seasoning, sage, thyme, marjoram and/or a bouillion cube. Cook at a bare simmer until the vegetables are cooked through. (Or you can sauté the vegetables in a little fat rendered from the soup first, and add back to the soup right before serving.) You can add rice, noodles*, or even leftover mashed potatoes (or not if you want the low carb version). Take some of the remaining turkey meat you reserved earlier, shred it into bite sized pieces and add 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.