A hearty and wholesome soup prepared with fresh root vegetables, rice, and leftover turkey breast meat. Put leftover holiday turkey to good use with this Leftover Turkey Soup recipe!
Leftover Turkey Soup seems to be quite common for most families. Whenever this type of soup appears on the dinner table, it’s most likely after a holiday meal such as Christmas or Thanksgiving. Truth be told, I’d much rather this than days and days of cold turkey sandwiches!
Growing up, leftover turkey was never used for soup. If a whole turkey was prepared, it was either served with a Jiggs Dinner, or with Cold Plates. Most of the time, a whole turkey was served with Jiggs Dinner. Any leftovers were usually served cold with Pickled Beet Potato Salad, Mustard Potato Salad, or Vegetable Potato Salad.
Sometimes, my mom would prepare Jiggs Dinner for lunch and have Cold Plates for dinner. That was almost always the case on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day too. We ate well, folks!
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INGREDIENTS NEEDED FOR THIS RECIPE
The following is a list of the ingredients needed to prepare this recipe. For exact amounts and measurements, refer to the printable recipe card located near the bottom of this post.
- Vegetable or Chicken Stock – Use low sodium stock so that you can keep the saltiness to a minimum.
- Onion – One small white onion finely diced is all you need.
- Celery – Wash and trim the celery and cut it into 1/4 inch slices. It adds flavour and texture to the soup.
- Turnip – Turnip and rutabaga are interchangeable in this recipe. Get the cheapest!
- Carrots – I can’t imagine turkey soup without the sweetness of carrots.
- Tomatoes – Canned diced tomatoes with the juice added in too.
- Potatoes – Any potato will do. I mostly use russet or Yukon gold.
- Instant White Rice – No need to cook it first!
- Leftover Turkey – I used white meat, because it’s always leftover in our home. We prefer dark meat. Use what you have.
- Salt and Ground Black Pepper
- Dried Herbs – You will need sage, rosemary, thyme, oregano, and bay leaves.
USE FRESH TURKEY IF YOU DON’T HAVE ANY LEFTOVER
In terms of soup, leftover turkey was not commonly used at all. My mom would prepare soup often, but she always used fresh turkey necks. The meat on the necks would boil off the bones and the soup was delicious! I haven’t had turkey neck soup in many, many years!
To make a good turkey soup, you don’t need to use leftover turkey meat. You can use fresh turkey breast in this soup as well. To do so, cube the meat into one inch cubes and add it to the pot right from the beginning. The meat will cook all the way through and will break down into the soup.
It is advised to remove the skin from the fresh turkey breast if you are using fresh turkey instead of leftover roasted turkey. The skin will add a lot of grease to the soup. Notice that my soup has no grease line around the rim of the bowl. That’s because I used only white breast meat with no skin.
In my soup recipe, I used carrots, potatoes, onion, celery, and turnip. To be perfectly honest, Dear Reader, you can use any vegetable you prefer. I would advise you to leave in the onion, celery, and carrot, because those three vegetables create something fancy called a mirepoix. It’s really not that fancy, to be honest!
A mirepoix is a mixture of carrot, celery, and onion. In most cases, the three veggies are diced and sauteed first. They create a flavour base to many dishes such as soups, stews, and braised foods. I didn’t saute them first, but you’ll get the same flavour profile.
Other veggie options you can add to this soup would parsnips, sweet potatoes, or celery root. I would also consider rutabaga (very interchangeable with turnip) and daikon too. The only veggies I would stay away from are beets. They will turn your soup really pink – unless you use golden beets!
Just keep the amounts the same as the amounts in the recipe so that you have the right broth to veggie ratio. Also, be sure to account for cooking times. Root vegetable vary in the amount of time it will take to cook through. Remember, the hardest, toughest vegetables go into the pot first.
HOW TO MAKE LEFTOVER TURKEY SOUP
This recipe is fashioned after the soup that my mom used to make, but I have taken a few liberties. For example, she didn’t use celery very much, but I love it in soups. And, she would usually add salt beef to almost every soup recipe she prepared. I’m not a fan of it at all, so I never use it. This is an easy recipe to prepare and the results are so delicious!
First, add the vegetable stock, onion, celery, turnip, salt, ground black pepper, sage, rosemary, thyme, oregano, and bay leaves to a soup pot. Bring to a low boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Once the soup comes to a low boil, cook for 15 minutes. Keep a lid on the pot at all times, but watch carefully so that the soup doesn’t boil over.
Add the carrots and canned diced tomatoes with tomato juice. Stir to combine. Cook for 10 minutes. Next, add the potatoes and stir to combine. Cook for 20 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender. And, finally, stir in the uncooked instant white rice and diced turkey. Cook for 5 minutes. Turn off heat and serve immediately. Easy, right!?
FREEZING AND STORING
Whenever I make soups, I tend to make a large batch. The reason is simple. I like to eat half and then save half for later. That means I can make two meals at the same time. The great thing about soups is that soups can be frozen.
Whether you are freezing the leftover soup or not, it’s always a good idea to portion soup into individual servings. This way, you re-heat/thaw only what you need. Once portioned, place in the refrigerator up to 3 days or freeze for 3 months. This soup is so good, it probably won’t stay in the fridge for very long!
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Leftover Turkey Soup
- 10 cups vegetable stock, low sodium
- 1 small white onion, diced
- 1 stalk celery, cut into 1/4 inch slices
- 2 cups turnip, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon dried sage
- 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 whole bay leaves
- 3 small carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch slices
- 28 ounces canned diced tomatoes
- 3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1/2 cup instant white rice, uncooked
- 4 cups turkey breast, cubed
- Add the vegetable stock, onion, celery, turnip, salt, ground black pepper, sage, rosemary, thyme, oregano, and bay leaves to a soup pot. Bring to a low boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
- Once the soup comes to a low boil, cook for 15 minutes.
- Add the carrots and canned diced tomatoes with tomato juice. Stir to combine. Cook for 10 minutes.
- Add the potatoes and stir to combine. Cook for 20 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender.
- Stir in the uncooked instant white rice and diced turkey. Cook for 5 minutes.
- Turn off heat and serve immediately.
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