Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Recipe: Down Home Turkey Soup

Aren't the “good things that come to those who wait” just the leftovers from the people that got there first? – Author Unknown

Can't you just smell it...
That’s not always the case, I believe. For example, what do you have in your freezer? I bet you I know one thing you have – some leftover turkey from last week’s Easter dinner.

You’ve probably have already had your leftovers several ways, like turkey sandwiches, hot turkey sandwiches with gravy and peas, maybe a casserole… And you’ve frozen the rest after you’ve gotten sick of eating it.

1950s magazine illustration.
Photo: alsis35, Flickr ccl
Well here’s a recipe to make you thaw it out. It’s homey, delicious and in many people elicits memories of childhood and comfort. Even the scent of it simmering on the stove can improve your mood. It has a ”welcoming” smell that will fill your house.

Turkey soup always makes me think of when I was growing up. It was an inexpensive way to stretch a small bit of meat to feed a family of four. We usually got around to having it a few days after any major holiday, be it Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving or even Labour Day. Essentially any day that brought us all together for a feast made leftover turkey.

There are two major schools of thought on turkey (or chicken) soup. On one side we have the “noodlers” and on the other the “ricers.” There’s really not that much difference between the two. The recipe is identical except for one ingredient.

I do prefer rice in my soup, but if you wish, substitute the same amount of broken up wheat noodles (like a vermicelli) to replace it. 

Just remember, noodles will cook in less time than the rice, and take care in breaking them up, about 1” (2.5 cm) long. There’s nothing worse than having long noodles sliding off your spoon, flopping into the soup and splashing up over your clothes!

There's another difference as well. Rice will soak up some of the broth so you will have a more "substantial" soup with rice. But you'll have more delicious broth to soak up with crusty rolls if you use noodles. So there you have it – a dilemma.

I f you do still have some leftover turkey you should try this. Hopefully it will stir a memory or two in you, and create a few for your friends and children.

Down Home Turkey Soup
Prep: 10 min  |  Cook 20 min  |  Serves 4
Filling your kitchen with the aroma of memories.
2  cups leftover turkey
1 lg garlic clove
1 medium onion
1 large carrot
1 stalk celery
1 tbsp butter
7 cups chicken stock
1 cup rice (long grain or basmati, or broken noodles)
1 tsp salt
1-1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
1 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (the secret ingredient)

Melt the butter in a soup pot.

Dice the garlic, onion carrot and celery. No need to peel the carrot if you wash it well.

Add the vegetables to the pan and sauté until the onions begin to soften, about 5 minutes.

Add the stock, turkey, rice and spices to the pot and bring to a boil. Let boil for 15 minutes or until the rice is cooked. (Basmati cooks in 15 minutes.) If your stock is already salty perhaps only add 1/2 tsp.

Taste for salt and pepper and adjust.

Serve with rolls that have been warmed in the oven.


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