Today’s Recipes: Turkey Vegetable Soup with Stuffing Dumplings, Thanksgiving Mashed Potato Soup, and Lentil Soup with Smoked or Roasted Turkey.
One of my favorite things about Thanksgiving dinner is the leftovers. Whether you make sandwiches, soup, or a casserole, the day-after meals are almost better than the original. I spend the entire year looking forward to mouth-watering sandwiches and my turkey soup! Of course I can make it anytime of the year, but there is something special about soup made from the Thanksgiving turkey. Maybe it is the extra love you put into making it, or the fact that you can relax over a steaming bowl of soup, curled up in front of the fire with family and friends.
If you are looking for recipes that utilize your Thanksgiving leftovers, remember that any calling for cooked chicken work. Just swap your turkey for the chicken in equal proportions. If you have leftover stock you can use that instead of the water called for in most recipes. But remember that you will be reducing or concentrating it, so if you have seasoned it, it may get too salty. Just add more water to reduce the salt content and enjoy. If you want a stronger turkey flavor, there is an amazing concentrate on the market called Savory Choice Turkey Concentrate. Add one little packet for perfect turkey flavor in your gravy, soups, stock, etc. I keep this on hand and use it throughout the year.
I can’t tell you the number of people I know who go to all the trouble of roasting a turkey for Thanksgiving and then throw away the carcass without making soup! Sacre Bleu!! Please don’t miss this opportunity to make the best soup you’ve ever tasted. It really couldn’t be easier … place the carcass in a big stockpot, throw in a few vegetables and seasonings, cover with water and let simmer for an hour or so. Is it soup yet? Yes!!
Of course the soup that everyone makes is Turkey Vegetable. It is the perfect way to use up any veggies you have left over from your crudite platter! And as with any vegetable soup, you can use whatever you have in the refrigerator. Spinach, cabbage, potatoes, cauliflower, and green beans are all delicious additions. Heck, you could even stir in a spoonful of your green bean casserole. But let’s take it one step further and add dumplings made from the leftover stuffing. So easy and satisfying, you won’t believe how good they taste in this hearty soup.
A thick and rich potato soup is always a hit in our home, but what if you made it with leftover mashed potatoes? Bingo – another winner! I know some people who purposely make a ton of extra mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving just so they can make this yummy soup. The potatoes are the thickener so even though it looks like a cream-based soup, it isn’t. You can also make with raw potatoes, just cook until soft and smash with a fork for a thick consistency.
One of the most popular soups in restaurants is Potato Cheese. You can make that easily with mashed potatoes too. Once the potatoes have been stirred in, take the pot off the heat and slowly stir in the cheese until melted and smooth. Everyone will oooh and ahhh over their bowl of this creamy, rich soup.
If you are looking for a healthy, powerhouse bowl of soup, make the Lentil Soup with Smoked or Roasted Turkey. Lentils are often misunderstood legumes. One of the best sources for non-meat protein, they are delicious when seasoned and cooked properly. Combined with leftover turkey it is one of the most delicious and filling soups you can make. Sometimes I crave a creamy smooth soup, so I’ve given you the option to serve this soup pureed. I personally wouldn’t add the turkey meat back to the pureed soup, but if you want, please go ahead.
Enjoy this collection of soups for your post-Thanksgiving meals or anytime during the year!
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
When straining soups, you can use a colander set over a large bowl to collect broth. Then if you want the broth extra smooth, pass through a fine wire mesh sieve and discard the solids.
Kitchen Skill: Making Broth from a carcass
Utilizing the carcass from your holiday turkey to make soup is one of the best ways to maximize the value of your purchase. I do the same thing whenever I roast a chicken and you can certainly do it with any leftover bones, including beef, pork, or ham.
After you have cleaned off most of the meat, place carcass (or bones) into a large stockpot. Add a couple of carrots and stalks of celery that have been cut into large chunks. If you have fresh herbs, add some of those as well. Add enough cold water to completely cover the carcass and simmer over medium-low heat for about an hour to extract all the flavor. Skim any foam that rises to the surface and discard.
Strain out solids and use the broth to make a delicious soup or freeze in containers for later use.
