Bodacious Turkey Bone Soup

What to do with your leftover turkey?

Some folks make turkey hash with the slices of turkey, gravy and dressing (or stuffing), others might make a casserole using up leftover side-dishes and turkey meat or even a turkey pot pie. Or some might make something that is a favorite around these parts, Turkey Bone Gumbo. But I suspect many make soup wisely using the carcass and any leftover turkey meat.

Some folks being resourceful add several cups of leftover side-dish vegetables to their soup, even several spoonfuls of sweet potato casserole will give it an altered, slightly sweeten taste and also will help thicken. And if you are feeling really experimental, go ahead and make some dumplings from the leftover dressing to float on top of the soup at serving. I think that would be well received.

We always manage to eat up most of our sides, or save 'em for another round of helpings the next day. For some reason, left-over holiday side-dishes are not so bad the second time around. But for this soup, I like to use new ingredients after salvaging the board cuttings of the turkey, any remaining slices of meat and the carcass of course which is loaded with tiny goody bits of meat and flavors that are actually good for you too. Now, you can pretty much use whatever vegetables you have or ones you like. This is how I like to do it. I cook the potatoes in an early stage of simmering the soup as a thickening base and I add the vegetables later to simmer until just tender.


Bodacious Turkey Bone Soup
a most flavorful after-holiday turkey and vegetable soup
makes about 5 quarts

1 leftover turkey carcass
1 quart chicken broth
3 quarts water
1 large onion, halved
1 carrot, halved
1 celery stalk, halved
2 bay leaves
2 garlic toes, minced
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
2 celery stalks, diced
1 large onion, chopped
3 medium white potatoes, diced
4 large carrots, diced or thinly sliced
1 small rutabaga, chopped in 1/2-inch cubes
2 cups greens (collards, spinach or cabbage)
1 -14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, drained (or 4 small fresh tomatoes, peeled)
1 -15.5 oz can navy beans, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed basil 
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 tablespoon Worcestershire
1 -7 oz box long grain and wild rice mix or 1 cup uncooked long grain rice
up to 3 cups leftover chopped turkey meat

In a large stockpot, add the turkey carcass (skin too), broth, water, the onion, carrot, celery halves and bay leaves. (I also added the outer leaves of the cabbage.)

Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a low simmer, cover and allow to slow simmer for 1 1/2 hours.

Strain broth through a fine mesh stainer or sieve (lined with a wet cheese cloth if you want a clearer broth) and discard the solids.

Wipe out the stockpot to remove scum. Heat butter over medium low heat and saute the garlic until aromatic. Toss in the celery and onion and allow to onions to wilt. Add the turkey stock, potatoes and increase heat. When at boil, decreased heat to medium low and simmer about 15 minutes. Add remaining ingredients except the rice and turkey meat, increasing heat if desired. Allow soup to come to a second boil and reduce heat to low, cover and cook about 30 minutes. Add rice stirring often to prevent rice from sticking to the bottom and cook another 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Stir in the turkey and allow soup to reheat. Ladle into bowl and serve with hot biscuits, toasted bread or cornbread.

Note: You can add leftover mashed potatoes to thicken even more if desired or thicken with a little cornstarch or arrowroot.


  1. Wow this sounds amazing Happy Thanksgiving my friend!

  2. We're traveling today and just last night I put my turkey breast carcass in the freezer. For the first time EVER I didn't cook a whole bird. I'm already looking forward to this soup for my leftovers. And aren't you jealous, I've made turkey sandwiches on white bread with Miracle Whip for the road. And darnit, without WonderBread.

  3. Looks like a fine use for that ole carcass. have a good one tomorrow

  4. This is a great idea for leftover turkey- I think using a dollop of sweet potato casserole could make it interesting too. Very cool. Thanks for sharing this idea.


    Happy Holidays to you.

  5. Looks awesome and I can't wait to make it! We got a cold front last night and I am making this soup today! Merci for the great recipe and have a great weekend, cher! Cheers!


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