Turkey & Wild Rice Soup

This might be the most anticipated pot of soup that I make all year. If you’ve been to my house and have witnessed the Tower of Tupperware that occurs each Sunday afternoon as I ladle up the week’s pot of soup into lunch servings – you know it’s saying a lot when I say that THIS is the soup I look forward to most.

The recipe is nothing new – it’s a basic poultry, wild rice and vegetable soup of the clean-out-the-crisper genre. Go through the veggies lingering after the holiday weekend, and chuck them all into the pot – there are no rules here, only good soup.

The magic in this pot is the sum of all the cozy, family-filled feelings surrounding the Thanksgiving holiday slowly simmered with the leftover turkey carcass and aromatics – producing the most beautiful, savory stock I make all year. It’s the LOVE that makes this stock so warming, I’m sure of it. And after a weekend full of hearty, filling foods, a clarifying bowl of this hearty soup brimming with vegetables is just the thing to power through the first days back at the office.

What’s your favorite way to enjoy the holiday leftovers? Share your post-holiday eating tips in the comments below.

Turkey & Wild Rice Soup
Serves 6

2 quarts homemade turkey stock
3 cups turkey, sliced into bite-sized pieces
⅔ cup wild rice
2 T olive oil
½ onion, diced
2 leeks, cleaned, and white/light green parts sliced.
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 poblano pepper, seeded and diced
1 tsp ground celery seeds
1 tsp dried thyme
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, minced
3 cups kale, stemmed and sliced into bite-sized pieces
½ cup cream sherry
salt & lots of black pepper
1 handful parsley, minced

Note: You’ll need 2 soup pots for this recipe, or 1 pot and a large skillet to saute the veggies.

  1. Heat a large soup pot over medium heat and pour in the turkey stock and wild rice. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer covered for 30 minutes, until the wild rice is about halfway cooked. Stir occasionally.
  2. After 30min of rice cooking, heat a second large pot (or 12” skillet) over medium heat and add the olive oil, onion, leeks, celery, carrots, bell and poblano peppers and a couple pinches of salt. Saute for 5-7 minutes, until the onions are translucent and begin to soften. Add the garlic, thyme, rosemary, celery seed and cook for one more minute.
  3. Scoop all the veggies and herbs into the rice/stock pot and stir. Add the cream sherry, and increase the heat to medium. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low, and simmer uncovered for another 20 minutes, until the carrots have softened and the wild rice is cooked. Add salt and black pepper to taste (I like LOTS of pepper in this soup), and then add in the cubed turkey and kale. Stir it in and cook for 5 more minutes until the kale is just tender. Add the minced parsley and another small splash of sherry. Taste and adjust seasonings once more before serving.

4 thoughts on “Turkey & Wild Rice Soup

  1. This was fantastic! I did indeed use it to kill off the last of the Thanksgiving turkey and everything in my crisper drawer except a couple onions. That means that instead of celery, I used fennel, and I had spinach instead of kale. I also supplemented with extra frozen carrots and used TJ’s Harvest Grain blend (red quinoa, orzo, Israeli couscous and garbanzo beans) instead of wild rice.

    I think I will make variations of this all winter long. Perfect on a cold day! Thanks for the inspiration!

    • YAY! So glad you cleaned out your crisper, too! Truly, anything goes in this kind of soup – whatever you’ve got on hand works. And I bet it was especially fabulous with the fennel – such a favorite of mine. My other favorite fennel-related soup is Molly’s (of the blog Orangette) Tomato and Fennel Soup. Really easy to make, and so delicious. I might have to make a pot of that one soon, now that I’m thinking about it. I love soup season. 😉

  2. Wow, this looks great as well. I need to get a turkey to make all these wonderful dishes. Unfortunately, when you don’t cook the turkey you don’t get any of the great leftovers. I should have thought to ask for the bones though. Sad to say, they probably just got thrown in the trash.

    It was great to hear from you. I am glad that Chris and I aren’t the only ones with soup differences. I tried your recipe for hearty lentil soup last night and it was SO good. I am also going to try your tomato minestrone soup next. You are a wonderful cook!
    I am so glad that I found your blog.

    Have you always loved cooking?

    • So funny that you mention throwing away the carcass, Noelle…pretty much any thanksgiving dinner we go to with family or friends, I ask for the carcass if I think they’re just going to be tossing it….it’s nearly the best part. We’ve got one more thanksgiving celebration this weekend with friends, and if I’m lucky, I’ll score another batch of bones. This is the template for my chicken soup as well, so roast up a chicken, and make chicken stock and then do the veggie loaded soup.

      I made a version of the hearty lentil soup last night too – how funny! I added curry to it this time – yum. I’ve always enjoyed cooking, but before the gluten diagnosis, I felt tired ALL the time, so I’d be so frazzled at the end of the day that we’d do take out or frozen pizza way too often…now I know it was making me sicker. But I found my way back into the kitchen, and thankfully found a passion for cooking after learning I couldn’t eat gluten. My cooking skills and love for food have grown with every year…my husband jokes that I’m always thinkig of food or dreaming up the next meal, and he’s not far off.

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