Of all the life lessons I was taught, this is one of the most important.
Never throw away the bones and carcass from the Thanksgiving turkey.
I prefer to make my stock on Thanksgiving night. Turkey bones, veggies, and aromatics are placed in a stockpot. Simply covered in water, brought to a simmer, and left to work their magic.
If you aren’t going to make the stock immediately, put everything into a zip-lock bag. Keep that bag in the refrigerator for a couple days. While your relaxing and listening to holiday music, throw the contents of the bag in the pot. Let it simmer away. Easy peasy.
Soup is always made with my homemade stock. Onion, carrots, celery, garlic, fresh herbs, turkey, and noodles. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon, or a pinch of parmesan cheese to the finished product. Healthy, hearty, and soul warming. The best use of leftovers. Adhere to the delicious life lessons.
Leftover Turkey Noodle Soup
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 4 medium carrots, chopped
- 4 medium celery stalks, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary, left whole
- 2 quarts homemade turkey stock, recipe below (Note: You can supplement with store bought stock if you do not have enough homemade. You can solely use store bought stock, if needed.)
- 2 cups shredded turkey (Note: Use the turkey you reserved after making the stock. If you do not have 2 full cups, supplement with leftover turkey.)
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
- Salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
- Noodles, for serving
- Fresh parsley, for serving
- Heat olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, and celery. Cook for 10 minutes until onions begin to look translucent. Add garlic and cook 2-3 additional minutes.
- Add bay leaf, rosemary sprig, and turkey stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. At this point, you want to taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as you see fit.
- Add turkey and fresh parsley and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Remove bay leaf and rosemary sprig.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook noodles. (Note: I do not like to add my noodles directly to the soup, as they absorb too much broth.) Drain noodles and reserve.
- Add 1/2 cup of noodles into serving bowl. Top with turkey soup and garnish with fresh parsley.
Homemade Turkey Stock
- Turkey carcass with some meat still intact and reserved neck
- 1 onion, quartered
- 2-3 celery stalks, cut in half
- 2-3 carrot sticks, cut in half
- 1 garlic head, cut in half crosswise
- 10-12 sprigs of fresh parsley
- 5 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 2 bay leaves
- 10 peppercorns
- 1 tsp salt
- Place all of the ingredients in a large stock pot and cover with water by 2-3 inches. If you do not have a large enough pot, you can use 2 pots. Place the pot over medium heat and bring to a boil. Then, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 2–3 hours. Skim off any foam or fat that rises to the surface as needed.
- Remove from heat and strain through a sieve or colander into a large bowl. Allow to cool down completely. Remove any fat that rises to the top.
- Do not toss out the bones and veggies yet. Once cooled, pick through and remove any meat. Reserve this meat to be used in the soup.
Note: You can also make homemade stock in the Crock Pot. Place all of the ingredients in a large Crock Pot and cover with water. Cook on low overnight or for 12 hours. Strain stock through a sieve or colander into a large bowl. Follow additional instructions, per the above.
Note: Once cooled, Turkey stock is more gelatinous than chicken stock. Do not be alarmed. This thins out when cooked. The stock will last a few days in the refrigerator and freezes well for up to 6 months.