an ideal soup for a cold night, whether you're using up leftover turkey or not -- it's remarkably easy to make from scratch, using various cuts of turkey. on this particular occasion, I wanted to use up two previously roasted turkey drumsticks (and wings, but those don't really count for much) -- I knew that I'd want to add some white meat for balance, so I purchased a bone-in half turkey breast to add. it would truly be just as quick and simple to make without the leftovers, by purchasing two drumsticks and cooking them along with the breast. please make note: fresh parsley and dill are truly essential to the flavor of this soup. please do not leave out or substitute another herb for the parsley or dill, unless you're allergic to or despise either herb, of course! if that's the case, use whatever fresh herbs sound good to you -- tarragon would be quite good. fresh thyme or sage would be okay, but must be used sparingly -- only about 1/3 the amount, as they're quite strong in flavor. I don't recommend dried herbs in this soup -- its essential flavor is in the freshness of the herbs (especially the dill). even the cream is secondary -- you could substitute stock for the cream if you want a brothy-er soup. but please use fresh parsley and dill as recommended if at all possible. you'll understand why as soon as you taste it!
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1-1/2 medium white onions, diced
- 1 8-ounce box mushrooms, sliced
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4-5 pounds either leftover roasted or fresh turkey pieces (for example: 2 drumsticks, 2 wings, one bone-in half breast)
- 2 quarts (64 ounces) chicken or turkey stock, plus water as needed
- 1-2 stalks celery, cut into 2-3 large pieces
- 1 carrot, peeled and cut into 3-4 large pieces
- 3 bay leaves
- 4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2-1 teaspoon or more freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 large stalks celery, cut into small dice
- 2 medium-large carrots, peeled and cut into small dice
- 6 ounces dry noodles (egg noodles, mini-farfalle and orichiette are all good choices -- something small, but substantial, with a shape that catches some of the broth)
- 3 tablespoons fresh parsley (flat Italian or curly), finely minced
- 3 tablespoons fresh dill, finely minced
- pinch of nutmeg, to taste
- drops of hot sauce, to taste
- more kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large French or Dutch oven (or other large heavy soup pot) over medium-high heat and saute the onion, browning thoroughly while cooking (to develop maximum flavor and color without burning). when onions are translucent and light golden brown, add the remaining tablespoon of butter, and then the sliced mushrooms. continue to saute until mushrooms are cooked through and onions are deep golden brown. scrape mushroom-onion mixture out into a clean bowl and set aside. return French oven to the heat, add the olive oil, allow to get hot, then add the raw turkey pieces, skin-side-down, and brown. for maximum flavor, brown only one layer of raw turkey pieces at a time (don't add more pieces on top, or they'll steam, not brown). turn and brown on other side. if you're using only fresh raw turkey pieces, you'll have to brown in batches. any previously-roasted pieces of turkey are already browned, so this step isn't necessary for them -- just place them in the pot on top of the other pieces after the browning is done.
and speaking of "after the browning is done," pour the stock over all, then add cold water as needed to just cover them. add in the large chunks of celery and carrot, bay leaves, salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. lower heat to a simmer, skim any scum from the broth and cook for 1 hour (if you're using only previously-roasted pieces, cook for 30 minutes). while this is cooking, place the mushrooms & onions you previously set aside into a separate soup or stock pot, and add the heavy cream. heat over medium-low flame until boiling; lower heat to a simmer and allow cream to reduce for about 30 minutes, then turn off the heat, and add a bit of salt and pepper to taste. when the turkey pieces have cooked the appropriate amount of time, remove them to a plate for ~10 minutes to cool before handling. meanwhile, strain the broth and return it to the large French oven and bring to a simmer. add the diced celery and carrot to the broth and let cook for 5 minutes, then add the noodles to the broth mixture and cook (according to package directions) until they're al dente. while the veggies and noodles cook in the broth, remove skin and bone from the turkey and chop/shred into bite-sized pieces. when the noodles are cooked, add the cream, onion & mushroom mixture to the soup pot, then the shredded/chopped turkey, then the minced parsley and dill. quickly bring back up to a simmer, and add the nutmeg, hot sauce, salt & pepper to taste. at this point, the soup should be positively scrumptious. and good thing, because it's ready to serve! it will be even better on the second day after making.