Using Up Your Thanksgiving Leftovers
Most of us enjoy having a couple of leftover turkey dinners after the Thanksgiving feast is over. Reheated turkey with gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing and cranberries taste great and let us re-live Thanksgiving for a day or two (or three!). But what do you do when there isn’t enough left for a full meal for your family? How about a pot of Leftover Thanksgiving Soup?
Cook the turkey carcass in a pot with enough water to almost cover the bones. If you let this simmer all day with a tablespoon or two of vinegar, it will leach minerals from the bones to make an extra nutritious stock. When the carcass is falling apart and the meat will come off the bones easily, pull the pot off the stove, strain the stock through a sieve, and pour the bones into a large pan to cool. Pick all of the meat off the bones and save for the soup. You can feed the skin and fat to your dog, cat, or chickens for a treat.
Return all of the meat and the stock back to your pot. Add leftover gravy and mashed potatoes to thicken the soup and give it a hearty flavor. If you like, you can also put leftover squash or sweet potatoes in the pot too. At this point, I like to add whatever vegetables I have on hand, such as carrots, turnips, parsnips, kale, Brussels sprouts, or frozen vegetables. Add a bay leaf or two for extra flavor. If you happen to have a wood stove stoked up to heat your house, place your pot on top of it to save electricity!
Let your soup cook until the vegetables are almost tender. Add poultry seasoning or sage, salt and pepper to taste, and a dash of hot sauce or Worcestershire sauce, if you like. Whatever seasonings your family prefers may be substituted. Stir and finish cooking until vegetables are done.
Serve your Thanksgiving Soup with a side of stuffing (I don’t recommend putting the stuffing in the soup), homemade rolls, or biscuits and a salad. You’ll enjoy that Thanksgiving dinner at least one more time, save some money on groceries, and make the most of what you’ve got! Because I spent a great deal of time and energy raising my own turkeys, and slaughtered them myself, I have a much greater appreciation than ever before for the life that was given to feed our family. I refuse to waste any of that delicious and hard bought meat by tossing the carcass in the garbage before making the most of it!
Do you like making turkey soup with the carcass? Have you ever made ‘Thanksgiving Soup’ with the leftovers?