The second best part of Thanksgiving is making soup from the leftovers.
*The best part? Sitting at the table, surrounded by friends and family, while gnawing on a turkey leg from a grill-smoked turkey.
Every year, I make a big pot or two of turkey stock with the carcasses from my birds. I use that stock to make one old fashioned batch of turkey noodle soup, then I use my stock to go on a world tour.
*You are making turkey stock from your carcass this year, aren't you?
This year, I was aiming for an Italian style soup, with pancetta and greens. I wound up farther south on the Italian boot that I thought. I was aiming for Tuscany. I probably wound up in Sicily, because my freezer was missing some key ingredients! Prosciutto replaced the pancetta, chickpeas replaced the white beans, and baby spinach became the green.
Even though I wound up improvising, the results were worth it. The smoky turkey stock, made from grilled birds, was the perfect broth for the shredded turkey meat, vegetables and chickpeas. Looking for a way to use up your thanksgiving leftovers? Try this soup!
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion, Chopped in ½" chunks
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped into ½" chunks
- 1 stalk celery, chopped into ½" chunks
- 1 oz prosciutto (5 pieces), sliced crosswise into ¼" slivers
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
- 1 sprig each of fresh thyme, rosemary and sage
- ½ cup white wine (optional)
- 2 quarts homemade turkey stock
- 4 cups shredded cooked turkey
- 15oz can of diced tomatoes, drained
- 2 cups cooked chickpeas (homemade or canned, drained)
- 1 handful (about 1 cup) baby spinach
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
- Grated Parmesan cheese
1. Saute the aromatics: Heat the vegetable oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering, then add the onion, carrots, celery, and prosciutto, and sprinkle with the ½ teaspoon of salt. Saute until the vegetables are softening and the prosciutto is getting crisp, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and herb sprigs, and toast for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until you start to smell garlic.
2. Simmer the broth: Turn the heat to high, and pour in the white wine. Scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen any browned bits, and boil the wine for a minute, until reduced by half. Add the turkey stock, bring to a boil, and boil for 1 minute. Add the shredded turkey, tomatoes, and chickpeas; leave the heat on high until the soup returns to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes.
*I keep my stock in the freezer and thaw it in the microwave while I'm doing step 1. If it's still a little frozen at this point, that's OK. Put the big ice cube of stock into the pot, and it will melt on its way to boiling.
3. Finish the soup: Fish out the herb sprigs. Add the spinach and simmer for a minute, until the spinach wilts. Add the balsamic vinegar, then season to taste with salt, pepper, and more vinegar if necessary.
*Season the soup heavily - when using homemade stock, it won't have much salt in it. and the soup needs salt or it will taste watery.
4. Serve: Ladle into bowls, and top with grated Parmesan cheese.
*For the Tuscan version of the soup, replace the chickpeas with white beans and the spinach with kale.
*If you like a heartier soup, more like an Italian turkey chili, reduce the stock to 1 quart.
*No balsamic vinegar? Use lemon juice.
*You can always substitute chicken stock and leftover chicken for the turkey, if you're reading this recipe after Thanksgiving.
*You can substitute a low sodium store-bought chicken broth for the turkey stock. But promise me you'll try to make your own stock next time? It comes out so much better...
*I serve this with a salad and slices of french bread on the side.
*The kids were a little put off by all the "stuff" in the soup. They would have preferred a turkey, chickpea and broth soup. The spinach leaves were probably the last straw, so leave those out if you have picky eaters. But...for my picky eaters, one was fishing out the meat, another was fishing out the chickpeas, and then they all slurped up as much broth as they could without catching too much of the "yucky" stuff. That's a dinnertime win in my book.
Questions? Comments? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
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