Spicy Turkey Soup with Yogurt, Chickpeas, and Mint

I will be the first to admit that I love my mother’s turkey soup, the one she makes with the turkey carcass and leftover turkey from Thanksgiving dinner. That said, by the time the fourth day of eating leftovers comes around, I am just a little bit tired of the same ole same ole turkey taste and usually don’t want to see another turkey recipe for another year.

If any of you feel the same way, I encourage you to give this turkey soup recipe a try. The original recipe is from Joyce Goldstein, and called for chicken. My friend and neighbor Evie Lieb prepared this soup for a group of us recently and all I could think of was how well it would work with leftover turkey (while going back for seconds and thirds).

Well, I made it a few days ago and can’t stop eating it. It’s tangy and spicy and completely holds up to the strong flavor of the turkey (including the thigh meat I used when testing). Ever have tom kha gai, the Thai coconut milk, chicken, lemongrass soup? That’s what this soup reminds me of the most in terms of the flavors. It’s also really easy to make, if you are working with turkey leftovers, it cooks up in a little more time than it takes to cook the rice.

  • Prep: 10 minutes
  • Cook: 35 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup raw basmati rice (rinsed if package directs you to rinse)
  • 4 cups turkey stock (or chicken stock)
  • 2-3 cups cooked leftover turkey meat, dark or light, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup full-fat plain yogurt
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika (can also use smoked paprika for a smokey added touch)
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
  • 3 Tbsp finely chopped mint
  • Lemon wedges, for serving

This recipe I adapted to use with leftover Thanksgiving turkey and freshly made turkey stock. You can also make this starting with raw turkey, with 2 pounds of bone-in, skin-on turkey thighs or legs (thighs are easier to work with). Place the turkey parts in a pot with half an onion, a chopped carrot, and a sprig of parsley. Cover with cold water by an inch. Bring to a simmer and cook until the turkey is cooked through, about 45 minutes to an hour. Remove turkey to a plate and let cool. Pour pot contents through a strainer into a bowl to capture the stock. Once the turkey meat has cooled, remove and discard the skins and bones. Cut the meat into 1-inch pieces. Now you should have enough stock and turkey meat for this recipe.

Method

1 Bring water, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and rice to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat to a low simmer, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes.

2 In a medium saucepan, add the turkey stock and bring to a simmer, remove from heat. (If you are like us, and make your own homemade turkey stock and store it in glass jars, you can remove the lid from the jar and heat the stock in the microwave. You are just trying to warm up the stock in this step.)

3 Whisk together the yogurt, egg yolk, and flour in a large pot. Slowly add the heated stock, whisking after each small addition to incorporate. Heat to a simmer. Add the chickpeas, cooked turkey, and cooked rice. Add salt and pepper to taste.

4 Melt the butter on medium heat in a small skillet. Stir in the garlic, paprika, and cayenne pepper. Cook for a couple minutes, until fragrant, then remove from heat.

Serve soup with a small amount of paprika butter sauce swirled on the surface. Sprinkle with chopped mint. Serve with lemon wedges. Squeeze lemon juice from the wedges onto the soup before eating.

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