Tuesday, November 29, 2011

...After the turkey

What to do with all of those leftovers... The weekend before Thanksgiving I made a 21-lb. turkey for my small family of 4.  I did it for several reasons.
  1. I love turkey.
  2. I bought it for $0.77/lb!  Yes, I spent about $15 on my huge turkey!  This is an incredible way to be frugal.  I bought 2 and kept one in the deep freezer for early spring.
  3. I can make it go far.  Turkey sandwiches with stuffing and cranberries are my favorite way to eat the leftovers.
  4. I can make it go far.  Freezing chopped or pulled turkey meat for other recipes in 2 cup freezer bags.
  5. I can make it go far.  Using 5 cups of pulled turkey meat, I can make 7 dinners and 9 lunches and still have some left.  How?  Turkey soup.  Perfect for a cool, crisp fall or winter day.  
And that's just what I did.  I made soup.  Just like mom does.  First, the broth, then the soup.  This is not a fast process, but the results are awesome.  All measurements are approximate.

Turkey Broth

1 large turkey carcass, some or most of the meat pulled off.  I do this the same night we have our turkey dinner.  I pull much of the meat off, shove the carcass into my big stockpot, put a lid on it, and then refrigerate until the next day.  If you have 3-5 hours to kill, then by all means, skip the fridge part.  For me, the next morning I pull out the stockpot, fill water to the top of the carcass, add a big handful of baby carrots (8-10), and toss in a tablespoon or so of celery seed.  If you have fresh celery, then use it instead!
Bring it all to a boil, then cover and simmer on low for about 4-5 hours.    At this point you will have a bunch of stuff all floating around and will need to get it all out.  So break out a large platter, grab your tongs, your mesh colander and anything else that can help dig out all that stuff.  Last thing to do is to get a huge container or two to strain your stock into.  Pour your stock through a fine mesh colander into the containers.  Put them in the fridge and save for the next day.  Using a skimmer on the chilled stock, remove the fat off the top.    It's a lot of work but it's worth it for a delicious, healthy meal option.

Turkey Soup

Large stockpot of reduced fat turkey broth (see steps above)
5 cups chopped turkey
2 boxes of quick barley or 2 cups of whole pearled barley (it really doesn't matter which)
5 cups frozen mixed vegetables
36 oz chopped tomatoes (I used 1 and 1/3 of the boxes of Pomi chopped tomatoes)
3 Tbsp dried parsley
1 Tbsp fresh cracked pepper
2 Tbsp onion powder

Put everything EXCEPT CHOPPED TURKEY in the pot and bring to a boil.  Simmer for an hour. Add meat and warm through.


  1. my parents made a similar turkey soup every year after thanksgiving with the leftovers, too. so delicious! this year i used the leftovers for a turkey tortilla soup. turned out great, + a little different from what i was used to, which is fun. =)