Turkey Soup!

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Shizouka
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Turkey Soup!

Post by Shizouka » 07/14/18

We're quite a ways away from Thanksgiving, but sometimes turkeys go on sale, and you want to cook a bird. But what about what is left over after?

Sure, cooking a turkey is not rocket surgery, but I always figured, why only use the meat on a bird only? You can get a lot more meals out of it afterwards if you're willing to put in the work.

And depending on how often you cook a turkey a year, leftovers from one bird, can go into the soup of the next. I use the previous turkey's leftover frozen meat in the soup here. Its a great way to use it up as long as it is still good. Else, add in some from your current bird.

This can be a bit of an undertaking both in time and work. You need to plan this out. If you're wanting to cut down on work, play it safe the first time.

Hardware:
~7 quart slow cooker or large dutch oven pot.
1 large Soup Sock (optional, but highly recommended)
spider and hand sieve. (conversely optional)

This is rather easy with a slow cooker. But if you don't have one, you can use a large pot (while shopping for slow cookers). The more important decision, is to either cook the turkey carcass in bare, or inside a soup sock.

WARNING: Turkeys have a LOT of bones, ligaments, nervous tissue, and other stuff. If you don't want to wait for it to cool down, spend a half hour fishing bones and bits of... whatever out with a wire spider and later use a sieve to get the really tiny bones, all while getting your hands covered in greasy stuff and fat, just use the soup sock.

Conversely, Even if you are a whiz at carving a turkey and cleaning it, you are still going to leave a good deal of meat on a bird once done. Its probably safe to try removing the remaining bits of meat from the soup sock once done and it cools.


Software:

1 cleaned and almost fully enjoyed 10-15lb turkey.
Leftover turkey meat
2 large cooking Onions
2-4 carrots, chopped
Thyme (2-4 fresh sprigs or small handfull of dry)
Sage (Same amount here, fresh or dry is fine)
2 Bay leaves
1 cup of frozen peas (optional)
1 package of your favorite noodles (I like Egg no Yolks! noodles)
Up to 4 cups of chicken broth (optional)
Salt

Primary cooking time: 5-7 hours

Here's where you start to plan. The first cooking part will take a few hours, ~4-6 in a slow cooker. I recommend starting early. If you made the turkey for dinner, no worries, just pack the cleaned carcass away in the fridge the night before. cling rap works great.

1. Place the turkey carcass in the slow cooker, either alone or in a soup sock. Fill water to almost covering it. Add bay leaves. If it doesn't 100% fit, feel free to crush the carcass a bit to make it fit.

2. Quarter the onions in the soup. These are for adding flavor and thus don't need to be cut anyway special, as you will be tossing them later. They give up their flavor for your meal. If you really want, you can cut them smaller to leave in, but they will be very mushy.

3. Cover and cook for 5-7 hours. Low or high, longer for low, sooner for high.

4. Remove onions. That spider will come in handy. Spoon off some of the surface fat. It will make the soup taste really good, so don't remove all of it.

5a. If you opted not to use the soup sock, let it cool down for an hour (HOT SOUP IS HOT). You can do this if you just want to get the leftover meat from the bag too, just let what you are working with cool down a bit.

5b. Get a space at the kitchen table clear, a rag, and dig out all the bones, ligaments, and nervous tissue you can. the spider gets all the big stuff, then use the hand sieve to get the SMALL stuff. There are going to be tiny bones. This is why I recommend using a bag to hold everything. You might still find a few tiny bones, so don't be surprised.
-- * I recommend having two big bowls. One for the bone and junk, the other for the good meat. fishing out the good meat to re-add again makes finding all the bones the first time much easier.

Secondary Cooking time: 30 mins

6. Take the slow cooker with the soup liquid and turn on again. Chop up some of the leftover turkey meat and add it. Its okay if you are using frozen meat from last bird (assuming its not a year old). Add the carrot and cook for ~30 mins at temperature. If you are using fresh herbs, add them at this step.

7. Check carrots for doneness, Remove bay leaves. Remove fresh herb sprigs. Salt to taste. cooking with water you might be a bit low on salt, the carrots might suck up a little bit of the salt too. Do this before adding the noodles.

8. Add noodles and wait a few minutes for them to plump up. Depending on how MANY noodles you add, you might have accidentally made a turkey casserole. But don't worry. Add some chicken stock to make it more like a soup as desired.

9. Add frozen peas for more vegetables.

Done!

Note: the above process also works if you are wanting to just make turkey broth to freeze and save later.

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