Let's make turkey soup together!

November 21, 2020


We can't pretend that Thanksgiving and Christmas won't look and feel very different this year. I hope you are all in the very best of spirits this holiday season even though I know keeping spirits merry and bright can be a challenge. Feelings of melancholy pop into my thoughts too often these days but I have a few temporary pick-me-ups that get me back on track. Besides reminding myself of all that I have to be grateful for and look forward to, I'm listening to Christmas music, crafting a little here and there, and keeping up with some of my cooking traditions, though on a smaller scale. Those little things make me happy. Thanksgiving will be small but still full of all the foods we love, and in the days after the big feast, I'll make my traditional turkey soup and that will make everyone happy. I'd love you to join me in my after Thanksgiving tradition. 

So...let's meet next week about this time and make some turkey soup together! I hear from so many of my friends that they toss the turkey carcass away thinking it's too much trouble to bother with. But they will be missing out on one of the best things about the Thanksgiving feast. Humble as turkey soup may be, it is gorgeous and quite the beauty queen of soups, plus it is healthy and soulful and completely delicious, and contrary to what you might have heard, not a hassle at all, in fact, it's a cinch. For decades it has been my tradition to make turkey rice soup after Thanksgiving and serve it to a crowd on Sunday evening before we would head downtown for the annual Christmas Parade. The parade is of course cancelled this year, but the soup is not. I hope you'll come back next Friday and I'll show you the how-to. It is a two day process, one day to make stock, and the next day to defat the stock and make the soup, but most of it is hands off simmering so you can merrily watch TV or decorate the tree or do whatever you like to do on that long weekend. 

If you can join me you'll need to add these things to your shopping list:

-12 large carrots
-1 large onion
-1 large bunch celery
-4 cloves garlic
-1 bunch fresh spinach or 1 bag baby kale
-herbs; I use fresh parsley, sage, thyme and rosemary, although dry herbs are fine.
-2 C uncooked rice or 1 bag dry noodles, depending if you like turkey soup with rice or turkey soup with noodles. If you are a pasta maker or can purchase fresh noodles, your soup would be a worthy recipient.
-1 big ole' turkey carcass. If you have a smallish turkey, don't worry, even small turkeys can make soup! If you have stuffed the turkey, it's ok to leave tidbits of stuffing inside. 

This year we will have a 20 pounder even though we are only 6 people. I always make a big turkey because we love leftovers. If you are going to join me and make soup, you need to prepare the carcass on Thanksgiving evening after the feast. I know, big groan. If you are absolutely too pooped after dinner, just cover that turkey in foil and refrigerate and deal with it the next morning. You may or may not have leftover meat, and if not, don't worry, you still have the carcass and you can still make soup. My husband and I prepare the leftover turkey meat in this way:

-Save the nice slices for turkey sandwiches.
-Prepare 6-8 or more homemade "TV dinners" with turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy. (I use these restaurant containers. They are reusable and my pack of 50 looks like it will last me a lifetime.) We send guests home with a few and the rest I put in the freezer for busy nights when I am too tired to cook. 
-Pick every last bit of the turkey off the bones and cut into small, soupspoon-sized pieces and put in a separate container. 
-Put the carcass and any undesirable bits, such as floppy skin and fatty bits, the pope's nose and any leftover juices and drippings you did not use for the gravy, into a large stock pot. Put some water in that roasting pan and scrape away until the tiny leftover browny bits are loosened, then throw all that into the pot too. If you have not used the giblets and neck for gravy, add them to the pot too. Cover and refrigerator for Friday's stock. 

I'll see you back here next Friday...to be continued...🦃 🦃 🦃 🦃 🦃 🦃 🦃 🦃 🦃 🦃(Edited after the fact--find the links for the next two posts below.)

xo Kristen

Final post: Soup Finale

My neighbor invited us over to pick one of the last of the pomegranates from her tree.
We chose this massive one. Seeded, it produced TWO cups of seeds. 
Into the freezer they go to use on Thanksgiving and Christmas day.

Late roses and an early paperwhite!

My sous chef.

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  1. Your routine sounds just like ours, only we do it the second Monday in October as we are in Canada. I love that you have given us the heads up so people are prepared and that you've invited others to join you in the soup ritual. On Friday, my duaghter, who lives 2 hours away, and I had a simultaneous oatmeal cookie baking session. When we can't be together in the same place, it is comforting to do the same thing at the same time and to eat the same food from the same recipe. United in time, we are.

    1. I love your idea of cooking together, same recipe, same time. That is just so heart warming. Yes, united we are. Thank you for your comment.

      xo Kristen

  2. Your table looks beautiful. Thanks for the soup recipe. I will save it because we are not having Thanksgiving at our house this year. The pomegranate is huge! I purchased what I thought was a large one today and seeded it for a pomegranate, persimmon, fennel, and arugula salad. I never thought of freezing the remaining seeds, so thank you for that hint.

    1. Thank you, and your recipe sounds amazing! We also serve a salad with our Thanksgiving dinner. It's nice to have something clean and fresh on the day when the tradition is to pull out all the butter and cream! Happy As for freezing the seeds, I flash freeze them first on a baking sheet. It takes only an hour or so, then scoop them up and put them in a container. They will last that way for months. Thanksgiving and thank you for commenting.

  3. Noticed in my Inbox a few days ago that yarn dyer Sundara had cooked up a batch of pomegranate red. She always manages to emulate nature perfectly. Has other reds in the skein - it's not a solid - but if you are looking for this really unusual shade she might have a few skeins left. Happy Thanksgiving, Kristin.

    1. I looked it up and she has sold it. It was a beautiful red. I just signed up for her newsletter. Thanks for the heads up and have a happy Thanksgiving!


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