Chef Ryan

Cajun Chef Ryan

Feeling & sharing a world of cooking ~ more than your average Cajun


Taking Stock in Turkey Soup

December 2nd, 2009 · 22 Comments

Turkey Soup imageThere are so many options for using up leftover turkey after the holidays and one of them is making a turkey soup. However, other options include Turkey Tetrazzini, the turkey, peas, and carrots laden spaghetti casserole with a thick Velouté based sauce all topped with a breadcrumb crust and baked in the oven. On the other hand, how about the popular turkey sandwiches with cranberry or stuffing between thick slices of crusty bread. Moreover, the list goes on….Turkey Pot Pie, Turkey Lettuce and Tomato Sandwich (TLT), Turkey Wraps, Turkey Posole, Turkey and Dumplings, Turkey Empanadas or Turkey Panini.

I have typically made a turkey soup once the turkey sandwich cravings subside, or about two to three days after the big holiday meal. That is just what happened again this time around with the remaining turkey meat and carcass of bones. First, the major portion of the attached meat was cut or picked from the bones and reserved, and then the bones were broken down a bit to make them more compact and tossed into a large stockpot. The bones are then covered with cool filtered water to about 2 inches above the top level of the bones, thus the initial step with making a turkey stock. All great soups and sauces for that matter must start with a flavorful fresh made stock.

Stocks, Soups and Sauces…oh my!

Stocks are one of those curious concoctions that most novice cooks fear and loathe, with a certain mystery surrounding its preparation methods and techniques. In our early apprenticeship days, fellow novice cooks and I were challenged to making a good stock. The litmus test that you had extracted all of the goodness and flavor was determined by how the stock looked the next day, so lessons on patience added to the fascination, more on that later. Another captivation about stocks was that some of them took as long as eight to twelve hours to eke out all of the flavor from the bones, especially in the case of making beef stock. Whether it is beef, chicken, veal, turkey, fish, shrimp, lamb, ham, or vegetable stocks, each one of them has a particular traditional method of preparation, and then there are variations that can be applied to the central scheme. As a sub-division, there can be either brown or blond stocks, with the darker stocks being attributed to roasting the bones and vegetables prior to making the stock. Typically, the vegetables consist of a mirepoix of onions, carrots, and celery. Therefore, how do you know if your stock meets muster with maximizing the flavor extracting potential of the bones and ingredients with which you have simmered for hours on end? Clearness and gelatin!

Turkey Stock imageA few tips to making a good stock include only simmering the liquid and never allowing it to boil, also make sure that the foam and scum that forms at the top is skimmed off periodically, never cover the stockpot when making a stock, and finally, never stir the stock. Boiling or stirring the stock will make it cloudy by distributing all the impurities back into the liquid. Covering the stock will allow moisture buildup on the lid to fall back into the stock, this stirring around, and you want the stock to reduce a bit too, thus concentrating the flavors. Especially if you are making a clear consommé, cloudy stock is a major faux pas. A perfect stock is achieved when all the pure goodness is extracted from the impurities, with the result of a rich flavorful liquid essence. Once a stock has cooled the extracted gelatin will congeal and take the shape of a somewhat solid jelly-like form, this is the result of pulling out the gelatinous portion of the bones and surrounding tissues. It also means that the correct amount of water was added to cover the bones; too much water will result in a thin flavored stock and the gelatin jelly-like structure will be lost. Whole chapters and in fact books have been written on the subject of stocks, and culinary classes typically will include an entire class on Stocks, Soups and Sauces, as I mentioned before, you cannot have a great sauce or soup without a great stock. Stocks are quite literally, the essence of flavor.

Back to the turkey stock preparation, once the bones were covered with water I set the stockpot on the burner and set the flame to a medium-high. Once the liquid came to a simmer, I reduced the heat to a low flame setting. The stock simmered uncovered for about 6 hours, skimming the foam and scum periodically and adjusting the flame if it was simmering too much. A low slow simmer is all your want, just to ensure that there is a nice little bubbling of liquid is all you need. After the 6 hours I chilled the stock by placing the stockpot into an ice bath set up in the kitchen sink, this allows for a quick cooling so that the stock can be put into the refrigerator to chill overnight. I kept the bones in the stockpot at this point; however straining the stock at this point is a typical step. I wanted to let the bones continue to add flavor to the stock as it chilled. The next day I removed any fat that had settled to the top of the congealed stock and then reheated it, and then I strained the stock to remove the bones and any other impurities. Typically, stocks are strained with a fine chinois (also known as a China Cap) or strainer with a lining of cheesecloth or filter paper. Straining of stocks is much easier when they are hot, cold stocks do not strain very well.

This recipe was based on an original turkey that weighted 19.85 pounds; your mileage might vary with the amount of bones and turkey meat left over, so use this recipe as a guideline when considering how big your turkey is when making a similar soup. In addition, the brown rice and peas were leftovers from the holiday meal, which is one of the other benefits of making this soup.

