Thursday, September 15, 2011

Turkey Broth with Rice and Carrots

Cooking is just as much about beautiful as delicious. And this is already both!

No canned soup can even begin to compare with homemade. And there's nothing more comforting than the rich aroma of a homemade pot of soup simmering away and filling your home with that tantalizing scent. Served with a crusty, artisan loaf of bread and a salad, it's a meal in and of itself. And leftovers just get better and better.

Turkey soup is one of my favorites. It has a depth and richness difficult to achieve in a chicken broth. And it's easier to find turkey "parts" than chicken parts. Here I've used turkey necks. Five turkey necks will give a good quart of soup. You don't have to use fresh herbs. 

This is a basic turkey stock. From it, you can make all kinds of soup and it's easily doubled. Next week I will post my recipe for turkey soup with dumplings and meatballs.

For the Stock:

  • 1 1/2 pounds turkey necks (about 5-6)
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, roughly sliced, peels and all 
  • 1 1/2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 carrots roughly chopped, no need to peel
  • 1 small clove of garlic either sliced or just smashed (I usually just smash it and plunk it in the stockpot, peels and all
  • 1-2 springs of fresh thyme or about 1/4-12 teaspoon dried
  • 3 fresh sage leaves (optional) but don't use dried sage since it will cloud your broth
  • 5 cups cool water
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 12 peppercorns (optional)

For the Soup:

  • 6 tablespoons washed, raw white rice (not instant)
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/3 cup chopped celery
  • Salt to taste
  • Dried dill or parsely (optional)

Wash each turkey neck under cool water and place in a stockpot large enough to handle all ingredients.

Turkey necks make great stock because of all the tiny bones.
And they're inexpensive. I often pick a few packs and freeze them.

Wash your carrots and celery, roughly chop, and add to stockpot along with onion (the peels will help turn the broth a rich golden color), garlic, and herbs. Fill with cool water just until the ingredients begin to float, about 5 cups of water and certainly no more than six. The less water, the stronger your stock. You may sub some of the water with canned chicken stock. Sprinkle with salt.

Place over medium heat and bring just to a simmer. Do not boil. Boiling with cloud your turkey stock. Cover and simmer for 4-8 hours, (this is easiest on an electric stove top) checking and stirring occasionally. (I often put it on the stove just before I go to bed and then it's ready when I get up.)

Place a colander in a large bowl in your sink. Carefully dump the ingredients into the colander. Remove colander and place over the stockpot for about 10 minutes or so to catch any excess drippings. Return drippings to bowl. 

Rich, golden turkey stock flavored with fresh vegetables and herbs.

At this point, most of the nutritional value of your ingredients have leached into the stock itself. Just throw them out. Sometimes I'll pick some of the meat off for my cat. I just dump the colander ingredients into a plastic grocery bag (make sure it has no holes!)

Wash out your stockpot. Place a sieve over it and now strain your stock from the bowl back into the stock pot.

Taste your stock and add more salt if necessary, a little at a time. Be careful to never over-salt your stock--it's easy to do. Place the raw rice in a sieve and wash under cold water. Why? You want to get rid of the starch that could cloud your soup.

Carrots and celery with rice make a simple and rich turkey soup.

Wash and cut your celery and carrots. Place in stockpot and bring to a simmer. Now add the rice. Cover and simmer until rice is fluffy, about 20-30 minutes. Remove from heat and sprinkle with a bit of dried parsley if desired. Allow to sit for another 20 minutes or so.

Ladle into bowls and, if desired, sprinkle with dried dill.

Delicious! (I've had this spoon since I was five years old!)


After putting your stock through the sieve, you may cover it and place in the refrigerator if you don't want to assemble a finished soup that day. The fat will have risen to the top and solidified and is easily peeled away, if desired. OR instead of refrigerating your stock, place in freezer bags and freeze until ready to use.

If you use regular table salt, use half of the Kosher amount. But Kosher salt is milder in flavor and is recommended.

When making the stock, use up your largest carrots and the outer ribs of celery saving the more tender ones for the actual soup.