Friday, November 26, 2010

Round 2: Thanksgiving Leftovers Soup

First of all, here's hoping your Thanksgiving was as enjoyable as mine.  I've spent the last three days cooking, eating, sleeping off a food coma, and doing precious little of anything else.  I did go for a run this morning, in the hope of jump-starting my metabolism and ensuring that my pants still fit when I go back to work on Monday.  Other than that, though, it's been all about the food.  No wonder Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.

After yesterday's feast, I looked around the kitchen and observed  that I might have made too much food for our four-person family.  At that, The Hubs starting laughing uproariously--the fact that I'd gone way overboard was painfully obvious to anyone who'd been sitting at our Thanksgiving table.  Still, I was determined to make sure none of the good stuff went to waste.  After my run this morning, we ate turkey sandwiches and all but a small portion of the leftover corn souffle for lunch.  (I did double leftover duty by slapping some cranberry sauce on my sandwich because, let me just say, I made what might be the best cranberry sauce known to humankind this year.)  Then, around 5:00, when I started feeling hungry again, I decided to throw a bunch of stuff into a soup pot and see what happened.

Well.  What happened was Thanksgiving magic.  Seriously, the soup I concocted had people swooning with contentment.  I used up the rest of the cider-glazed carrots, the leftover turkey gravy, and most of the dark meat from our turkey--both because we're not big fans of the dark meat (we're more likely to use the turkey breast in sandwiches) and because the dark meat has a higher fat content.  That means it has more flavor to contribute to a soupy environment.  I used chicken stock because I happen to have a lot on hand, but if you boiled your turkey carcass after Thanksgiving dinner, you can also use that broth instead. 

If you decide to try to replicate this experience in your own kitchen, please keep in mind that since I was using leftovers, all amounts are approximate.   Soup is never an exact science, though--use whatever you have on hand, whatever your family loves most, and you really can't go wrong.

Thanksgiving Leftovers Soup

1 T. olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
6 cups chicken stock
leftover turkey gravy (I had about a cup, maybe a little less)
1 cup leftover cider-glazed carrots, cut in half (include the fennel)
1 cup dry orzo pasta
2 cups leftover cooked, diced dark meat turkey     

In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil.  Add the onions and celery and allow them to sweat over medium heat for 3 or 4 minutes.  Then add the chicken stock, gravy and carrots.  Stir everything together and let it come to a boil.  When it's boiling, add the orzo pasta and reduce the heat slightly.  Stir to make sure the pasta doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot.  Your soup should be bubbling enough to move the orzo around, but not at a full-tilt boil.

After about 10 minutes, when the pasta has softened, reduce the heat to a simmer.  Add the chopped turkey and allow the soup to continue cooking for another 10 minutes, until the turkey is heated through.

We enjoyed our soup with some leftover dinner rolls.  The Hubs said, "Whatever you did, write it down so you can do it again.  Exactly like this."  

Giving the people what they want--that's what The Family Foodie is all about.


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