Don’t Throw Away That Turkey Carcass! How I Use It To Make The Best Soup I’ve Ever Had

It's cozy, yummy, and exactly what the weekend after Thanksgiving calls for.

Don’t Throw Away That Turkey Carcass! How I Use It To Make The Best Soup I’ve Ever Had
turkey vegetable bean soup in blue ceramic bowl and plates with bread

As delicious as the main course may be, Thanksgiving leftovers sometimes steal the show. Old standbys like sandwiches layered with turkey and cranberry sauce or casseroles are delicious day-after meals. But there’s one important leftover that might not be on your radar: the turkey carcass.

Just like pasta water is liquid gold, your turkey carcass is much too valuable to discard. Making turkey stock is simple and similar to making chicken stock, but the turkey carcass plus some extra attention to seasoning will take your soup to the next level.

And before you get started, here’s a pro tip: Since chopping veggies for turkey broth will likely be the last thing you want to do after cooking a Thanksgiving feast, set some vegetables aside as you prepare for the main event. For example, if you’re making stuffing, chop two extra celery stalks and one yellow onion and set them aside. When preparing carrots as a side dish, chop up an additional two carrots. 

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How To Make Turkey Broth

The sooner you prepare your stock the better, but you can wait up to two or three days.

  1. Remove the meat from the carcass (save it to make soup later!) and break the bones into large pieces.
  2. Place the bones in a stockpot with assorted vegetables and add just enough water, about one gallon, to cover.
  3. Bring the stock to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for about three hours.
  4. For an extra boost of flavor and spice, throw in some whole peppercorns while the broth simmers.
  5. Your turkey has already been seasoned so the stock should have excellent flavor. But you can also season at the end with basil, parsley, and thyme.
  6. When your stock is done simmering, skim the fat from the top.
  7. Remove larger pieces of bone, then carefully strain the liquid through a cheesecloth-lined colander.
  8. Finally, discard the vegetables and herbs and store the stock in containers. Use it immediately or freeze it for up to three months.

The Best Soup

Homemade stock has endless possibilities, but one of our Suggest editors highly recommends using it for this recipe from Food.com. Featuring colorful vegetables and loads of protein, this robust turkey vegetable soup is the perfect cozy winter meal. 

Make it ahead for the post-holiday weekend when curling up with Netflix will probably sound better than cooking. Pair it with crusty bread, and we guarantee it will become a holiday tradition your family will look forward to every year.

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