I’ll never forget the first Thanksgiving dinner I ever hosted for my family. I cooked and cleaned for days. And, it turned out to be the best Turkey dinner ever or since.
Even though I’ve recreated some of the same recipes, for some reason, they don’t taste as good as they did that triumphal day.
I’ll also never forget the soup that I made after that first Thanksgiving dinner. It was one of the worst I’d ever tasted. Thank goodness I’ve learned a little about soup making since then.
What was second nature to our grandmothers, making soup from the rest of a larger meal, is a lost art. And for some odd notion, we think that you can just throw a bunch of things into a pot and have it come out delicious.
Not gonna happen, my friend.
Shortly after that fateful Turkey Soup, I read through A Feast of Soups by Jacqueline Heriteau. While a little outdated in terms of ingredients readily available, this book is a soup maker’s handbook, explaining the basics to making a good soup.
Now, my method has changed a bit since those days.
1. Remove the meat.
Once the turkey dinner is over, I carve the rest of the meat, separating “sandwich” slices from bits of turkey that can be used in casseroles or other recipes that call for chopped turkey or chicken.
2. Make the stock.
I usually put any bones and non-meat parts of the turkey in my crockpot and let it simmer overnight. In the morning, I strain it and cool it.
3. Skim the fat.
Once the broth or stock has cooled, the fat rises to the top and is easier to remove. Discard.
4. Prepare the soup.
I use this general recipe for chicken, or in this case turkey, noodle soup. It’s pretty basic. Start with butter or oil, saute onion and carrots if you want. Stir in the broth. Bring to a simmer. Stir in the noodles and meat. Cook until noodles are tender.
It’s easy. It’s delicious. And it’s a good way for us to make good use of every bit of that turkey. I love meals that stretch into more than one.