5 Quarts Turkey stock
2 Cups Onion, chopped
2 Cups Celery, chopped
2 Cups Carrots, chopped
3 Cups Turnips, chopped
2 Each Bay leaves
1 Tbsp Oregano
1 Tbsp Parsley
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
10 Cups Turkey meat, diced
2 Cups Brown rice, cooked
1 Cup Peas, cooked
To taste Salt and white pepper
Procedure Steps
1. Place strained turkey stock into stockpot and put over a medium high flame, and add the onions, celery, carrots, and turnips along with all the bay leaves, oregano, parsley, Italian seasonings, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes.
2. Gently stir in the turkey meat, rice, and peas and simmer another 5 to 10 minutes, then season to taste with the salt and white pepper.

Tags: Recipes · Soups

22 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Rachel J // Dec 2, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    Last night my boyfriend’s father called me at 9PM because his infamous turkey soup was ready to be devoured! I have some for lunch today too. Its a much healthier way to enjoy leftovers. He used pasta but I like the idea of rice too. Cheers! 8/)

  • 2 Jessie // Dec 2, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    I’ve been wanting to make a good stock for sometime now and this is very informative! The soup itself sounds so tasty too

  • 3 Drick // Dec 2, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    I can always count on you for lessons with every post – thanks for sharing your knowledge….and, I put up a nice package of smoked turkey from Thanksgiving – now I know what I am going to do with it…

  • 4 Natasha - 5 Star Foodie // Dec 2, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    Turkey stock & soup sound excellent, a great way to use up those leftovers!

  • 5 Glenda // Dec 2, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    Nice information. I’m glad I know this now, I can use it with my tamale recipes. They are better when you reserve the stock. I’ll have to try this. Great recipe.

  • 6 The Foodie Forkful // Dec 2, 2009 at 5:04 pm

    Thanks for all the great tips! We’d been planning to make stock out of our turkey carcass, and this post is very helpful.

  • 7 wasabi prime // Dec 2, 2009 at 5:14 pm

    I do love making poultry stocks versus beef — it sounds so gory, but there’s nothing like putting nearly the whole animal into a stockpot versus just a cut of bone. Definitely more collagen, so you get that lovely richness!

  • 8 Bamboobaileys // Dec 2, 2009 at 5:45 pm

    Good tips to making a good soup stock.
    I will have to remember to read this post again next time I make stock as I am guilty of …covering the pot, stirring the stock, and letting it come to a boil…..
    I have learned that less is better as now that my three sons are not living at home I use less water and end up with a more concentrated stock .
    Not sure I will have bones for turkey stock/soup this year, but I still have great soup stocks in my freezer.

  • 9 John D. // Dec 2, 2009 at 10:32 pm

    Great post as always. I have a freezer full of turkey stock waiting to be called into the game.

  • 10 ninni // Dec 2, 2009 at 10:34 pm

    Nice recipe,very useful and i have to say i like your way of cooking!

  • 11 goodieswassa // Dec 2, 2009 at 11:00 pm

    Thank you Chef… I still have some turkey left over and feel like want warm turkey soup for dinner.. your save my empty stomach! 🙂

  • 12 redkathy // Dec 3, 2009 at 2:47 am

    Learning quite a bit from you. Next year, no stirring for me 🙂 Thank you for sharing your expertise.

  • 13 Lori Lynn // Dec 3, 2009 at 3:01 am

    I made one too, almost exactly as you did! Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving Ryan! Looking forward to seeing what you cook for Christmas!

  • 14 foodlovee // Dec 3, 2009 at 8:20 am

    looking very good but I have with pasta.thank you.

  • 15 Ryan Boudreaux // Dec 3, 2009 at 8:41 am

    Still eating the turkey soup leftovers and it seems to taste better every day, the marrying of flavors continues to improve.

    Thank you all for the wonderful comments!

    @drick, @redkathy – sharing my knowledge is always a pleasure, and I am still learning something new everyday from all the wonderful foodie bloggers such as yourself included!

    @foodlovee – pasta is great too, in fact any starchy ingredient would work, such as barley too.

  • 16 Donalyn // Dec 3, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    Nice nice!

  • 17 Alta // Dec 3, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    I love making stock. So simple – and a soup like this is healing and delicious!

  • 18 penny aka jeroxie // Dec 3, 2009 at 10:28 pm

    I have learnt so much about turkey soup. I shall make this for boxing day lunch.

  • 19 Lori Lynn // Dec 4, 2009 at 1:47 am

    Hi Ryan – please come visit me, I highlighted you.

  • 20 Cajun Chef Ryan // Dec 4, 2009 at 10:29 am

    Oh Lori that is so great, thank you so much for featuring the turkey stock and soup technique on your site. 🙂

  • 21 Tina Marie // Dec 4, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    I enjoy making stock and really enjoyed reading your post here. Wonderful!

  • 22 sizzlechef // Jan 5, 2010 at 11:06 am

    Nice. Thank you for sharing. Cheers !

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