- Carcass from a roasted turkey with most of the meat removed
- 2 large onions, one quartered and one chopped
- 4 peeled carrots, two coarsely chopped and two sliced
- 4 stalks celery, two coarsely chopped and two sliced
- 6 garlic cloves, four chopped and two smashed and minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 10 whole black peppercorns
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 large eggs
- 6 tbsp all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
- 1/2 tsp salt, plus more as needed
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 cups leftover stuffing (if the stuffing is chunky, chop finely)
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 cups shredded leftover turkey meat
- 1 cup corn kernels
- 1/2 cup frozen tiny peas
- Put the turkey carcass, quartered onions, coarsely chopped carrots and celery, chopped garlic, bay leaf, and peppercorns in a large stockpot and add enough cold water to cover. Bring the water to a boil, and then reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook for 1 hour. Remove from the heat and using a slotted spoon or skimmer, remove the solids from the broth. Pour the liquid through a fine mesh strainer, discarding solids. You should have about 10 to 12 cups broth.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the eggs, flour, 1/2 tsp salt, and a little black pepper together until smooth. Add the stuffing and mix until well combined; cover and reserve. NOTE: Moistness of stuffing can vary; if the dumpling dough is too soft to roll, add a little flour, 1 tsp at a time until it is firm enough to hold its shape while rolling. If it is too dry, add a little water until moist enough to hold together.
- Wipe the stockpot clean with a paper towel. Heat the oil in the pot over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and minced garlic and cook until soft and translucent, about 6 minutes. Add the sliced carrots and celery, thyme sprigs, and reserved broth and bring to a simmer; cook vegetables are just soft, about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, using a small ice cream scoop, portion out stuffing mixture. Roll into balls with wet hands and drop into the simmering soup; cook until dumplings float, 3 to 4 minutes. Gently stir in the turkey meat, corn, and peas, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until heated through. Discard thyme stems. Ladle into bowls and serve hot.
- 1/2 medium onion, minced
- 1 stalk of celery, chopped finely
- 1 carrot, grated coarsely
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter or olive oil
- 2 to 3 cups chicken or turkey broth
- 1/4 tsp crumbled dried rosemary or 1/2 tsp finely minced fresh rosemary
- 2-1/2 cups mashed potatoes
- 1 tsp white-wine vinegar, champagne vinegar, or freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/3 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
- Milk or additional chicken broth, as needed
- Optional Additions
- 1 packed cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, about 4 oz
- 1 to 2 additional cups chicken or turkey broth
- 1/2 to 1 cup chopped cooked turkey or ham
- Hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco)
- In a large stockpot over medium-low heat, cook the onion, the celery, and the carrot in the butter, stirring, until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the broth and the rosemary. Whisk in the potatoes, a little at a time. Increase the heat to medium and bring the soup to a boil, whisking constantly. Stir in the vinegar, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Add more chicken stock or a little milk if needed to thin this soup slightly to your liking. If you prefer a smooth soup, puree with an immersion blender or in a food processor.
- For the Additions: If you want to add cheese to this soup, increase the amount of broth to 4 cups and add the potatoes as directed. Remove from the heat and stir in shredded cheese, 1/3 at a time. Stir until melted and smooth after each addition. If using, stir in chopped turkey or ham. Serve with the hot pepper sauce as a condiment.
- Yield: Makes about 4 servings
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 celery ribs, finely chopped
- 2 carrots, finely chopped
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
- 1 (16 oz) can whole tomatoes, chopped and juices reserved
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup green French or brown lentils
- 3/4 lb smoked turkey wing and thigh, or leftover roasted turkey
- 2 quarts cold water
- 4 small red potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
- 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese or any crumbled soft cheese such as feta, fresh mozzarella, brie, or ricotta
- In a large pot, heat the oil. Add the celery, carrots and onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until it is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf, lentils, turkey, and water and bring to a boil. Cover partially and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are very tender, about 1 hour.
- Transfer turkey pieces to a baking sheet. When cool enough to handle, debone turkey. Discard the skin and bones. Chop meat into bite sized pieces.
- While you are deboning the turkey, add potatoes to the soup and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. Return meat to soup and cook until warmed through. Add the parsley and season with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve, passing the cheese at the table.
- Yield: 4 to 6 servings
- Make Ahead: The soup can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
- Variation: If you prefer a smoother soup, after the lentils are tender, remove the bay leaf, turkey bones and meat from broth. Add potatoes to the broth and cook until just tender. Using a food mill, puree the soup. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. If you want it even smoother, pour it through a wire sieve, discarding any solids. You can serve as is, using the turkey meat for another dish, or add it back to the soup. Garnish with parsley and cheese.