As winter turns to spring here on the Central Coast, there are still a few chilly evenings here and there that call for a nice warm bowl of soup. And in the spirit of using up leftovers, I decided to give the second half of the Thanksgiving turkey I brought home a new life.
I used the first half of the leftover turkey carcass a couple months ago in a similar soup, but wasn’t happy with the results. I used the bones to make a broth and loosen the meat, then added the meat back into the soup as it cooked. The meat ended up dry and stringy. This time, I cooked the carcass just long enough to loosen the meat, then added the meat back in at the very end to warm it up. Not quite as moist as it was on Thanksgiving, but it sure made a tasty batch of soup!
The recipe below is enough for 4-5 generous portions. Cook it over the weekend and eat it all week, or stick a few servings in the freezer and pull them out on a rainy spring evening.
1/2 a large, leftover Thanksgiving turkey
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp marjoram
1 tbsp oregano
2 bay leaves
3 cloves garlic
1 medium onion
1 large celery heart (about 8 stalks celery)
5-7 large carrots
6 cups water
Warm the olive oil in a large pot. Dice onion and garlic, add to pot and sauté until aromatic. Dice celery and carrots, sauté until they just start to soften. Add marjoram, oregano, bay leaves, turkey, and water. Cover and let sit over medium heat for 10-15 minutes, or until turkey starts to come off the bones.
Remove turkey and set aside on a large cutting board (or in a large bowl, rotating every 10 minutes to ensure all of the meat has a chance to cool) until cool enough to handle. Replace lid on pot, continue simmering over medium heat until onion, carrot, and celery are just tender (but not mushy).
Once the turkey is cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones, shred, and set aside. Once the vegetables are fully cooked, add the shredded turkey back in and let simmer 3-5 minutes until the flavors combine.