In all deference to the classic turkey sandwich, there comes a point in the post-Thanksgiving feasting when you just can’t stomach another bite of that tried-and-true classic. So when that time comes (or even before, if you like to mix it up a bit), why not try Turkey Dinner Soup?
Now, stay with me here. It’s good, I promise.
I took a soup making class with a bunch of friends several years ago, and the most knowledgeable piece of information I learned was this: If it tastes good together on a plate, it will taste good together in a soup.
Still with me? Hang in there. I wouldn’t steer you wrong.
The beauty of this soup is that it really does taste great no matter what kind of Turkey Day leftovers you have. For the version in this article, I had some stuffing (or dressing, depending on what part of the country you’re in), mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, and cranberry dressing.
Start with the mashed potatoes and stuffing. In this article I used about 1 1/2 cups mashed potatoes and 1 cup stuffing. These two things will essentially dissolve and become part of the soup base. If you make lumpy mashed potatoes – bonus! Your chunks of potatoes will remain in-tact and add to the veggieness of the soup.
Is veggieness a word? Well it is now.
Add in all your leftover gravy. That’s right, I said ALL of it. I mean, what is gravy anyway? It’s some sort of roux or thickener, with some sort of liquid like chicken stock or milk. And what is soup? It’s some sort of roux with some sort of liquid like chicken stock or milk. So, basically gravy is a glorified soup base.
(See where I’m going here?)
Then add in some chicken stock (or turkey stock, if you were forward-thinking enough to make some with your turkey bones/giblets). The amount of stock you use will depend on how large a batch of soup you’re making and how much gravy you had. For this article, I used about 1 cup of gravy and added 1 can of chicken stock (about 1 1/2 cups).
Heat this mixture until the potatoes have dissolved into the soup base, and only the larger bread chunks are still in-tact.
Now here’s the secret ingredient that makes all the difference: chicken granules. You can usually buy jars of it in the section of the store that sells soup and bouillon cubes, or in the cooking section with the spices. The little granules are salty and flavorful and add that something extra that makes almost any soup taste gooooood.
Again – the amount you use depends on the size of the batch you’re using. Beware – it’s salty stuff. Start with a little – about a teaspoon – then taste test. You will probably end up adding more as you add more ingredients. But only add a little at a time, and taste as you go. It’s easy to add more. It’s difficult to take it out.
Now add your turkey. Slice it into bite-size cubes, or shred it into small-ish shreds. Continue cooking over medium heat until the turkey is heated through.
Now add your veggies and cranberry relish. That’s right, I said cranberry relish. I promise, it tastes good in this soup! Don’t add a lot – I used maybe 1/4 cup for this batch. It adds a depth of flavor, and a wonderful flavorful surprise when you get a bite of the tangy cranberry with your bite of savory soup.
You’re going to have to trust me on that one…
Add a splash of half-and-half, or heavy cream, or milk – whatever you have. You don’t have to add it, but I like the extra level of smoothness and creaminess it adds to the finished soup.
Continue cooking until all the veggies have heated through. Do one final tasting for spices (add more chicken granules, or any other herbs or spices you like) until the soup is to your liking. But be careful with herbs and spices. Add only a little at a time – remember you can always add more. If you’re not sure if something will taste good in the soup, spoon a little soup into a small dish, add a sprinkling of the herb or spice in question, and then taste it.
The dollop of sour cream here is completely superfluous. The soup is flavorful enough without it. But I thought it looked good for the photo. And it tastes good, too! So, to sour cream or not to sour cream is up to you.
Here’s the complete recipe. Enjoy!
Thanksgiving meal leftovers (For this article, I used turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, green beans, and cranberry relish.)Chicken Stock
Herbs or spices (optional)
Half-and-half or cream (optional)
1) Place mashed potatoes and stuffing into large sauce pan.
2) Add gravy and enough stock to make a soup consistency. Heat through until combined and potatoes and stuffing have dissolved into the soup base.
3) Add chicken granules a little at a time, taste-testing after each addition.
4) Add turkey and heat through until turkey heated through.
5) Add veggies and cranberry relish. Heat thoroughly.
6) Add a splash of half-and-half or cream. Taste again for spices and add additional granules or spices as needed.
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