There are two ways to make this soup: The long way or the quick way. Neither are hard, one is just, well, longer. However, I really do recommend the longer way — which includes homemade turkey stock and fresh noodles — if you can swing it.
Note that you can replace the word “turkey” with “chicken” in this entire recipe, making it good for the whole year and not just the weekend after Thanksgiving.
The long way begins by making your own turkey stock. I promise, this is not hard. Once you’ve picked off all the meat from the bones of the bird, throw it in a slow-cooker along with enough water to cover the bones. Let it cook on low for 12 to 18 hours (the timing is really flexible). THAT IS IT. Once it’s done, strain the liquid into a bowl and discard the bones. Voila — turkey stock, and how much work did you actually do?
However, if you decide not to take this route, you can use boxed chicken stock, water, chicken boullion cubes…basically whatever you would normally use in soups.
For me, this recipe was even easier because it basically used everything I had in my fridge that was leftover from prepping for Thanksgiving. Celery — already chopped. Onions — ditto. White wine — the bottle was already open from the Chardonnay gravy. Fresh parsley and sage — already minced. It made this recipe a snap.
The second lengthy caveat to this recipe includes homemade noodles. If you’re not up for that, you can use packaged egg noodles in place of it.
Leftover Turkey Soup
6 cups turkey stock (or boxed chicken stock)
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
1 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine (optional, use a little chicken stock in place of it)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Juice of one lemon
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
3 cups chopped leftover turkey
Noodles (about 1.5 cups if you’re using store-bought)
Heat the olive oil or melt the butter in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the onion and let it saute for a minute or two. Then add the celery, and do the same. Let both of the veggie soften a bit, and then add the garlic. Pour in the white wine and use a spatula to scrape up the bits from the bottle.
Add the turkey stock, lemon juice, and balsamic vinegar. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and add the turkey. Taste the broth and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. Return to a boil and add the noodles. Cook for about 5-6 minutes for fresh noodles or according to package directions. Sprinkle in the fresh parsley and sage. Do not do what I did and add fresh rosemary — nothing like little pine needles in your soup. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.