Turkey Wild Rice Soup

So, do you still have one of these leftover from Thanksgiving?

You were supposed to save it after all the carnage of the Thanksgiving Feast. Maybe it’s in your freezer.

Go ahead and check….I’ll wait…..(humming Christmas tunes)

And my….What a lovely photo to open a cooking blog…a carcass. Way to go.

Deliciousness is held in those bones. Soupy goodness.

Homemade soup is the best. Easy too. It takes a little time to boil the bones for stock, but it’s not like you have to actively stand there and help. Put them in a pot and go about your business.

Here’s what you need:

For the stock — Gnarly looking turkey bones with most of the meat removed*, onion, carrot, celery, pepper corns, & water (not pictured).

And for the soup:

Turkey Stock made from our ugly bones, Turkey Meat*, Wild Rice, Carrots, Onion, Celery, Red Bell Pepper, Peas, Butter, Flour, Bay Leaf, Dried Thyme, Salt & Pepper. (Black cat optional)

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*Before I make the stock, I take as much meat off the turkey bones as possible. I actually did this on Thanksgiving and put both the bones and meat in the freezer. It’s a personal preference, but I think that the meat for the soup tastes better if it hasn’t been boiled within an inch of it’s life.

Hey! If you don’t have any ugly turkey bones sitting around, you can totally make this soup with chicken. Simply use a whole fryer chicken or even parts — legs, thighs, wings, etc. I usually get whatever is on sale.

For the stock, get a large (and I do mean LARGE) pot. Take one onion, 1 stalk of celery and 1 carrot and give them a chop into large pieces.

Add them to the pot with the turkey (or chicken) bones as well as some whole peppercorns for extra flavor.

Fill the pot with water so that it covers most of the bones. Put a lid on it and bring it to a boil over high heat. Once it boils, immediately turn it down to low so that it just simmers along nicely. Let it hang out simmering on the stove for at least an hour – two if you can.

After a couple of hours, our turkey has given all of its goodness to the pot of stock. Notice how the bones have fallen apart and there is very little meat left on them.

At this point, I usually take the pot off the heat and allow it to cool to a reasonable temperature since I’m not a big fan of pouring giant pots of boiling liquids.

Take out the big chunks of turkey bones and veggies. If your bones have a lot of meat left on them, set them aside to cool and remove the meat from the bones for the soup. Strain the stock to remove any other small bits of bone or veg.

I had a 20 pound turkey so I have a lot more stock than I will need for this pot of soup. The good news is that this freezes really well. One less step to do next time you want to make soup!

Chop up some veggies. To easily get a small dice when you’re chopping onion, remember to cut narrow slits across the top of the onion and then cut the other direction across the slits to make small pieces.

Peel and chop up some carrots and celery

And for a little more flavor and color, chop up a red bell pepper.

Melt 1/2 stick (4 Tablespoons) of butter in a large soup pot. Add the veggies and saute until tender and golden but not brown.

Add about 1/4 cup of flour to the vegetables and stir to make a roux. This will help thicken our soup without making it all gluey.

If you’re obsessively taking pictures of your food, be careful not to get so close that you fog up your lens.

Add the lovely turkey stock to the roux/vegetable mixture and stir. Watch as it magically starts to thicken.

I’ve used about 8 cups of turkey stock so far. You can always add more as you add the other ingredients and as your soup continues to thicken and cook.

Look at this cool rice! (and say hi to Gus who is still hoping for a turkey sample.)

I was originally going to use wild rice but I live far, far away from the great frozen north where wild rice is grown. They had this cool rice blend in my store and it looks very interesting.

It has a combination of wild rice, brown, white and red rice. It comes in a largish container but I know that I will use it for other recipes or even as a tasty side dish.

Measure out 1 cup of rice and add it to the soup.

Add some seasonings — bay leaf, about 1 teaspoon of dried thyme, salt and pepper.

Bring the soup to a boil and then turn it down to low and cover with a lid. You want the soup to simmer (bubbling lightly not a full on roaring boil) for about 25-30 minutes to cook the rice.

Things should be smelling pretty good in the kitchen by now. If the cats haven’t talked you out of all your turkey pieces, add them to the pot of soup.

Add some frozen peas….soup is a great way to use up some of your veggies that might not be looking so, shall we say, fresh.

Give this a few more minutes (it’s soup…like sauce, the longer it cooks the better it tastes) for the flavors to combine and for the turkey and peas to heat up.

At this point, if you want Cream of Turkey Wild Rice Soup, you could add a cup or so of heavy cream. Just a suggestion.

Who knew that ugly pile of turkey bones could become something so lovely!

Go make yourself some soup! You’ll even have some nice leftovers too. Bonus.

Here’s the recipe:

Turkey Wild Rice Soup

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