I think it’s safe to say that the holidays are looking a little different this year. Whether it means that your holiday dinners are much smaller, traditions are getting altered to make it “safer,” or Zoom calls with family, which have (sadly) become more of a norm. Whatever your holiday might look like, it means we have to learn how to pivot and adapt appropriately! I figured I would share a leftover turkey recipe this month instead of a new Thanksgiving dish to make.
I always have leftovers after Thanksgiving, whether I’m hosting just my immediate family or a large Thanksgiving feast with all my family who flies in from all over the U.S. One of my favorite ways to use up leftover turkey is to transform it into a big pot of soup! My favorite leftover turkey soup recipe is this turkey and wild rice soup recipe. By adding just a few ingredients together, you come up with the most flavorful soup in an hour’s time. I never let my turkey go to waste. Here are a few of my favorite tips and tricks for making the most of your turkey leftovers.
Carve: I like to carve all the meat off the carcass after our feast. I’ll then store the slices in a sealed container in the refrigerator until I’m ready to use it. I find, if I wait to carve a day or two later, I’m less likely to use the leftovers.
Drippings: I do not stuff my turkey; therefore, I can save all those glorious drippings for soups, stews, and other meals. I typically use most of the drippings for gravy but always save a few tablespoons to cook with the day after.
Turkey Carcass: The day after our feast, I’ll boil the turkey carcass to make a rich and flavorful stock. I then use that stock in whichever soup I decide to make with our leftovers or freeze the stock for a future soup.
Freeze: You can freeze both leftover cooked turkey and this soup. Once you’re done eating your soup (or turkey), make sure the food is at least room temperature, if not already cold. Then, place them into a freezer-safe container or Ziploc bag. Label and freeze. If you are using a freezer-safe Ziploc bag, make sure you lay it flat. Always freeze food within five days of cooking for freshest results. Use within three months.
Defrost: Simply place the frozen contents into your refrigerator overnight to slowly thaw out your food. For soup, you can also place the frozen contents into a soup pot and reheat until hot and bubbly.
These tips and tricks are ways that I make the most of my turkey from the main meal to leftovers. I hope that you found them helpful, too. Regardless of the way you are celebrating Thanksgiving this year, we still have so much to be thankful for, even if 2020 has thrown us a giant curveball.
Turkey and Wild Rice Soup
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
- 2 tablespoons turkey renderings or butter
- 6 carrots, peeled and sliced
- 3 celery, diced
- 1 onion, diced
- 8 cups turkey stock
- 6 sage leaves, minced
- 1/4 cup parsley, minced
- 1 cup wild rice
- 2 cups cooked turkey, diced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat the turkey fat renderings (or butter) on medium-high heat in a large stock pot. Then, add the carrots, celery, and onions. Place the lid on and let the vegetables cook for 10 minutes. (Add a little stock if needed to keep the vegetables from burning and drying out. The purpose of this is to steam the vegetables.)
- Add in 2 cups of stock, half of the minced sage leaves, fresh parsley, and the wild rice. Mix well, place the lid on the pot, and cook for 15 minutes. Mix soup occasionally and make sure that the pot does not get dry (add more stock if needed).
- Add the rest of the stock, lower the burner to a simmer, and cook for 25 minutes, mixing occasionally with the lid on.
- After the 25 minutes, add the cooked, diced turkey and season with salt and pepper. Mix well and cook for an additional 10 minutes, or until the rice is soft to bite. Before serving, stir in the remaining fresh herbs, ladle soup into bowls, and enjoy!
Notes: Consume soup within five days or freeze for up to three months. If you don’t have turkey stock, you can use chicken broth.