Thursday, September 15, 2011

Turkey Broth with Rice and Carrots (Don't throw out that turkey carcass!)

Cooking is just as much about beautiful as delicious.
And this is already both! Turkey necks are no longer cheap,
so don't throw away that turkey carcass!

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. If you want "noodles" or what we here in the South call "dumplings," here is the recipe: turkey-soup-with-dumplings

If you can find them, I highly recommend REAMES brand frozen noodles. I also recommend dried Italian Pappardelle noodles. They are extra-wide and lovely in soups and stews. They usually come in small "nests" or rounds. Don't break them up. Great for slurping . . . 

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. Or, use your turkey carcass, but cut it up best you can so the bones can leach more flavor into the broth.  A cleaver makes easy work of it.

This is a basic turkey stock. From it, you can make all kinds of soup and it's easily doubled.

For the Stock:
  • 1 1/2 pounds turkey necks (about 5-6) or turkey carcass or a combination
  • 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
  • 5-6 cups cool water or enough to just cover what's in the pot
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 12 peppercorns (optional
Wash each turkey neck under cool water and place in a stockpot large enough to handle all ingredients. Cut up (see above) turkey carcass.

Turkey necks make great stock because of all the tiny bones
and cartilage. When on sale, purchase to freeze.

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. (The less water, the stronger your stock. But be sure to at least cover the contents, especially if you give it an all-night simmer.) You may sub some of the water with canned chicken stock. If you have a "clear" leftover gravy, go ahead and add that. 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 with a large bowl in your sink. Carefully dump the ingredients into the colander so the broth sieves into the bowl. 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!) and place in the garbage. If you have pigs or goats, they love it. If you live near the edge if a wood, possums, raccoons etc. will gobble it up at night, including bones.

Wash out your stockpot. Place a sieve over it and now strain your stock from the bowl back into the stock pot to rid it of any smaller impurities.

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.

To Make Soup

For the Soup:
  • 6 tablespoons washed, raw, long-grain white rice (not instant)
  • Noodles (see notes above)
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/3 cup chopped celery
  • dried onion flakes (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • Dried dill or parsely (optional)

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. I don't usually add onions. If the broth is a bit too watery, I will add some dried onions that easily dehydrate in the broth and add flavor. Sometimes a small garlic clove, sliced. 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. The longer your soup sits, the fluffier the soup will become.

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.