Waste Not, Want Not

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Turkey Noodle Soup

Poultry & Pork • Tags: , , ,

During every holiday season, it’s almost a given that one has lots and lots of leftovers, especially turkey (unless you’re Chrystal and do not consume turkey during such a festive time of the year). For Amir, however, his family always made a pot of soup with the leftover bird each Thanksgiving and Christmas. It seemed like a magical event–one day there was a whole carcass of meat and bones, and the next day, a wonderful bowl of homemade soup made by mom. Well today, this is all demystified, and it actually couldn’t be easier. To help ring in the New Year, we each had our own special meal amongst friends–Amir in sunny SoCal and Chrystal in NYC. To keep this childhood Thomas-tradition alive, Amir made sure there was a turkey at his dinner for the only reason to make soup with the leftovers.  And it was perfection!

Don’t let the long recipe below detour you from creating this dish in your own kitchen. For one, you can put whatever it is you want in it! There was some leftover fennel in the fridge, so it went in the pot. Don’t like it? Leave it out! Dress it up however you like. The soup breaks down into 4 easy steps: cut up the veggies and carcass, make the homemade broth, add the fixings, eat and enjoy. And, just because the holidays have passed, this is still a wonderful time of the year to make soup. Try it with chicken or another type of fowl. There were soup leftovers for a week, and it only got better and better each day as the flavors melded together. Plus, who says you can only eat a turkey during the holidays?

Turkey Noodle Soup – Serves 8
Turkey meat, diced into medium chunks
3 stalks celery, including leaves, diced
3 carrots, diced
1 large yellow onion, diced
1/4 cup green onion, including white ends, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup fennel bulb, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
4 bay leaves
8 ounces egg noodles
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
1 1/4 teaspoons creole seasoning
2 teaspoons ground sage
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
Homemade turkey broth (recipe below) or chicken/veggie broth
2 cups water
Olive oil
Unsalted butter

Turkey carcass, cut up into large pieces
1/2 yellow onion, including ends and peels, cut into large chunks
2 celery stalks, including ends and leaves, cut into large chunks
2 carrot stalks, including ends, cut into large chunks
2 whole stalks green onion, including ends
4 bay leaves
Handful whole fennel leaves, including stems
Handful whole parsley
Stems, ends, peels, and remains from the veggies and herbs from soup ingredients
1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
About 4-6 cups of water

1.  Starting with the broth, cut up turkey carcass into large pieces. In a large pot, add half amount of water, then put in 2 or 3 pieces of the turkey. Top with peppercorns, bay leaves, all the veggie parts, stems, leaves and chunks. Then add remaining pieces of turkey bones and meat. Pour enough water to cover contents in pot, filling up all the way to the top.

2. Bring pot to a slow boil over medium-low heat. Reduce to low, loosely cover and let simmer for at least 90 minutes to 2 hours. Skim foam from top if necessary.

3. Remove from heat. Using tongs, remove meat and set aside. Remove large veggie chunks and discard. Drain the rest of the pot using a wire colander or strainer, reserving the broth in a large bowl or tupperware.

4. Cover bowl and refrigerate until ready to make soup. Best to let sit overnight, if possible.

5. Meanwhile, when meat is cool enough to handle with hands, remove all meat from the bones. Discard the bones and reserve meat for the soup. Cut into medium size chunks, about 1 ½ inch pieces. Set aside until ready to make soup.

6. To make soup, heat oil and butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add all the veggies—onions, garlic, celery, carrots, and fennel. Cook for 6-8 minutes, mixing often.

7. Stir in the herbs followed by the remaining spices and seasonings.

8. Add the reserved chopped meat and cook until veggies are tender, letting the flavors meld together, approximately 4-6 minutes.

9. Pour in broth and water and bring to a light bowl. Reduce heat to low and cook uncovered for another 20 minutes.

10. Now stir in noodles and cook another 6-8 minutes, or until noodles are slightly al dente.

11. Remove from heat and serve with bread of your choice.  (Maybe lightly toasted baguette drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar?  Yes!)

If you have seen word spreading about Stir It 28, then you know we are a couple of days in to a food community based effort to raise money for Haiti relief during the month of February. In addition to signing up for one of the nationwide fundraising events on February 21st (calling all bloggers in LA, Atlanta, Chicago and now Houston!), one of the easiest ways we’ve encouraged you to participate is through “One Comment. One Eats.” For each comment left by a reader on your first post of the month of February, we hope you’ll donate one food item to our designated charity–Share Our Strength. It’s just one non-perishable food item per one comment per one reader. In light of today’s theme about avoiding waste, it’s perfect timing. We hope you’ll join the Stir It 28 movement. It’s never too late!

Click HERE for the printable recipe.


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  1. great soup and awesome way of using up leftovers! I love how you guys are rallying for a wonderful cause, keep it up 🙂


  2. i also do a turkey salad with avocado with leftover bird.

    your stock sounds fantastic. i am just now finding a signature when it comes to homemade stock.


  3. Great way to use up those leftovers. I actually just bought a turkey a few weeks ago and roasted the bird up, and froze the meat for use in various dishes, and froze the carcass to use in soup or turkey congee! When they’re so economical, why not eat turkey year-round?


  4. This looks like a perfect winter soup! And that is one of the great thing about making a turkey — the leftovers. Yum.


  5. A hearty soup like this is really a perfect meal. Equally good with turkey or chicken and such a great use for any leftovers in the fridge. This one looks especially good, Duo!

    Also, bravo on the Stir It 28!


  6. I’m so on the anti-turkey at the holidays boat. My family eats MEAT at Christmas. 🙂


  7. Nothing like soup using leftover meat to make it into something new. Yum!!!


  8. I love turkey soup with leftovers, and it sounds great with fennel!


  9. turkey noodle soup looks wonderful! it’s gonna be raining again in LA, so i guess this would be a great meal to have.


  10. Love it, the soups after the holidays are almost as good as the original meals.


  11. Love the idea of using turkey leftover…and the soup is just right for this cold weather 🙂


  12. This sounds so great. I have a wild rice soup that we use for our leftover turkey. I love the addition of fennel, that’s one I haven’t tried. Excellent.


  13. Nothing is more comforting. I a firm believer in no waste.


  14. I can almost imagine how this taste like..


  15. Great post. I’ve been so wasteful lately it’s shameful.


  16. Mmmm leftovers are my favorite key ingredient for good soups 🙂 We always had good turkey noodle in our house after Thanksgiving!!!! sounds lovely!!!


  17. Sometimes I freeze my carcasses from roast chickens and will throw in a bone with soup if I’m too lazy to make the stock. Really gives soups an amazing flavor.

    ps couldn’t seem to comment the other day on your haiti post stir it 28 – wonderful work!


  18. I am not a big fan of turkey either, my dad started that one, but noodles and all the other ingredients, I would have to say I can handle that!


  19. looks so yummy – your broth is the same as mine, sans fennel


  20. This looks delicious. The fennel in the soup is a really intriguing touch.


  21. A bowl of hot delicious soup sounds good right now for lunch!


  22. I love this site!! Keep up the good work! Oh, and I like what you’re doing for Haiti.

    Hope all is well 🙂


  23. Yum! This sounds perfect on a cold winter day! And I love how it uses every scrap of leftovers from the turkey, haha. Great idea 🙂


  24. I love this – I try to save my carcasses from my turkeys or chickens to make stock – the difference in flavor is amazing. Thanks for the brilliant recipe.


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