Lots of folks will be roasting turkeys tomorrow, and while there are a zillion recipes out there for turkey soup, this is the one I grew up with. My mum always said that it was better than the turkey itself, and while I’m a big fan of her perfectly brined birds, this soup really is sublime.
Save the bones if you’ve eaten the drumsticks etc. Once the pandemonium of the main meal is over, take all the leftover meat off the carcass and put it to one side – you’ll use some of it later.
Cover the carcass in water in a big pot. Add:
- a couple of onions, peeled and cut in quarters
- some celery (mainly the leaves for the stock-making process, you’ll use the stems later)
- salt, pepper
- a couple of tablespoons of thyme
Simmer for 2-3 hours. While it’s simmering, cook up about 3 cups of rice (more or less depending on how big a bird you’re working with). Mum uses plain white rice but last year I used 2 cups of basmati and one cup of wild rice and it was delicious, so be adventurous! Put the rice aside for later.
Once the stock has simmered adequately, strain it – carefully! Toss the bones and other solid parts.
There are two ways to de-fat your stock: chill the strained stock and skim the fat off the top of the gelled stock, or use a fat separator (I love my OXO Good Grips 4-Cup Fat Separator, which looks like a weirdly shaped measuring cup). You can skip this step but the soup will be a little greasier. It will still be delicious, don’t worry.
If you did the chilling step, bring soup back to boil. Either way, add:
- the cooked rice
- chopped celery
- chopped turkey
- salt and pepper to taste
Simmer for about another half an hour, then enjoy with rustic crackers, French bread, or other delicious carbs. A bit of Tabasco goes nicely too.
The soup freezes really well, so don’t be afraid to make lots!
If you enjoyed this recipe, you may also enjoy my mother’s English Bread Sauce recipe, which I posted a few years back.