Turkey Soup


Thanksgiving is good and all that, but for some of us, it’s what comes after that’s terrific: the homemade turkey soup. This is an especially part of the holiday season for my son. He faces some challenges in living on his own, and the turkey soup I make after Thanksgiving was always something he looked forward to more than anything. These days I freeze single-serving portions for him to take home, and several times I’ve also given him a dozen frozen servings as a Christmas present, roasting the turkey breast, wings, and drumsticks for that purpose only. Once I even surprised him with turkey soup for his birthday, but that’s in August so it just didn’t seem right. Around here, it’s the holiday season when the house smells like turkey soup.

If you want to make Mom’s Turkey Soup, drop a note in the comments and I’ll post the recipe. It can be a bit time-consuming, but it’s not complicated or difficult, and it makes a hungry young man very happy.

Posted in response to the WordPress Photo Challenge: It’s Not This Time of Year Without…

4 thoughts on “Turkey Soup

    • Here it is, for those who want to try it: After carving the turkey, throw everything that’s not carved for eating back into the roasting pan. This means bones, skin, wings, onion and celery pieces, even drumsticks if your people don’t want to deal with them. (Remove only plastic pieces, such as the clamp holding the feet together and the pop-up doneness indicator.) Break up the rib section so that it fits down in the roaster a bit better. Coarsely cut up another onion, celery stalk, and carrot and throw them in. Pour a large can of chicken broth (48-50 oz) over it all, and add enough water to mostly cover. Set it on two burners of the stove and heat on high until it just begins to boil. Turn down heat and simmer 45 minutes. If pieces are sticking out of the broth, turn them over a couple of times during cooking. Remove from heat and let cool about an hour (no more). With slotted spoon lift the big pieces of the carcass out into a big bowl. Pour the rest through a colander into another large bowl, and add what the colander catches into the carcass bowl. Now you have a bowl of mostly clear broth and a bowl of assorted carcass pieces and veggies. Put them both in the fridge. As soon as the carcass is cool enough to handle, sit down at a table with friends and family (or the TV) and pick through the carcass. Tear meat off the bones and shred it into bite-sized pieces; they go into a second bowl. A third bowl gets anything that’s not meat. When you’re done, add the meat to the broth and toss out the rest. That’s enough for one day! At lunchtime the next day, remove the broth and meat from the fridge. Skim off most of the congealed fat (don’t worry about trying to get it all, just most). Put the pot back on the stove and bring to a boil. As it’s heating, add seasonings to taste. I use chicken bouillon crystals and I also add quite a lot of dried basil flakes (probably a couple of tablespoons for a big pot of soup). Once it’s boiling, add 1 pound of orzo pasta (also known as rosa marina). Cook it as directed on the package, except that a couple of minutes before it finishes add 10 ounces of frozen peas, right from the freezer. Keep cooking and stirring until it comes back up to a boil; by that time the peas are done and the pasta probably is as well. Turn off the heat and let sit a few minutes, so everything keeps cooking a bit and flavors all blend, then serve with oyster crackers. I put single servings in small plastic storage containers and pop them in the freezer, uncovered; as soon as they’re solid I take them out, remove them from the containers, wrap them in wax paper and pile them in zipper bags before returning them to the freezer. That way it’s easy to pull out a bowl of soup whenever you want one!


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