Leftover Turkey Soup

Many of you are probably winding down from a nice Thanksgiving weekend. You may or may not have had turkey at the center of your table, but if you did, this recipe is for you. One of the most wonderful parts of big turkey dinners, is (in my opinion), getting to make soup from the leftover turkey bones. I am usually fortunate enough to be the recipient of said leftovers when attending family dinners. Sometimes I will pop the bones into the freezer and save them for when I have more time, but this week I got right to work and have been enjoying turkey soup all week long. With the holiday season still looming ahead of us, this recipe may come in handy before you know it!

I have to say, I was inspired by a recipe over on DOTE magazine’s website for a simple turkey and wild rice soup. I also have to say that I am terrible at following recipes, especially for soup. I’ll often find inspiration in a recipe, and then make substitutions and additions as I see fit based on what I’m feeling like, or what’s left in the fridge! In this particular case, I happened to have barley on hand, and not wild rice; I also had some kale still growing in my garden which got thrown into the mix. So feel free to mix up the veggies a bit, or swap out the grain for your favourite (or use pasta!). In my house, making soup is basically an opportunity to clean out the fridge, with delicious results.

turkey soup

Back to the start; if you happened to be the one hosting the dinner, you would have three options for obtaining a turkey at the market (good to know for upcoming holidays). Blush Lane Organic Market has, you guessed it, organic turkeys available. Blu Seafood brings in free-range birds from Winter’s Turkeys. Last but not least, you can also pick up a turkey at Spragg’s Meat Shop. Who knew there were so many options?

Once you have purchased your turkey, invited people over for dinner, and have turkey leftovers, you are now ready to make Leftover Turkey Soup.

Making the stock

Ingredients

  • Turkey bones, bits and pieces
  • A few celery stalks
  • A few carrots
  • One or two onions
  • A bay leaf
  • Peppercorns
  • Salt

I like to make my stock in my slow cooker, but this can also be done in a big stock pot on the stove. Place the bones, veggies, bay leaf, salt and pepper into the slow cooker, and cover everything with cold water. (You can also add more veggies or other herbs as you like for flavour). Depending on how soon you want stock, you can use the high or low setting on the slow cooker. I usually place it on high for 2 – 3 hours, and then switch it to low for the remainder of the time. Making stock can take as long as you want it to. As soon as it’s good and tasty, you can use it, but bone broth tends to get better the longer you can hold out. This is why I like using the slow cooker. Plan for at least 3 or 4 hours (on high heat), but I left this batch on for about 24 hours and by the time I was ready to make soup, it was rich, flavourful and so good!

turkey 6Turkeys have a little more fat than chickens do, so I let the finished stock hang out in the fridge for a while until the fat solidified at the top; making it a bit easier to scrape off the excess. I do like to leave a little bit of the fat in because it has so much flavour (don’t be scared of keeping a little in there!).

Making the soup

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp olive oil from Soffritto Oil and Vinegar
  • 1 large onion from Innisfail Growers
  • 2 cups celery from Innisfail Growers
  • 2 cups carrots from Lund’s Organics
  • 2 handfuls kale (or other leafy green)
  • 8 cups turkey stock (see above)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tsp dried herbs of your choice (I used thyme and lovage saved from my garden)
  • 3 cups shredded turkey (also leftover from turkey dinner)
  • 1 cup barley

First, chop all of your onion, celery and carrots. Saute the onion for a couple of minutes in the oil, and then add your carrots and celery and cook for another 5 or so minutes.

turkey ingredients

Add your herbs, turkey and turkey stock now, bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for up to an hour. In the last 5 minutes of cooking, throw in a couple handfuls of torn up kale.

ingredients

While your soup is simmering, cook the barley in a separate pot. Set aside until the soup is ready to be served. (Because I find that barley tends to soak up so much of the stock once it’s in the soup, I actually store my barley in a separate container, adding a scoop to my bowl as I eat the soup over the next few days – because the broth is the best part!).

