Still have leftover turkey from your holiday dinners and don’t know what to do with it all? No need to waste anything, even the bones from your turkey can be put to good use! My go-to solution for using up leftover Christmas turkey is to make a hearty and healthy soup which can be stored, frozen and eaten at a later time. Turkey soups are surprisingly easy to make and you can add just about any ingredients you like into them. I have outlined the basic steps on how to create a turkey soup from scratch below. Feel free to add any of your favourite herbs, pasta, rice or vegetables to your dish. My recipe contains directions for creating the entire soup from scratch, broth included. If you do not have any leftover turkey bones to create a broth, store bought chicken or vegetable stock can be used.
How to Make Your Own Turkey Soup Base:
- Gather a pot large enough to fit a turkey carcass. Break up the bones if the entire carcass will not fit into the pot.
- Add 12 cups of water into the pot.
- Add your favourite seasonings and spices. Pepper, salt, bay leaves, garlic, thyme, savory and sage compliment turkey well.
- Heat water over a high temperature until boiling, then reduce heat to low. Simmer for 90 minutes.
- Remove bay leaves and bones. Pour the broth through a strainer to sift out any unwanted pieces of bone or skin. Remove any meat which fell off from the carcass and set aside to add to the soup later.
How to Complete Your Turkey Soup:
- Chop 3 medium carrots, 2-3 medium sized celery stalks and 1 large onion. Add the chopped ingredients into the pot with the homemade turkey broth.
- Add chopped leftover turkey pieces into the soup.
- Cook the soup on a low heat until all vegetables are tender.
- Sprinkle freshly chopped parsley once the soup and finished cooking.
- 1 cup of long grain white rice.
- 1 cup of lentils. Keep in mind that dried lentils can take a long time to cook. Begin cooking the lentils in broth before adding any vegetables. Add vegetables only once the lentils have softened.
- 1-2 cups of pasta. Smaller, bite sized pastas such as orzo and bow tie work well in soups.
How to Store and Keep Soup:
- Allow freshly made soup to cool off. Refrigerate within two hours of cooking.
- Pour soup into airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags.
- Pasta becomes mushy when a frozen soup is reheated. Hold off on adding pasta to your soup if you know you will be freezing it.
- Undercook your vegetables slightly if the soup will be frozen.
- Do not add any delicate ingredients like fresh herbs before freezing.
- Soup will keep in the freezer for up to 4-6 months.
- Be sure to date your containers or freezer bags!
Author: Claire Ford, BA (Hons)
Clinical Receptionist | Social Media Rep | Toronto Health & Fitness Advocate