When you’re done carving your turkey and enjoyed a sumptuous meal, do you often wonder what to do with your leftover turkey frame, or “carcass” as we like to call it at our house? I just know there’s lots of meat tucked in those hidden nooks and crannies. Well, years ago I did some research for some ideas because I didn’t have the heart to just toss the carcass in the trash. I found a few soup recipes using the carcass and over the years have modified them to my taste. The best part about my soup is that it doesn’t need to be made right away. After all, aren’t we all just a bit tired of being in the kitchen after the holidays? When the hubs is done with the carving, and I tell him to make sure to not pick it clean, but to leave plenty for our soup, I wrap the carcass in several layers of plastic, then toss it in the freezer for the perfect chilly winter day.
Soup has been our go-to this winter, as it is easy and great for warming the belly on a chilly day. Some days I’m all about what’s good and easy, and just whip something up from memory. Then there are days where I’m feeling a little more industrious and ready to pull out that frozen carcass and get my creative juices flowing. After all, you can take just about any one soup recipe, and make 100 varieties of that same soup. That’s the case with Turkey Carcass Soup.
Your leftover turkey carcass can serve as the base of one delicious tasting soup. My husband’s mom makes a similar soup, but they call it Turkey and Barley Soup. Use barley, use rice, it doesn’t really matter. It’s all the same goodness, and the flavors sing comfort to my belly.
- 1 leftover turkey carcass (not picked totally clean)
- 12 cups water
- 1 chopped onion
- 3 celery ribs with leaves - chopped
- 3 chopped carrots
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 1 tsp thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 small chopped turnip
- 1 sliced leek
- Turkey picked from carcass
- 1 diced onion
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 ribs sliced celery
- 1 turnip, diced
- 1 leek, sliced
- 4 carrots, chopped
- 1 cup raw rice
- salt and pepper to taste
- a dash of worchestershire or tabasco, if desired.
- Stock: Break up the carcass and removing skin, and place in a large stock pot. Add the 12 cups of water, all all the chopped vegetables and spices listed in the "stock" list. Bring to a boil, then let simmer for about 2 hours, until the turkey meat separates from the bones. Take the pot off the heat, and remove all the turkey parts, place on a cookie sheet to cool for easy handling. After the meat has cooled enough to handle, remove all the chunks of meat, and toss out all the remaining bones and skin.
- Strain the broth into a large bowl, and throw away all the vegetables. Let the strained broth cool enough to skim the fat from the top - depending on how de-fatted you desire. Return the broth to the stock pot.
- Soup: Now add all the fresh vegetables from the "soup" list. This list is totally negotiable. At this point you can omit any of the veggies you don't care for (don't be afraid of the turnips, they are quite tasty and add a lovely zing) or you can add any other veggies you choose. If you want to substitute potatoes for the rice - go for it.
- Simmer for 1 hour until rice is done and veggies are tender.
- Serve with hearty bread. This makes enough for a large family, with enough to freeze for later, or enjoy for lunch the next day.