I don't know about you but I looked through dozens of use-up-leftover-turkey recipes before throwing up my hands, getting out a pot and doing it my way.
After Thanksgiving, the last thing I want to do is make a casserole with a block of cream cheese, or a soup with a pint of half and half. I want something easy that uses my leftover turkey, tastes fantastic, isn't over the top in calories and doesn't make me feel like I'm eating Thanksgiving dinner again.
If you have leftover rice, toss it in instead of making wild rice. Don't have leftover turkey? A rotisserie chicken would be great here. Just remove the skin and strip the meat from the bones. Save the carcass for making stock later!
This soup is easy, earthy, healthy, and deeply satisfying on a cold, rainy (or snowy) night. I like to cook my carrots, onions and celery down so they're lightly browned and very soft. Otherwise, I think the vegetables are too vegetal and they detract from the mellow flavor of the soup. To make it even faster, look for mirepoix (a combination of chopped celery, onion, and carrot) and cleaned sliced mushrooms in your produce section, and cook your wild rice before work, or the night before. Otherwise, you can start the wild rice, then chop your vegetables and make the rest of the recipe. By the time you finish with the rest of the recipe, your wild rice will be done and ready to add to the pot.
Turkey Soup with Mushroom & Wild Rice
1 cup wild rice, uncooked
Prepare the wild rice according to package directions. Then chop the vegetables and prepare the rest of your soup:
3 tablespoons olive oil (plus additional if your pan gets dry)
10 ounces mushrooms, sliced
3 ribs of celery, chopped
3 medium carrots, chopped
1 medium-large onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, crushed or grated on a Microplane
1/8 teaspoon (or to taste) cayenne pepper (optional)
3 leaves of sage, finely minced
4 sprigs of thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
6-8 cups chicken broth
4 cups cooked turkey, chopped
Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to a large, deep saucepan (I made this in a 12" non-stick sauté pan, so you can go that route, too) over medium heat and add the mushrooms. Allow the mushrooms to soften and give off their juices, stirring only occasionally, for about 5 minutes. Transfer mushrooms to a plate and set aside.
Add remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil to the pot, and add the celery, carrots and onion. Stir to coat with the oil and cook for about 5 minutes, until the vegetable have started to soften but are still firmish. Add the garlic and stir into the vegetables. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for another 5-8 minutes, until the vegetables are quite soft, medium brown and cooked down considerably. Stir in the cayenne, sage and thyme branches, add salt and pepper to taste. Pour in 6 cups of the broth and cook until mixture is bubbling around the sides, stirring occasionally. Once all is hot, add your cooked wild rice and chopped turkey. If needed, add more broth (I like my soups to be more stuff than broth, but it's totally up to you). Heat through, then remove the thyme branches before serving.
Makes 8 servings