Thanksgiving Soups With Leftovers

On the day after Thanksgiving, which at our house occurred with over 35 guests, we began the monumental task of sorting through and using up or storing leftovers or combinations of them. While you can take lots of different approaches to this task, one very useful strategy is to spend the day preparing 6-7 soups. Of course, you no longer have 35-plus guests milling around waiting on the appearance of the next course. You can make soups one or two at a time, try them over the next few hours and then store all the remaining soups in large or medium containers in the freezer. Of course, anyone who stops by can join in.

Most of the soups we planned were prepared using turkey stock derived from the carcass left over from two large turkeys. We had a large ham also and of course some of that was available for a soup or two prepared later in the day. Since we concentrated on turkey stock based soups, the obvious first step was to prepare a couple of large pots of turkey stock using the carcasses trimmed and packaged up for the fridge late on Thanksgiving night during the “big clean-up.”

To begin this process fill two large stockpots to within 3-4 inches from the top with water after placing one turkey carcass in each.  Break up any large bones first so that all bones will remain under water. Then to each pot add a couple of bay leaves and about two dozen peppercorns.  Also to each pot add a few stalks of celery, a couple small yellow onions, peeled and cup up in medium size pieces, as well as 6-10 baby carrots. Add about a tablespoon or less of salt to each pot as well. You can add less salt if you like, but the residual turkey meat, fat, and bones or cartilage will absorb some of the salt as will the added vegetables. All that will be discarded later.  Bring each pot to a boil and then cover and simmer on low for a couple hours.  Then cool and decant the broth from each pot into separate pots.

With the above stock I prepared the following six soups–the details are a little sketchy, but you can adjust to taste. Set aside a one pound package of pinto beans in a container covered with water for soup 6 — see below.

1. Turkey Potato Soup: Add about 1/2 of turkey stock from one of the pot to another pot. Add about two quarts of mashed and partially mashed potatoes from the previous day’s festivities and stir. Add about a cup of previously diced and sauteed onions. Also add in several stalks of celery cut and diced with the onions. Add a generous amount (at least 1-2 cups) of cut-up turkey. Add a little crumbled turkey stuffing as well (about a half cup or less). Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer.  Add one quart of half and half and continue to simmer without boiling. Add about 1/4 cup of dried parsley flakes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with cut up fresh dill as garnish.

2. Vegetable Turkey Rice Soup: Using about 1/2 of the turkey stock from one of the stock pots add a mixture of cut up baby carrots, broccoli, celery, onion, and turkey leftovers. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. After 1/2 hour about 1/2 cup of white rice and bring to a boil again, cover and reduce heat to simmer for 20 min. Add salt and pepper to taste. Also, add a handful of cut-up arugula and a handful of cut-up parsley and the same amount of cut up fresh basil. You may substitute dried parsley and basil.

3. White Bean & Turkey Chili: Cut and dice 1/2 cup of celery and 3/4 cup of white or yellow  onions and saute. Add about two pounds of leftover cut up turkey meat. Spice with cumin (2-3 tablespoons), oregano (1 tablespoon), Artisan’s Table Green Chili Spice Blend (1-2 tablespoons), and half-jar of Artisan’s Table Green Salsa. You can make substitutions for the Artisan’s Table Products or go to the post on August 2 or 3 this year on my blog for ordering information. It’s hard to find anything quite comparable to these great Southwest products.

When the sauteed vegetables, meat and spices have been heated thoroughly and blended add about 1/3 of one of the pots of turkey stock, 3-4 number two 15 oz cans of Cannellini beans, and 3-4 small cans of green chilies. Also, cut up in small pieces and add a large bunch of Swiss-chard. Add more turkey broth if necessary–should be sufficient to cover beans and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to simmer for about an hour.

4. Creamy Cheese Broccoli Soup:   Using a leftover broccoli-soft yellow cheese dish and additional steamed broccoli as a base we prepared a a creamy soup. To about one quart of the cheese broccoli mix was added about 1/8 pot of the turkey stock. About 1/2 cup of finely cut up arugula and fresh basil was added together with 1/2 cup of crumpled up turkey stuffing. The mixture was brought to a near boil and the heat reduced to simmer while one-half quart or more of half and half was added together with salt and pepper to taste.  After addition of the half and half, the soup was heated on the lowest setting with the cover ajar (being careful NOT TO BOIL).

5. Sausage Pasta Soup: Cut up a small package of mild Italian sausage and sear all sides in a fry pan in hot olive oil until it begins to brown. Add about 1/8 to 1/4 pot of turkey stock and bring to a boil. Add an appropriate amount of a stringy pasta (something that comes in relatively small pieces (1-2 inches) or break it up prior to addition . Bring it to a boil and add pasta. Cook for several minutes while you add about a cup of finely chopped arugula or parsley (cilantro will work as well–or even a mix of all three). Also, cut into small pieces about 1/2 of a bunch of Swiss-chard and add to soup. Cook everything for another 3-4 minutes and turn off the heat so as to not overcook the pasta. You can cool if you like and place in the refrigerator in serving size bowls. Best then to microwave later for a soup snack.

6. Bean an Ham Soup: By now it’s late in the afternoon and the pinto beans have been soaking over water for about 6-8 hours. Decant the water and wash the beans with several rinses of water. Add to a good size pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Let beans simmer for an hour until they are done or near done. Add a couple tablespoons of Artisan’s Table Red Chili Spice blend (see note under item 3 above.

When the beans are reasonably well done add about 1/2 pound of cut up roasted ham from Thanksgiving (see yesterday’s blog post if you are interested in how it was seasoned and cooked).

While this soup is quite thick, you can have it over a serving of freshly prepared rice (recommend seasoned Vigo yellow rice). It is also good without rice in a small bowl. It can also be diluted with a few teaspoons full of prepared turkey stock and heated up in the microwave.

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