If you saved the turkey bones from Thanksgiving, you have everything you need to make a fabulous turkey soup. But those of us who were a guests at the table of family or friends, don’t despair. Homemade turkey soup is so easy to make, I cook a big steaming pot every couple of weeks throughout the winter. You could buy a whole turkey and start over again but an uncooked leg and a thigh or two, some store-bought broth or stock from the freezer and fresh, seasonal vegetables is much easier. I know people who feel compelled to cook a turkey once a year regardless of whether they’re hosting Thanksgiving and I get it. Nothing beats a good turkey sandwich the day after. But there’s no need to go there just for soup.
My turkey soup is even faster when I use a pressure cooker. I have scary memories of the pressure cooker my mother used and I was afraid the whole lid might blow off like a volcano at any moment. I can assure you this isn’t the case with modern cookers that have several safety valves to allow excess pressure to be released. You use considerably less liquid, cooking time is much faster, vitamins and minerals aren’t leached away in the cooking and there’s the added benefit of killing microorganisms in the very high water temperature. Granted, they aren’t inexpensive to buy but you’ll be saving energy and time while adding nutrition. I can cook a pot of broth in 30 minutes and some pressure cookers are even faster. You may want to consider adding one to your Christmas list. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, this recipe will work equally as well in a slow-cooker or just a big soup pot on the stovetop.
Homemade Turkey Soup Recipe
Ingredients for broth: 1 uncooked whole turkey leg or large turkey thigh/ 4 cups chicken or turkey broth plus a cup or two of cold water (you’ll need extra water if you aren’t using a pressure cooker due to evaporation while cooking/ 1/2 large onion, peeled/ 2 large carrots, quartered/ 2 stalks of celery, cut in half/ several sprigs of thyme/ 1 bay leaf/ 1 T black peppercorns/ a couple of leeks, halved, if you have them.
Directions: Put turkey leg or thigh in pressure cooker/ Cover with broth and water/ Add vegetables, thyme, bay leaf and peppercorns/ Tighten down lid and cook on high heat until pressure gauge reaches the high mark/ Turn down temperature but maintain the same amount of high pressure — this takes a little experimenting, on my stove it works on low-medium/ Cook for 30 minutes from the time the cooker reaches high pressure/ Remove from heat and let the pressure release naturally — this takes about 20 minutes/ Open the lid/ Strain off the vegetables and seasonings and remove turkey leg/ Take meat off the bone and return it to the pot with the broth, discarding bones and skin.
Ingredients for soup: Turkey broth and meat from above/ 2 or 3 carrots, chopped / 1 large onion, chopped/ 2 medium potatoes, cubed/ 1 bunch of kale, ribs removed/ 2 T Olive oil/ Salt & pepper to taste/ Grated cheese for top (optional). Please use whatever vegetables you have on hand — turnips, leeks, fennel, more herbs, etc. Sometimes I skip the potatoes and add dried pasta instead for turkey noodle soup.
Directions for soup: Heat olive oil in skillet/ Saute onions for a couple of minutes until softened/ Add carrots and potatoes and continue to cook for around 5 minutes/ Add vegetables to broth and turkey meat/ Simmer until potatoes are thoroughly softened about 10-15 minutes/ Add kale/ Place a lid on hot broth and turn off the heat (I don’t like greens overly cooked so I just steam them lightly in the hot broth)/ Salt & pepper to taste.
Like I said, a pressure cooker isn’t necessary, just easier and faster. Here’s a link to my homemade turkey soup made the traditional way on the stovetop and here’s one I made in a slow-cooker. However or whenever, it’s still one of the most comforting and nourishing meals you can make.