Turkey carcass soup

It's bone chilling out there today. Even with the woodstove roaring, the wind is finding its way in under doors. It's skirting through window panes, howling around the eves, and blowing up leaves from the snow.

It's a soup day, in short. Last night's turkey carcass sits nearly devoured on the stove, all bones and skin and bits of untouched meat.

We had an early Christmas feast, to celebrate the arrival of a west coast friend. No matter that she didn't arrive, snowed in still in Seattle, skidding back and forth across the city in taxi after taxi to and from the airport. We missed her terribly, of course, but the turkey was already thawed, the invitations made, and a ten pound Hubbard squash peeled in her honor. There was little left to do but eat.

And my goodness, did we eat. We ate roast potatoes and cranberry sauce, white meat and dark, spinach salad, roasted beets, and goat cheese with bread. There was stuffing with pine nuts and apricots, braised short ribs in a noodle stew, wine and beer and sparkling pomegranate juice to boot. Even when we thought we were through, someone brought out ice cream and a pie, and a bag of cookies, chocolate chip.

Still, though we tried, we didn't quite finish the turkey. We were down in numbers and strength, having counted on the appetite of one more, starved from airport food and the bustle of travel. But it wasn't all bad; there was just enough left over to make my mother's turkey soup.

It isn't really my mother's, I should admit. It's Jane Brody's from her Good Food Book, Turkey Carcass Soup. But my mother's made it so many times, so adopted it as her own, that I've given it over to her in name. It's a hearty soup, perfect for weather like this, even, if need be, excellent warmed over the wood stove.

My mother doesn't quite follow Brody's directions; rather than waste vegetables in the stock, she simply adds the scraps—carrot tops and celery leaves, turnip clippings and onion ends—from what she will sauté later in the soup. She sprinkles it with Parmesan cheese, too, just at the end, for a fuller, richer cup. But overall, the idea's the same, so I'll give you a version that's nearly Brody's, that you can make changes of your own.

adapted from Jane Brody's Good Food Book


My mother recommends doing this on the woodstove, if you have it going already. The temperature is perfect, and you avoid using extra gas or electricity.

Combine in a large pot: 1 turkey carcass, broken into pieces; any left over fat or gravy; 12 cups water, or enough to cover carcass; leaves/tops/scraps from onion, celery, carrots, and turnip (my mother sometimes uses rutabaga, which she finds equally good) you will use for the soup, below; 1 clove garlic, minced; 1 teaspoon salt; 6 sprigs fresh parsley; 1 sprig fresh thyme; 1 bay leaf. Bring to a boil, and simmer partially covered, for 2 to 3 hours. Strain, and skim off the fat. Stock can be used immediately or frozen for use in a future soup.


In a large saucepan, sauté 2 tablespoons minced onion and 1 clove minced garlic in 1 tablespoon olive oil until soft. Add 1/2 cup carrots, diced; 1/2 cup turnip or rutabaga, diced; and 1/2 cup celery, diced, and cook, stirring, until soft. Add 1 and 1/2 tablespoons flour, and cook while stirring for another minute. Add 6 to 7 cups turkey stock, 1 teaspoon marjoram, salt and pepper to taste, and 1/3 cup raw barley. Bring the soup to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for about 1 hour. Add 1 cup diced turkey meat, adjust seasonings to taste, and bring the soup back to a boil. Serve hot with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.


Andrea said...

We always make stock out of our carcass - it is so delicious and perfect for soups. I like you mother's idea of using the veggie scraps for the stock (we often save our scraps and make plain veggie stock when we get enough together). Last Thanksgiving, we stuffed our turkey with onions, celery, and carrots. When it came time for clean up, we just put the whole carcass into the stock pot (roasted veggies included) to make our broth the following day. It was delicious and uses every bit of that delicious bird.

Elspeth said...


That sounds delicious! It is a nice feeling to use the whole bird, especially when you have gone to the trouble of sourcing it locally, etc.

Happy holidays and hope they find you with a feast.



Legal Translation Company in Dubai said...

It was dependably so fascinating to going by your site. What an extraordinary data, thank you for offering. This will help me such a great amount in my learning.

English to Albanian Translation
English to Bokmal Translation
English to Czech Translation
English to Filipino Translation
English to Greek Translation
English to Italian Translation
English to Latvian Translation
English to Mongolian Translation
English to Persian Translation
English to Serbian Translation


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
All text, photographs, and other original material copyright 2008-2010 by Elspeth Hay unless otherwise noted.