Warming up with simple turkey soup

Every morning I listen to talk radio while getting ready for work. This morning I heard the weatherman say this year Boston had the 3rd snowiest January on record. As I looked out the kitchen window watching more snow fall, I had to laugh to myself. When I moved here 16 years ago from Arizona, my first winter here was reported to be one of the snowiest. I really thought I would never survive that one. But here I am, many winters later!

Over this time, I’ve discovered the joy of making soups – especially during winter. I’m not normally an adventurous cook. More the retentive type that has to follow the directions to a T for fear of making a mistake and having my meal turn out disastrous! Surprisingly, I’ve found that with soup I feel a little bit more comfortable with letting go and experimenting a bit. This has taken some time, but I’m actually having fun with it!

I discovered this recipe a few years ago when my mother-in-law gave me the leftover turkey carcass from Thanksgiving. I had never actually made my own stock, or boiled down a turkey carcass before. The result was a flavorful soup with plenty of stock to work with, and freeze. The recipe that follows is a variation that I made this week using an oven roasted turkey breast from Costco. There are many varieties available at your local grocery store too, such as Jennie-O, Butterball, etc.

Mind you, this recipe can be stretched or cut down to your own personal tastes and to fit your fridge/freezer space. What follows is exactly how I made it with notes in parentheses on different options you can play around with.

Simple Turkey Soup:

*About 3 quarts of turkey/chicken stock = or approximately 11 -12 cups (because I was out of frozen stock, I used a combination of store bought chicken broth and chicken bullion cubes). I combined all this and brought to a boil and mixed well and then turned off the heat.
2 Tablespoons butter (or margarine)
1 teaspoon minced garlic (or more to taste)
2 medium onions, diced
1 large carrot, diced
2 celery ribs, diced
1/2 cup flour
2 cups of uncooked egg noodles (or rice)
2-2 1/2 cups of cut up or shredded turkey
1 cup of fat free half and half cream
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1 1/2 Tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro (optional)
*If you are using homemade stock you can add one teaspoon of chicken bouillon granules to add extra flavor

In a Dutch oven or large saucepan sauté garlic, onions, carrots and celery in butter over medium heat until tender. Reduce heat and stir in flour until blended with the veggies. Gradually add 1 qt. of reserved broth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Add rice (if using rice), salt, bouillon, pepper, remaining broth and reserved turkey. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Then, add the egg noodles, cream and cilantro (if desired) and cook an additional 10 minutes or until noodles are done.
Serve with a loaf of hot crusty bread and you will have a perfect winter meal that will be sure to warm your body and soul 🙂

Jennifer

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