Homemade Turkey Soup

December 2, 2009

I know this post isn’t very timely, since most of us are probably done with the turkey for the next few weeks, until Christmas rolls around, but it was my first opportunity to take pictures of something I’d made, for the blog. I think, if anything is clear, I need to do some reading up on food photography. Good links (or tips) welcome. See the bottom of this post for a few “outtakes” of my photo session.

I love homemade soup stock, but it’s not something I often take time to make. Which is too bad, because in reality, soup stock takes very little effort on the cook’s part, it’s mostly the time involved in the simmering. And for that, you can put it on the stove and walk away. So here’s the recipe I used for my stock, and then for the soup.

Turkey Stock:

8 quarts cold water
1 turkey carcass, with some skin/fat/meat if possible for flavor
1 small onion, chopped (not finely)
4 ounces carrots, chopped
2 small heads garlic, with tops cut off. You don’t need to peel them.

Sachet of spices, placed in a piece of cheescloth tied closed, or in teaball OR teabag (I have new teabags that I use for traveling with my loose tea).
1 teaspoon or so black peppercorns
6-8 parsley stems, chopped (if you don’t grow fresh, use dried parsley)
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1/4 tsp. dried oregano leaves
1/4 tsp. dried basil leaves

Salt & pepper to taste.

Put the turkey carcass in pieces into pot, along with all of the vegetables, cover with the water (if your pot isn’t big enough to hold 8 quarts of water, just put in as much water as it will hold). Simmer two hours.

After two hours, add the spice sachet. Simmer for one more hour. Add salt and pepper to taste during this step.

I like to stir mine but I’ve seen recipes that say not to do this because it makes your end broth murkier. Since I’m not a purist and I don’t care about perfect, clear broth, I generally ignore this advice.

After the three hours of simmer time, strain the broth. I just use a colander because, again, I don’t care about clear broth and I’m all about what’s easiest. If you want clear broth, you’re going to need to strain it through cheesecloth. You’re on your own there. Once done, if you let it set for a few minutes, you’ll start to see the fat layer on top developing. You can skim this off with a spoon/paper towel, if you’re going to use the stock right away. Since I make mine the same day as the turkey, after we’ve eaten, I store the stock in the fridge for a day or two. The fat rises to the surface and you can skim it off easily with a spoon. You are taking a little of the flavor with you when you take the fat, but you’re taking the cholesterol too.

Makes about 6 quarts of stock.

For the soup:
Here’s where I cheat. Which seems ridiculous since I just made homemade stock but, well, there you go. I use frozen vegetables. You can do the same, depending on what your family likes. I use frozen carrots/peas/corn, whatever I have on hand. You can use fresh, it just takes a lot longer to cook.

1 bag frozen carrots or mixed veggies
Soup stock
half bag egg noodles (medium noodles)
2 cups chopped turkey
salt and pepper to taste

I always cook the noodles first, so I don’t risk cooking down the broth too much, but you can cook your noodles in the soup. Add veggies and turkey. Season w/salt and pepper to taste. Heat to steaming. Serve and eat!

I know, you’re amazed at my precise instructions.

All recipes at a glance:

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