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Course: Soups & Sandwiches
Keyword: Bird to the Last Drop, Fall, Hacks, Healthy, Holidays, Soups, Thanksgiving, Turkey

Bird to the Last Drop

ACTIVE TIME: 20 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 1 hour 40 minutes
Yield: 8 servings
A warm and hearty soup made easy with leftover Thanksgiving turkey and store-bought ingredients.
Resist the urge to pick the bones clean before using this application. A little turkey meat in the soup, especially dark meat, will up the flavor ante considerably. As always, season to taste, but don’t be afraid to go heavy on the black pepper. I don’t know why turkey seems to be able to take so much pepper, but by the time I’m through with it, the bowl is teeming with wee black bits.
Photo by Lynne Calamia
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  • 1 1 1/2-2 pound turkey carcass (including any available leftover bones or bits)
  • 4 quarts (16 cups) water (If you have leftover turkey stock, start with that.)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 10 ounces (2 cups) shredded turkey meat
  • 8 ounces (1 cup) thinly sliced carrots
  • 8 ounces (1 cup) uncooked orzo pasta
  • 8 ounces (1 cup) green beans, cut in 1-inch pieces
  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) frozen peas
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
ACTIVE TIME: 20 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 1 hour 40 minutes
Yield: 8 servings


  • Place the turkey carcass in the pot or Dutch oven, and cover with the water. Place over medium-high heat, and when the water reaches a gentle boil, reduce the heat to low. Use a large fine-mesh sieve or ladle to skim any scummy stuff that's formed on the surface, then lid the pot and simmer for 1 hour.
  • Position a colander over another pot, or large heavy mixing bowl or other container, and carefully strain the broth (watch out for steam). If you're going to continue cooking in the original pot, rinse it out thoroughly then pour the strained liquid back into it.
  • Return the pot to medium heat, and season the broth with 1 tablespoon of salt, the black pepper, Old Bay, and thyme. Add the turkey meat and the carrots and cook for 5 minutes, adjusting the heat to maintain a simmer. Add the orzo and continue cooking for 10 minutes stirring occasionally. Add the green beans and cook 5 minutes, adding the peas when one-minute remains.
  • Finish with the lemon juice and season with additional salt if desired.
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