Put a scoop of barley in each bowl, add the hot soup, and enjoy!

No matter how you like to enjoy your leftover turkey, you can get the ingredients you need at the Calgary Farmers’ Market, Thursday – Sunday, 9:00am – 5:00pm, year round. We hope to see you soon!

Easter Leftovers

After a busy weekend of hunting for Easter treats, entertaining family and friends, and preparing a big meal, the last thing you likely want to do is more.  More of anything.  But dinner awaits and standing in front of the fridge, gazing at all of the leftovers, hoping they will miraculously whip themselves together into something that passes as a meal isn’t going to help.  Do not despair.  Here, we have for you, two simple ways to use up that Easter ham staring back at you.

Market-Sourced Ingredients:

Leftover Ham from Spragg’s Meat Shop

Smoked Gouda from Sylvan Star Cheese

Edgar Farms Mustard Pickles from Innisfail Growers Co-op

Butter Lettuce from The Cucumber Man

Fig and Fennel Bread from Yum Bakery

Ham Sandwich 1

The best part about this sandwich is that it takes about five minutes to throw together, but tastes like you put a whole lot of thought and effort into it.  Start by cutting the ham into bite-sized pieces to be warmed in a pot.  This is where the sticky leftover bits of glazed ham and fatty rind really come in handy, coupled with a small splash of water, the ham will stay moist as it reheats.

Ham Sandwich 2

Lightly toast and butter the bread.  Top with the smoked gouda, mustard pickles (they’re really quite flavourful, so this is a to-taste preference), a leaf of the butter lettuce, and warmed ham.

Ham Sandwich 3

As you may suspect, this sandwich is a little on the messy side.  You could call it ‘rustic’ if you wanted to cover your bottom, but it would only be fair to warn you that it fast becomes a deconstructed sandwich.  It definitely falls into the category of being a ‘knife-and-fork-required’ kind of meal, but is that a bad thing?  You’ll be glad to have the fork to stab every delicious morsel left on your plate.  You may even lick it clean.  Just sayin’.

And if sandwiches aren’t your thing, or you’ve already had a few this week, you can use the remaining ham (and the bone) as the beginning to a number of great soups.  Making a stock is remarkably simple, and if you have a crock pot (as most Canadians do) they are beyond low maintenance.

Market-Sourced Ingredients:

Leftover Bone-In Ham from Spragg’s Meat Shop

1 bunch of Celery, a few Carrots, 1 bulb of Fennel, 1 sweet onion, 6 cloves of Garlic from Cherry Pit

3-4 Bay Leaves, Thyme, and Ancho Chile Powder from The Silk Road Spice Merchant

Salt & Pepper

Turbinado Sugar (brown or raw sugar can be substituted)

Ham Stock 1

It’s as easy as roughly chopping all of the veggies and throwing everything into a crock pot (a pot is absolutely acceptable, but a crock pot allows you to walk away and really have no worry of it boiling over and becoming a hot mess).  Add the bay leaves, and 1 teaspoon of all spices and sugar.  Cover with water, bring to a boil, and let simmer for 4 hours on high, and then 6-8 hours on low.  Yes, it takes a long time, but the ham bone needs a little more love than say, turkey leftovers.  As it steeps, the stock will become richer in flavour and gain more depth.

Ham Stock 2

Taste-as-you-go is always a good rule of thumb.  When you’ve reached a spoonful that makes you say “oooh! that’s good!”,  it’s a good sign it’s done.  Let the stock cool and then strain it away from all of the veggie bits and ham bone which will be discarded.  This stock can now be used as a base for the ever-popular split pea and ham soup (like this one by our friend Julie Van Rosendaal), a veggie soup, or even when sautéing vegetables.  And it freezes well for months in a well-sealed container.

Now, how many meals did you get out of your Easter ham this year?  With such beautiful ingredients found at the market, why let it go to waste?