After all that holiday meal preparation, turkey soup is a snap to make. Once you’ve made the stock, you can turn that base into any number of soups, curries, and other hearty meals in a bowl. Even if you haven’t made your own stock, you can pick some up at the store and add leftover roast turkey. If you’re tired of turkey for awhile, soup freezes well, so you can have dinner squirreled away for emergency mealtime backup another night.
When it comes to classic turkey noodle soup, while egg noodles are traditional, brown rice or barley deliver complex carbohydrates, fiber, and provide a boost in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Here’s a basic recipe, and a few ways to add new flavors:
Classic Turkey Soup
1/2 cup dry barley or rice, or 1-2 cups dry egg noodles
2 L turkey stock
1 cup chopped leftover turkey (or more, to taste)
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and diced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 Tbsp. grated ginger
Juice of half a lemon
Salt and pepper, to taste
Cook the barley, noodles or rice according to package directions; drain well and set aside. (Doing this separately will keep your broth from getting starchy; if you don’t mind, just toss them dry into the simmering stock. You may need to add some extra stock or water.)
Bring the stock to a simmer and add the vegetables, garlic and ginger; cook for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Add the barley, noodles or rice and chopped turkey, stir just until heated through. Squeeze in the lemon juice, season with salt and pepper and serve hot. Serves 4.
Mulligatawny: this classic curried chicken soup is simple to make; cook rice and scoop it into bowls rather than adding it to the soup. Add 1-2 tsp. curry paste or powder to the stock along with the vegetables, add a small chopped tart apple for the last few minutes of cooking time (you want it tender, but not mushy) and ladle the hot soup over the rice in individual bowls. Serve topped with fresh cilantro.
Asian-style Turkey Soup: cook Asian noodles rather than egg noodles, and simmer a stalk of fresh lemongrass, bruised with a knife, in the soup along with the vegetables. Pull it out before serving. Increase the ginger and add a few chopped green onions and a squirt of sriracha (hot chili) sauce.
Turkey Soup with Meatballs and Greens: start the soup by squeezing fresh Italian sausages out of their casings at 1/2″ intervals into the pot, drizzled with olive oil and set over medium-high heat. Cook until browned all over, then add the remaining ingredients and let the meatballs cook through as the soup simmers. Add a handful or two of chopped or torn fresh spinach, kale or chard at the end, cooking just until it wilts.
Photo credit: istockphoto/martinturzak