Thanksgiving Leftovers: Turkey Carcass Soup


Here’s a soup I adore having on the Friday after Thanksgiving. There’s just something so nice about a simple soup supper after all that gluttony the day before. But, if you’re too busy to cook on Friday, or want to save this recipe for a cold January night instead, you have a couple of options: make the stock now and freeze it, or freeze the bones and the extra meat separately and do the whole thing later. The freezer is your friend!


Turkey Carcass Soup, after the jump.

Turkey Caracass Soup

For the stock:
1 turkey carcass, broken into pieces
Any defatted pan juices or gravy that may be left over
12 cups water, or enough to cover the carcass completely
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
2 ribs of celery, diced, with leaves if available
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced well-washed leek (optional)
1/2 cup diced turnip
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon salt, if desired

Bouquet garni, made by tying in cheesecloth 6 sprigs fresh parsley (or 2 teaspoon dried parsley flakes), 1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves and 1 bay leaf

Combine turkey, pan juices, water, onions, celery, carrots, leek, turnip, garlic, salt and the bouquet garni in a large pot. Bring the stock to a boil, then simmer it, partially covering the pot, for 2 to 3 hours. (This stock tastes better the longer it simmers, as long as you don’t cook away the liquid.)

Strain the stock and skim off the fat.

Remove all bones, reserving the turkey meat. Discard the bouquet garni and bay leaf.

For the soup:
2 tablespoons minced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
6 to 7 cups turkey stock
1 teaspoon marjoram or thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup raw barley or rice
1 cup diced turkey meat
Dash hot pepper sauce
2 tablespoons chopped parsley

In a large saucepan, saute the onion and garlic in butter until soft. Add the carrots, celery and mushrooms, and cook the vegetables, stirring, 3 to 5 minutes longer.

Add the flour and cook the mixture, stirring, for another minute.

Add the stock, marjoram, herb mix and barley. Bring the soup to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for an hour.

Add the turkey meat and the hot pepper sauce, adjust the seasonings and heat the soup to boiling.

Sprinkle the soup with parsley just before serving.

Yield: 4 servings.

Adapted from “Jane Brody’s Good Food Book” (Bantam, 1985)


About Author

Liz Johnson is content strategist for The Journal News and, and the founding editor of lohudfood, formerly know as Small Bites. As food editor, she won awards from the New York News Publishers Association, the Association of Food Journalists and the Associated Press. She lives in Nyack with her husband and daughter on a tiny suburban lot they call their farm — with fruit trees, an herb garden, and a yardful of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, shallots, cucumbers, zucchini, radishes, cabbage, peppers, Brussels sprouts and carrots and four big blueberry bushes.

1 Comment

  1. Saw this in the paper, and decided to follow it to make my soupt. So I made the stock, 3.5 hours of simmering. Smells great.

    Making the soup and I get to the part where it says to add the Marjoram and herb mix, but there is no herb mix in the ingredient listing. Check online to see if a correction is posted, but no.

    I guess the proofreader had the holiday off. I’ll think twice about using one of your recipes next time.

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