Turkey Soup (base)

A smart cook will have saved the carcass from Thanksgiving dinner turkey (or other meal such as chicken) to make turkey soup. The main idea is to simmer the carcass in water or broth to loosen the remaining meat from the bones and to extract flavor. Usually I have at least the main turkey carcass and the wings left over. By simmering the turkey carcass you hardly need a knife and can pick the meat from the bones with your fingers.

Note: some people are squeamish about the aspects of de-boning or butchering meat if they have never done it before . It’s well worth the extra effort and the cleanup of stockpots for the reward of flavor.

As an added plus, you get some insight of the anatomy of the turkey which is the same as a chicken, only larger. When the time comes for carving or cutting up a chicken or turkey you will have gained insight  by familiarity of the bone structure. Buying whole chickens, for example and cutting them gives you more menu versatility and cost saving, and you have the makings for fresh soup and stock  to boot!  

Now the details:

Break the carcass or frame of the turkey so it can fit  into a stock pot (large pan). Cover with water or stock. Since I used previously made stock I didn’t add seasonings or leftover vegetable scraps. Bring to a boil and simmer covered till the meat is tender and starts to fall from the bones. Probably about 1 hour or more to render all the flavor from the bones.





















Let cool and then pour into a strainer set in a large pot to catch the broth, to separate the bones.



Dump the strainer of bones into a 1/2 sheet pan. Let them cool so you can handle them barehanded. Some of the meat may have to be released from the bones by picking it out with a small paring knife.



The majority  of the meat can be removed with your fingers. Place the picked meat to one corner of the sheet pan, return the cleaned bones to the strainer working your way through the pile. Discard the bones when finished . If you save the wish bone*, place it aside for drying.




As soup can go in many, many, directions I placed the cleaned meat in mason jars and filled them with reserved broth. It’s as simple as that, refrigerate or continue making soup by adding  your favorites, diced what ever, and  pasta, barley or what ever. The flavor incomparable with any other !

IMG_1670 IMG_1668



















* The wish bone is the forked bone that is at the end of the breast structure of the turkey. It it saved for drying so it will snap. Now traditionally, two people each grab an end of the bone and make a wish. Now each person pulls the ends of the bone to snap it apart. The person who gets the full length of the bone, (with one with the top nub attached) gets their wish granted. This is usually only done with turkey wish bones even though chickens have one as turkey was usually only served on holidays.


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December 2011
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