In keeping with tip to tail, I absolutely delight in making my annual homemade turkey soup. This soup that my family has been waiting for all year is the reason I do two Thanksgiving turkeys and all those confit turkey legs. I place all the bones and carcasses (picked clean) in a large pot, cover with water, and add goodies like onions, carrots, and cilantro then gently cook for several hours before the arduous task of draining, straining, and removing. Delicious and worth the wait. I sometimes make a turkey in February, because I long for this soup. But if I’m having a group of friends over and happen to roast couple of chickens, this soup is delightful made with them instead.
I use two turkey carcasses, picked clean, saving any desirable meat for the soup, and all of the confit turkey legs. For me, the more the merrier. Chop four carrots, four celery stalks, and an onion, and throw it all into a pot with a half bunch of cilantro and a tablespoon of salt. Add just enough water to cover, and allow it to slowly simmer for about three hours. Toward the end, add a chicken breast on the bone and allow it to poach for about 15-20 minutes. Then remove, cool, and rip it into pieces. Strain everything out so just the beautiful liquid remains.
Now you will begin to build a soup starting with this liquid gold. I like to add carrots and onions, but it would also be lovely with handfuls of peas and celery, or whatever you have on hand. Think of this as more a guide than a recipe. I like my soup really brothy, but adding a bit of rice is delicious. It would also be lovely with homemade noodles instead. I use about a 1/2 cup of rice, and when that is simmering, I add the carrots, onions, a lemon, chopped cilantro and salt and let cook. When rice is getting near done, I add a can of crushed tomatoes and a 1/2 tsp of real maple syrup. As the rice finishes, add any reserved chicken or turkey meat that came off the bone. I often add an extra quart of turkey or chicken broth reserved from a previous batch, and it’s likely you’ll want to add some too if you prefer a brothy soup. You can add the broth at any point – after the rice is done, when the soup is simmering, or even the day after. Add as much as you need, to make your soup the consistency you like. Top with lots of fresh parsley when serving.