Julia Child was known to say the only real reason for Roasted Turkey at Thanksgiving was to make Turkey Soup. While I don’t totally agree with the legendary cookbook author and American food muse, I, too, love using up all those bones and vegetable scraps from a day or two of cooking for the big meal. In our house, the day after we share our holiday meal, I’m cleaning the turkey carcass and appreciating it is giving our family yet another meal in another incantation: hearty soup. Even if you choose not to make the soup, make the turkey broth. You can freeze it and use it for winter comfort cooking.
While you are chopping all those onions, carrots, celery and parsley for any meal, always put the scraps and bits into a plastic bag and keep stored in your freezer. Our Thanksgiving meal this year for just three of us yields two full gallon bags of vegetable and parsley scraps.
USE THOSE BONES: Carve all the leftover turkey meat off the bones and set aside in the refrigerator. Scoop out any stuffing that may be hiding in the cavity. Rinse the turkey carcass thoroughly. Place all turkey bones in a very large stockpot; add as many onion, garlic, carrot, parsnip, celery, parsley, tomato scraps to fill the stockpot about 2/3’ds full. Add two to three bay leaves and a dozen whole black peppercorns. Fill the stockpot with water to just below the top.
SIMMER YOUR STOCK: Boil your stockpot fixings until the water just begins to boil and then turn down to a low simmer. Do not ever hard boil your stock all the time. You’ll lose out on the full flavors a slow reduction of your liquid provides. Allow to reduce the liquid volume in half. Drain stock into a colander and compost those veggies.
SEASON YOUR BROTH: Taste broth and then add sea salt and black pepper to taste. I like to also add fresh minced parsley and dried thyme to taste. Your broth can be sipped all by itself from a mug or stored in freezer bags for winter cooking down the road.
SYL’S TURKEY SOUP
Makes 10 to 12 Large Bowls of Soup
- 6 to 7 Peeled & sliced carrots into ovals (about 2+ cups of cut carrots)
- 6 to 7 Peeled & sliced parsnips into ovals ( about 2+ cups of cut parsnips)
- 2 ¾ cups Chopped yellow or white onion
- 1+ tbspn (Optional) Minced garlic
- 3 ½ cups Chopped celery and use all of those delicious celery leaves!
- ¼ cup Extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 each Bay leaves
- 6 to 7 quarts Homemade Turkey Stock
- 4 to 5 cups Turkey meat pieces – all types of sizes from little bits to bite-size chunks
- 1 28-0z can Whole Peeled Tomatoes (but don’t’ use the liquid in can)
- 1 tspn Dried Thyme
- 1 cup Finely chopped Italian flat-leaf or curly parsley
- To taste Sea Salt and Black Pepper
- Add olive oil to the bottom of a stockpot; add chopped onion and saute’ over medium heat until translucent
- Add celery and bay leaves and continue to saute’ five minutes
- Add carrots and parsnips and stir together and continue to saute’ 10 to 15 minutes.
- Add turkey stock and turkey meat.
- Using your hands crush each whole peeled tomato and add to stock pot. Reserve the tomato liquid in can for other cooking purposes.
- Season with thyme, parsley, salt and pepper to taste.
OPTIONS: Cooked pasta, like Orzo or Farlelle, or cooked Basmati or Wild Rice, can add a nice texture and contrast to all those veggies. We tend to like our soup very broth-centric but you make this soup your own. Or, just serve with slices of Moxie Bread Company’s Millabrod or Algiers rustic bread. That’s perfection.