Today, I think we should discuss Thanksgiving turkey carcasses. Exciting and appetizing right? Mmmm…. No, really we should.
Many moons ago I graduated from the wonderful Baylor University (sec ‘em Bears!), which is located in Waco, Texas, a small town that descriptively sits somewhere in between completely rural and decent-sized town. One year, I was driving down the street from my residence a couple days after Turkey Day and I had to stop my car because right smack in the middle of the street an enormous vulture was chowing down on a turkey carcass he’d dragged out of someone’s garbage bag.
I figured he would move when he saw my car, but no. He just gave me this “yeah, what are you lookin’ at?” look and went back to feasting on that carcass. I actually had to drive around him, which also didn’t faze him one bit.
So this year, I say we all encourage the vultures to stay out of the residential neighborhoods by using our turkey carcass to make one of the most delicious noodle soups I’ve ever tasted! Yeah, save your carcass after you’ve carved your turkey. It then goes into the largest pot you have (or hack it up into large pieces and divide among two pots – I had to and it works just fine); fill the pot with aromatics and water and let it simmer away. In a few hours you will have the richest, most beautiful turkey stock with which to make your soup, your house will have the warmest and most fragrant aroma, and your neighbor may even be texting you to find out what is making the whole building smell so good.
Then you use some shredded leftover turkey meat to make a delicious, comforting noodle soup that can feed your whole family. It is sooooo good. I hope y’all will enjoy it!
Source: slightly adapted from Down South by Donald Link
1 turkey carcass from 1 roasted turkey (use a meat cleaver to hack up the carcass into pieces if necessary)
1 onion, peeled and chunked
2 celery stalks, rough chopped
1 carrot, rough chopped (no need to peel it)
4 garlic cloves, smashed (no need to peel)
4 fresh bay leaves
1 tbs black peppercorns
1 tbs olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
4 celery stalks, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
6 fresh bay leaves
2 tbs Dijon or whole-grain mustard
2 tbs red wine vinegar
1 tbs dried oregano
½ tsp poultry seasoning
Kosher salt and black pepper
Up to 3 cups of store-bought chicken or turkey stock (maybe)
2 cups shredded turkey meat, light and/or dark, leftover from the roasted turkey
8 oz. wide egg noodles
Fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
To make the STOCK: in the largest pot you have, combine the turkey carcass bones with the onion, celery, carrot, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns, and 6 quarts of water. If you need to, you can split this evenly between 2 stockpots (I had to).
Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat, and simmer, skimming the fat off the top as needed, for 3 hours. Strain the stock. If not using immediately, store in the refrigerator for a few days.
Now make the SOUP: heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot, like a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, carrots, garlic, and bay leaves and cook until the vegetables have softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the mustard, vinegar, oregano, poultry seasoning, 1 tbs kosher salt and 2 tsp black pepper.
Measure 2 quarts plus 2 cups of the turkey stock you just made. If you have less than that, no big deal, just supplement with the store-bought stock. Add the stock to the soup pot, then add the turkey meat.
Simmer, skimming the fat as it rises to the surface periodically, until the meat is very tender, about 30-45 minutes.
When the soup is nearly ready, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt it generously, then add the noodles. Cook until just al dente, then drain them and transfer to the soup pot. Simmer them for about 15 minutes to allow them to absorb some soup broth.
Taste for seasoning, adding more salt or pepper as needed. Serve the soup in either large, deep bowls or wide, shallow bowls garnished with parsley, if desired.