Quick turkey soup

Weekend Herb BloggingAfter the turkey was sliced and eaten, after my family had fought over who got to eat the last bit of stuffing and gravy stashed in plastic containers in the refrigerator, after the Christmas tree had gone up and any remnants of harvest decor gave way to the Advent wreath and manger scenes, the detritus of Thanksgiving in my house ended up as soup. Turkey soup.

The turkey soup was one of Dad’s contributions to the family nutrition profile, born of homemade turkey stock and simmered on the stove for hours.

I solicited Dad’s turkey soup recipe last year, and he sent it to me, typed in narrative form rather than traditional recipe steps. I made a turkey that went to its final resting place in my soup pot and followed the narrative to a happy ending. My first batch of the soup came out just like I remembered Dad’s.

This year, in the madness that was Thanksgiving clean-up, the turkey carcass didn’t survive. But I did end up with four cups of dark and light turkey meat in a container in my freezer, and last weekend, took advantage of a snowy day to stay inside and make a quicker version of the famous soup.

This time around, since I didn’t have to expend any energy on stock-making, I decided to make a few tweaks. What resulted was an incredibly flavorful, hearty, healthy soup that pays homage to Dad’s recipe while still maintaining its own identity. It’s soothing soup, quick to make and comforting on a night when the world is blanketed in snow and you’re looking for something warm and satisfying.

Quick turkey soupQuick Turkey Soup
(Serves a lot of people. Just ask my freezer.)

4 32-ounce tetra-packs of organic chicken broth (Use the good stuff — it makes a huge difference in the flavor)
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
3/4 c. quick cooking pearled barley
4 cups cooked turkey meat (Can substitute chicken here, if you don’t have any turkey meat on hand — just pick up a rotisserie chicken at the store on the way home and use the meat from that)
32 oz. frozen mixed vegetables (I used two bags of a green bean-carrot-corn mixture)
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Take the vegetables out of the freezer and let them start defrosting on the counter.
  2. Mix the broth, tomato paste, soy sauce and barley in a large stock pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for approximately 10 minutes.
  3. Add the turkey meat. Simmer for 10 minutes or until turkey meat is heated through.
  4. Add the mixed vegetables. Bring back to a simmer, and let it continue to simmer for about 5 minutes, or until all the vegetables are heated through. Season to taste with the salt and pepper.
  5. Serve immediately. My Dad recommends that you do so with a rustic red wine and some good, crusty bread. I concur.

This post is my contribution to Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted this week by Ed of Tomato. Please check out the full round-up at the end of the weekend!

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12 Responses to “Quick turkey soup”


  1. 1 Lydia January 27, 2007 at 8:11 am

    I discovered soy sauce as a great flavor boost for soup years ago. And then I discovered something even better: shiitake mushroom soy sauce! I find it in my local Asian market, under the Lee Kum Kee brand.

  2. 2 inadvertentgardener January 27, 2007 at 11:25 am

    Lydia, that sounds fabulous — I’m going to see if my local Asian market has that. It sounds like it would definitely be the perfect soup booster!

  3. 3 Ed January 29, 2007 at 6:59 pm

    What happend to the carcass. When ours don’t survive it usually means a cat got into it. Nothing like a rich turkey soup although we missed it this year aas for some reason we had pork for Christmas lunch. Thanks for herb blogging this weekend.

  4. 4 Katie January 30, 2007 at 2:39 pm

    Great sounding soup. What DID happen to the carcass? We had a neighbor, once, that stole one…
    Soy sauce does a neat trick, doesn’t it?

  5. 5 Kalyn January 30, 2007 at 7:05 pm

    I love barley in soup. Sounds great.

  6. 6 inadvertentgardener January 30, 2007 at 9:48 pm

    Ed and Katie, the carcass was discarded in a moment of efficient cleaning. I hadn’t made my wishes known before it happened, so I take responsibility for the loss of said carcass. Sigh.

    Kalyn, the barley is a really nice touch — more fibericious, but not too heavy. By the way, congrats on your return to the land of running water — I’m glad you finally got the pipes fixed!

  7. 7 Teresa Jewell May 25, 2007 at 7:08 pm

    Great looking recipe. I can’t wait to try it.

  8. 8 inadvertentgardener May 25, 2007 at 9:33 pm

    Teresa, I hope you enjoy it!

  9. 9 retro November 18, 2007 at 7:36 pm

    This year my wife decided to have a dry run thanksgiving day to test out her recipes. We soaked the bird in a brine solution she got at William Sonoma it really kept it moist. OMG, the turkey was so good and I get to do it again in a few days!

  10. 10 inadvertentgardener November 19, 2007 at 9:32 pm

    Retro, I still have never tried brining a turkey, but definitely would like to. Sounds delicious!


  1. 1 Tomato - » Weekend Herb Blogging #67 round-up: Dill 5 Onions nil Trackback on January 29, 2007 at 6:20 pm
  2. 2 Amazing cook book Trackback on May 31, 2017 at 7:01 pm

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