Wednesday, January 15, 2014

#1 Turkey Soup - 7x7 Christmas Turkey Redux

We start with Turkey Soup and Turkey Broth because they are the basis for all of the dishes in 7 By 7 Christmas Turkey Redux.  We are talking turkey leftovers after all and leftovers are dry and that’s where the turkey broth comes into play.

There is no recipe for this soup.  It comes from watching my mother and grandmother make it for generations.


• carcass from 25 lb turkey
• two additional turkey drumsticks
• two additional turkey thighs
• one additional turkey breast

• 3 pounds yellow onions
• 5 pounds rainbow carrots
• 1 large head of celery
• 1 bunch fresh flat leaf parsley
• 1 bunch fresh thyme
• 1 bunch fresh tarragon
• olive oil
• sea salt
• pepper


• 20 quart stock pot

This soup is really quite a lot of work but it’s the foundation for an entire winter of stock, soup, and other dishes - so it’s worth the effort.  Start by pealing and washing the onions, celery, and carrots.

Once washed, dice them into ½” pieces and then start to brown them in the stockpot.  Heat about 1/3 cup of olive oil and then start sautéing the chopped onions.  Once the onions start to sweat, add the celery.  Sautee the celery until it starts to turn yellow and then add the carrots.  By this point the onions should be caramelizing.  Lower the flame.

Now it’s time to tackle the turkey carcass.  By the time I make turkey soup after the holidays, the carcass has been in the refrigerator for a few days.  Throw the loose thigh and neck bone into the pot.

Next, put the carcass on its side on a large cutting board and compress the carcass to make it as flat as possible.  Add the carcass, additional drumsticks, breast and organ meats to the stockpot.  Season with two tablespoons sea salt and one tablespoon ground black pepper.  Add the chopped parsley, thyme, and tarragon during the last 30 minutes of cooking.

Fill the stockpot with water, leaving about three inches of at the top of the pot.  Place the lid on the pot, turn the heat to high and bring to a medium boil.  Lower the heat to a gentle simmer and allow the soup to cook for about two and a half hours.  Leave the pot on the stove to cool for several hours and then move to a cold place on a terrace, garage or cold part of the basement.

Bring the stockpot back to the kitchen the following day.  The soup should be cold and partially congealed for this step.  Remove and conserve the fat layer from the top of the pot.  Then use tongs to remove large bones, the turkey carcass, and the large pieces of meat.  Once you’ve removed the large bones, start ladling the clear broth and vegetables into varying size storage containers.  Make sure to leave room in the containers because turkey meat will be added later.

Use your hands to remove the turkey meat from the bones and break it into large chunks.  Evenly divide the turkey meat into the containers with your soup.

I prefer to use small containers to store the soup.  This allows you to reheat only the portion that will be eaten and it prevents heating and reheating the soup.  You should end up with about 20 quarts of Turkey Soup and Broth.

I usually cook rice, noodles, or small pasta shells that I add to the heated soup.  Season the soup at the table with salt, pepper, and freshly-grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and enjoy!

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