Whatever you do this Thanksgiving, do not discard your Turkey carcass! It has so many nutrients to give you! Once you have carved most of the meat off of your bird, just leave the hard to get pieces on the bone and stick that baby in large pot. It's time to make some soup! Feel free to make a smaller batch than this. I don't do anything in small batches. This will feed 6 people a couple times, just the way I like it.
10- 20 lb - carcass of a turkey plus any extra skin, the neck, heart, liver etc.. (even if it's already been used to make gravy, add it to your carcass). This recipe was done using about a 14 pound turkey's carcass with about a cup of added meat. The more bones, the more flavor!
1 or 2 - celery stalks, leaves included
1 or 2 - peeled (or washed) carrots
1 - whole onion
3 - cloves of garlic
1 - bay leaf
Tip: Whenever you use celery save the leaves in a container in the freezer and use them instead of actual celery whenever you are making a broth.
Ingredients for the Soup:
4 - cups celery diced
4 - cups carrots sliced
2 - onions chopped (about 3 cups)
1 -16 oz jar of stewed tomatoes or about 2 cups of fresh cubed tomatoes
1/4 cup Tabasco (or to taste)
4 cups of cooked rice
Ingredients for the Roux:
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup flour
Tip: If you are dairy or gluten free either skip the roux altogether and just have a more watery soup or use an alternative fat and/or thickener.
For the Broth:
1. Place the turkey in a large pot and fill it with enough water to cover the carcass. Add whole celery sticks, carrots, onion, garlic, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Boil for 30 minutes or so and then simmer for several hours or even overnight on low. Skim off the foam as it cooks. Cook for 2 hours minimum.
Tip: Add a little rice vinegar to the broth to help extract more nutrients and flavor from the bones.
Tip: Don't worry about exactly how much water to add. If in the end you have a lot of broth and think you need to add too or reduce from the veggies or take out some broth and freeze it than do that. It's your soup; treat it like an art not a science. I prefer to have bites of veggies, turkey and rice in every bite.
2. Strain the broth reserving the stock. Return it to the original or a larger pot. Discard cooked vegetables and bay leaf. Set turkey bones and meat aside.
For the Soup:
1. Bring broth to a boil, add diced celery, sliced, carrots, chopped onions, salt and pepper. Simmer for 1 hr.
2. Debone turkey reserving all bits of meat. Sneak in as much skin and other flavorful bits of turkey as you are willing to try. Add turkey, stewed tomatoes and Tabasco to the soup pot.
Tip: For those really opposed to spicy foods reduce the amount of Tabasco. My kids will not eat this if I put the full amount in so I just season my personal bowl of soup as I eat it. It really is a crucial ingredient in my opinion!
3. Add rice.
For the Roux:
1. Melt butter.
2. Add flour whisking steadily for 3-4 minutes.
3. Slowly add 1 cup of broth from the soup stirring well. Keep adding broth up to 3 or 4 cups as it thickens.
4. Add the roux to the soup stirring vigorously.
This soup is delicious, resourceful and nutritious! Feel free to add more turkey meat from what was carved away if you want more chunks of meat in your soup. You could also add okra or any other of your favorite veggies. If you are a diehard noodle fan, sub noodles for rice. Enjoy!
Wait, one more thing...
I still don't recommend discarding your turkey bones and chunks of skin you didn't put in the soup. This turkey still has more to give you! Boil the bones, skin and cartilage one more time with another stalk of celery, carrot, onion and bay leaf, salt and pepper. Simmer on low overnight to leach as much delicious and healing nutrients form the bones and cartilage. Strain the liquid and then can or freeze the broth for future cooking and consumption.