I’ve cooked a lot of turkeys over the course of my life and the carcass of every one of them has ended up in a soup pot. Now that Christmas is behind us and we’ve had (more than) our fill of turkey leftovers it’s time to repeat the tradition.
This year our son provided a twenty-six pound free-range grass-fed turkey for our Christmas dinner. Before the kiddos went home a few days ago, we massacred what was left of the bird and created care packages for them to take home with them. I kept the carcass and bones and this morning it was soup time.
First, I made stock by putting the carcass and bones in my pressure canner–that was the only vessel large enough to hold the big bird. Then, I added some chopped carrots, celery (lots of celery leaves too), onion, dried parsley, salt and pepper, filled the pot with hot water, and put it on the stove to simmer for a few hours.
This afternoon I removed the bones and veggies from the pot and was left with a delicious turkey stock. I usually do this the hard way using a slotted spoon but you could pour the entire thing through a strainer and accomplish the same thing in less time. I find the process of removing the ingredients from the stock to be relaxing so I’ll stick to the old school way.
With only stock left in the pot I added chopped carrots, chopped celery, diced onion, two quarts of canned tomatoes, more dried parsley, salt and pepper, and a package and a half of pearl barley. Quantities are completely up to you, just be aware that the barley will increase in volume as it cooks; we like our soup thick. I also pick through the carcass and bones for meat and return that to the pot as well.
Put the pot back on the stove to simmer for a couple more hours and that’s it! We usually enjoy a couple of meals of the soup and then I freeze the rest. It’s so convenient to keep a good supply of ready-made things like soup in the freezer for those days when you need a quick meal.