This is a recipe that I have been making for several years now. It started the year we had our own turkey and our neighbor gave us a second one. We had to come up with a way to use all that meat, and the soup was born. Now it’s a yearly tradition. It’s great because it’s healthy, delicious and make a ton, so you have loads of leftovers. One batch makes 18 servings, and if you serve over pasta or rice, you get even more.
1/2 of a roasted turkey (breast, thigh, wing, drum, neck & back. If you have more than one turkey, you can add more breast and thigh meat to the soup)
3 turnips, cut into roughly 3/4” cubes
1 whole leek, chiffonade cut
1 parsnip, cut into roughly 3/4” cubes
4 small red potatoes, quartered but not peeled
1 lb carrots, sliced (or use baby carrots, halved)
1 large can peeled tomatoes (plain, not seasoned)
1 can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
5 chicken bullion cubes
1 tsp basil
1/2 tsp thyme
2 tsp minced garlic
1 tbsp parsley
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/4 tsp sage
1 1/2 cups V8 type vegetable juice
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tbsp brown mustard
4 tbsp barbecue sauce
Small pasta like Ditalini or Mini Shells, or rice (optional)
Cut the leek into thin strips and place into a large soup pot. Cut turnip, parsnip, potato, carrot and breast meat into bite-sized pieces and add to pot along with the beans.
In a saucepan, add the dark meat and neck (put the skin and bones in, we’ll get those out later), bullion cubes, basil, thyme, garlic, parsley, rosemary, pepper, and sage. Add enough water to fill the saucepan. Bring to full boil, then reduce to a simmer. This is our stock.
Over the next hour, use a ladle to scoop off the stock, being careful not to scoop out the herbs. Ladle out about 1 1/2 cups at a time, pour it into the soup pot, and add more water to the saucepan. Continue to do this about every 10 minutes or so. Be sure to stir the pot and move the meat around. Use a colander to strain the remaining liquid off into the soup pot.
Use a large plate to prepare the meat from the saucepan. Discard the neck, bones and skin. Cut the remaining meat into bite-sized pieces and add to the pot.
Add the barbecue sauce, brown sugar, mustard and vegetable juice. Add water to make the pot about 3/4 full. (You should have about 1/2 the pot full of stock by this time.)
Keep the pot on low heat, stir occasionally. Cook until the veggies are just tender. (The turnip will take the longest.) Be careful not to overcook.
I like to cook the ditalini and serve the soup over it. You could also cook rice or quinoa and serve it with the soup. When you freeze the leftovers, make sure you do it without pasta or rice in it, it won’t work well. Freeze the soup in 1-2 serving containers so you can thaw it out bit by bit over time. Ours lasts most of the year unless we get a real craving for soup or serve to company.
Image: © Briana Blair