Coconut Curry Turkey and Wild Rice Soup

We’ve had a very peaceful Thanksgiving weekend in Chicago – 4 days at home was just the balm I needed to catch up on sleep, de-stress, cook and relax. We celebrated the holiday with my aunt, uncle, cousins in the suburbs…and then the rest of the weekend was pretty low key. Sleeping late (which for me, is anything after 6am), naps, an afternoon cocktail, and lots of time puttering in the kitchen.

After every Thanksgiving feast, there are the leftovers. By the third day after the turkey is carved, I become weary of sliced turkey, gravy and all the trimmings that linger in the fridge. But the bits of turkey remain, begging to be used and not wasted. So this morning, I pulled the turkey carcass from the bird I roasted for my team at work last week out of the freezer and set about making a big pot of turkey stock. Once made, strained, chilled and de-fatted – it was time for the main attraction – soup.

I love the comfort in a bowl of turkey and wild rice soup. Today I decided to leave the traditional flavors of the holiday behind, and spice it up with an Indian flare…and I am glad I did. The soup has some heft to it, as a good turkey and wild rice soup should, and just enough curry for the spice to linger on the tongue, cooled by a splash of coconut milk. Like most of my soups, this is a great way to clean out odds and ends of vegetables lingering in the crisper, so use whatever you have on hand.

Coconut Curry Turkey and Wild Rice Soup
Serves 6-8

2 T olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 carrots, peeled & diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 bunch rainbow chard, washed, leaves sliced into bite sized pieces. Stems reserved and diced.
3 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 small red potatoes, cut into ½” cubes, totaling 1 ½ cups of potatoes
1 tsp brown mustard seed
1 tsp hot curry powder
1 tsp garam masala
1 ½ T madras (mild) curry powder
⅔ cup wild rice
6 cups turkey  or chicken stock
½ can coconut milk
2 cups diced roast turkey (or chicken)
salt & pepper to taste
1 tsp white wine vinegar

  1. Heat a large soup pot over medium heat. Add olive oil and brown mustard seeds. Stir the seeds around in the oil for about 1 minute, until the seeds release their fragrance.
  2. Scoop onion, carrots, celery and diced chard stems into pot. Add a pinch of salt and stir to coat the veggies in oil. Saute for 7-10 minutes, until onions are softened, stirring every couple of minutes.
  3. Add the garam masala, curry powders, and garlic to the pot. Stir for 1 minute.
  4. Add the wild rice, turkey (or chicken) stock, stir and cover. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce heat to low and add the potatoes. Simmer uncovered for 25 minutes, over medium-low heat, stirring every few minutes.
  5. After 25 minutes, pour in the half can of coconut milk. Stir and cook for another 20-30 minutes, until the wild rice is tender. Then add the turkey and chard leaves, and gently stir the leaves into the pot. Cook for 2-3 more minutes until the chard has wilted. Season with salt & pepper to taste, and stir in 1 tsp white wine vinegar to brighten the flavors a bit. Serve.

What’s your favorite way to re-invent the holiday leftovers? Share in the comments…


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.