Isn't Thanksgiving just the best time for foodies like us? We gather, we eat, we laugh, and then... we're left with an Everest of leftovers. But that’s one of the best problems to have, isn’t it? Today, I'm going to share an age-old family recipe that brings the Thanksgiving turkey back to life in a warm, comforting, and delectable soup. So, dig out that leftover turkey from the back of the fridge and let's get started!
Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Soup
- 2-3 cups leftover turkey meat, shredded
- 1 cup carrots, diced
- 1 cup celery, diced
- 1 large onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 cups chicken or turkey broth
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp dried thyme (or fresh if you have it!)
- 1/2 cup uncooked rice or pasta (optional)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 lemon, zest, and juice (this is my secret ingredient for a refreshing twist!)
- Begin the Base: In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced onion, carrots, and celery. Sauté until the vegetables are soft and the onions translucent, about 5-7 minutes.
- Garlic Goodness: Stir in the minced garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
- Pour in the Broth: Gradually pour in the turkey or chicken broth, ensuring to scrape up any delicious bits stuck to the bottom of the pot.
- Herb Infusion: Toss in the bay leaves, thyme, salt, and pepper. Give everything a good stir.
- Turkey Time: Add the shredded turkey meat to the pot.
- Simmer and Soak: If you're adding rice or pasta, now's the time! Allow the soup to simmer for about 20-30 minutes, so the flavors meld together beautifully. Make sure the rice or pasta is cooked through.
- The Refreshing Finish: Just before serving, stir in the fresh parsley, lemon zest, and a squeeze of lemon juice. This adds a refreshing zest to the warm, hearty soup.
- Serve and Savor: Ladle the soup into bowls, serve with a slice of rustic bread or a side salad, and enjoy!
A Few Tips:
- Veggies Galore: Feel free to add any additional leftover veggies you have. Green beans, corn, or even roasted Brussels sprouts can add an extra layer of flavor and texture.
- Creamy Variation: If you're looking for a richer soup, stir in a half cup of heavy cream or milk for a creamy variation.
- Herbs on Hand: Don’t limit yourself to thyme and bay leaves! Rosemary, sage, or even a little tarragon can elevate the flavors.
And there you have it! Your Thanksgiving feast has been reborn into a cozy, warming soup. It's a delightful way to cherish those holiday flavors for a little while longer. Remember, good food is even better when shared, so call over a friend or neighbor and make their day with a bowl of this turkey goodness.