It’s that time of year again – when you say a fond farewell to the turkey carcass that’s been taking up far too much room in your fridge and consign it to the ‘Twixmas stockpot of doom. But turkey soup doesn’t have to be something you dread, even though it feels like you have been feasting on the leftovers since the dawn of time. The internet is currently awash with many different suggestions for how to consume all that turkey meat but many of them involve another trip to the supermarket to purchase yet another set of ingredients, and if you’re anything like me then: a) you’ve had enough of supermarkets for the time being thank you very much and b) you’re skint because hello, newsflash, Christmas is expensive and you can’t quite justify more food shopping when your kitchen is still chock full of stuff.
So here’s my tried and tested turkey soup method that involves no, or minimal, extra grocery shopping. And it’s tried and tested because I cooked it yesterday!
First, you need to prepare the stock – this is the most time consuming part but once it’s on to boil you can leave it on a simmer for a couple of hours. Pick the last of the meat off the carcass and put to one side – unless you been making a mountain sandwiches for various relatives, it’s likely you’ve got still got plenty left. Dismantle the carcass as best you can then put in the largest stock pot you have, along with a chopped up carrot, onion, a couple of garlic cloves and some fresh thyme and rosemary if you have any. It’s not necessary to finely chop up the vegetables – just roughly cut or slice the carrot and onion, then squash the cloves of garlic with the side of a knife – you don’t even have to peel them. I don’t usually add any salt and pepper at this point because the turkey should be pretty well seasoned in the first place and you can always add extra when you’re preparing the soup later.
Next, cover everything with water, bring to the boil and simmer. I’ve found about 2 hours does the trick. Once you’ve got a satisfactory stock, drain, put to one side and get started on your soup…
While I was waiting for the stock, I assembled my leftovers to see what I could use (whilst occasionally snacking on the odd cold roast vegetable because I’m only human). I ended up cutting the roast potatoes, carrots and parsnips into smaller chunks, then halving the sprouts and keeping aside any crispy bacon bits (if you don’t cook your sprouts with bacon and/or chestnuts then you’re doing it wrong). If you still have any chipolatas lefts (unlike myself), then chop these up too.
Next comes the fresh stuff. As I intended this to be a chunky broth rather than a blended soup so it goes that it needs some green in it. This could take the form of shredded cabbage or kale to be added at the end, but seeing as I didn’t have either of these, I decided to use spring onion, frying it in some olive oil and butter with diced carrot before added the leftovers. Cook everything together for a minute or two before adding the stock – use you judgement when deciding how much, bearing in mind that you still need to add the meat. Bring this to the boil, then put in as much flaked turkey as you desire and heat for another couple of minutes before seasoning. The trick is not to overcook until everything disintegrates – your leftovers should still be holding their shape, your fresh carrots should still have a bit of bite and your meat should still be in relatively large bits rather than little slivers.
After all that stuff I said about not going anywhere near a supermarket, I did end up popping out to buy some decent bread to go with it, and on this occasion, I opted for a loaf that contained dried cranberries – the perfect match for a turkey soup if ever there was one!