Happy New Year!
I don't know about you but I was very eager to say goodbye to the chaos of 2020 and a tentative hello to 2021. I hope your holidays were enjoyable and spent with family (virtually if necessary). We had a wonderfully quite Christmas with beautiful weather and the perfect dump of snow just in time for Christmas.
Along with Christmas usually there is turkey and if you're like me, this year you have a lot of leftovers to deal with! So I thought I'd let you in on what we do with left over turkey after the Holidays.
First, I do not like handling poultry, I love to eat it, but cooking it disgusts me. Thankfully I have Jon and he so lovingly handles the bird the most after it has been cooked, carving it, stripping the meat off and dealing with the carcass. I take some of the better pieces of meat and put it aside for sandwiches on Boxing Day and the rest I throw into the freezer until I am ready to make turkey soup, my absolute favourite!
FYI: You can also make this soup with chicken of course, it is also amazing!
So on boxing day we use the left over to make hot turkey sandwiches and fries, one of our family traditions. Yummy homemade fries (with our home grown potatoes I might add), and turkey sandwiches slathered in left over turkey gravy. So yummy!
When the holidays sort of calm down I pick a day to pull out the turkey and make homemade soup. This is an all day event, I let the soup simmer on the stove all day and I make 2-3 large pots of it. This soup is great for freezing and I always have some in the freezer for cold winter days or to pull out in a pinch for dinner.
To start fill the pots up with water about 3/4 of the way. I cut up and disperse the left over turkey evenly between the pots. Turn the stove on low and let the turkey simmer. Next I peel and dice up some potatoes and carrots and add them evenly between the pots. This it the time to add any hard/root vegetables, such as kohlrabi or celery etc.
For flavours I add chicken stock, if using the cubes I put one cube in each pot. I will also split a can of cream of chicken soup between the pots to thicken it. For further thickening I also add a splash of milk (or cream if I have some expiring soon) to each pot. My ultimate flavouring trick is to add left over gravy to the pots as well. It helps to thicken plus adds so much flavour!
For seasoning it is simply salt and pepper and Thyme. I rely heavily on my sense of smell and taste when making this soup so I am never sure exactly how much of each seasoning I add simply because the needs are a little different every time (the amount of turkey and gravy added will determine how much seasoning the soup needs).
By this time the soup should be pretty close to the brim of the pots, if not add some more water. I should also add that if you like onions dice them up fine and add them now, I am not a big fan so I don't cook with them if I can help it.
I let the soup simmer for 5-7 hours depending when I start it in the morning. About an hour before dinner (or when it I want it to be done) I add in the soft vegetables like corn and peas.
At this point there are two ways to go. You can added the noodles and allow them to cook before finishing up the soup or you can store the soup as is and add the noodles/cook the noodles when you plan on eating it. For example, we usually have the soup the day I make it for dinner and I will add noodles to one pot for the meal that night. The other pots, which I intend to put into containers and freeze I do so without noodles and add them when I take the soup out another day to eat. I find the noodles get overcooked when they are first cooked, frozen and then reheated.
I like a lot of noodles in my soup because I like thick soup so I will usually add 1-2 cups of elbow noodles to each pot of soup. If you prefer your soup to have more broth rather than thick simply add less.
This is a very hearty soup and is great on cold winter days. This is also great for meal planning and people on the go. Once the soup is frozen into portion sized containers (I do meal portions for 4) it is so easy to pull out of the freezer, thaw in the microwave enough to get it out of the container and simply reheat on the stove. I do this frequently when I do not know what to make for dinner.
Happy cooking all and stay warm on this beautiful January day!