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Soup is the best Thanksgiving leftover

Warming and not too filling, turkey soup is the best dinner for the day after the feast

Photo Credit: SUBMITTED PHOTOS - After the Thanksgiving feast, use the turkey carcass to make broth for soup.

Are you feeling like you’ve had too much of a good thing? Too much roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and pie? What to do with the leftovers seemed like a natural issue for me to address today. I realize we could avoid the whole issue of leftovers if we prepared just what we would easily consume, but that would go against the whole concept of a Thanksgiving feast. Besides, we like leftovers.

A survey of my coworkers showed that we like eating leftovers in their original form; it seems we are perfectly content to continue eating Thanksgiving dinner until the last morsels have been consumed. There is no need to get fancy and transform mashed potatoes into waffles or layer turkey and green beans into an inventive lasagna.

I can go along with that, but if you are going to power through them, be sure you are properly refrigerating them.

Follow the 2-2-4 formula, which stands for 2 hours, 2 inches, 4 days. Store leftovers in the fridge or freeze them no more than 2 hours after cooking. Finish your Thanksgiving meal and then put the foods away. Use shallow containers, about 2 inches deep, to store food. This will allow the food to cool quickly and evenly. And avoid stacking containers of hot food in the fridge — spread them out on the shelves so they will cool faster. Eat leftovers within four days.

When reheating leftovers, heat what you will eat, rather than the whole container. Every time you reheat the food, it becomes drier and the quality diminishes.

Remove stuffing from the turkey and cut the meat off the bones.

If you have lots of leftovers, freeze portions for use later. Be sure to label the packages.

My favorite food to make from Thanksgiving leftovers? Soup — it’s the big bonus of Thanksgiving. It’s the perfect dinner to serve the day after Thanksgiving. Soup is filling and satisfying without being too much.

Knowing it would be the perfect meal to serve this weekend, I found some unique turkey soup recipes to share with you.

To make stock, you cover the bones with water, add celery, onions and herbs and simmer the liquid for an hour. The pho recipe calls for roasting the bones with vegetables in the oven. Both will produce great results. You may be lucky enough to get stock for two of the recipes from your turkey carcass. If you run short, use low-sodium chicken stock.

Bon Appetit! Eat something wonderful!

Turkey soup is a satisfying meal to eat during the days after Thanksgiving.

Bird to the Last Drop

Makes 6 servings

2 quarts vegetable stock

1 turkey carcass

1 (10-ounce) box frozen mixed vegetables

½ cup long grain rice

2 cups cubed, cooked turkey

1 teaspoon crab boil seasoning (recommended Old Bay)

2 teaspoons dried thyme

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Combine the vegetable stock and the turkey carcass in a 6- to 8-quart pot. Push down the carcass so that it is mostly covered by the liquid. Cover, set over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Adjust the heat to maintain a simmer and cook for 1 hour. After an hour, remove the carcass, and add the vegetables, rice, turkey, crab boil seasoning and thyme. Cover again and simmer for an additional 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Recipe courtesy of Alton Brown, 2008

Leftover Roast Turkey Pho

Makes 6 servings


1 leftover turkey carcass, including any leg bones and reserved turkey parts (such as the neck, wings, etc.) plus 1 pound leftover turkey meat (about 4 cups), shredded into large bite-sized pieces

3 large, yellow onions, halved

One 6-inch piece fresh ginger root, halved lengthwise

1 head garlic, halved crosswise

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Kosher salt

4 star anise pods

3 tablespoons whole black peppercorns

2 cinnamon sticks

12 cups low-sodium chicken broth

¼ to 1/3 cup fish sauce


1 pound flat rice noodles

4 cups fresh bean sprouts

1 large bunch Thai basil

2 jalapeno peppers, thinly sliced

1 large red onion, halved and thinly sliced

Hoisin sauce and/or sriracha (Asian chili sauce) for serving

Lime wedges, for serving

For the broth: Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 450 F. Toss the turkey bones and parts, onions, ginger and garlic with vegetable oil in a large bowl. Lightly sprinkle with salt and transfer to a rimmed baking sheet, spreading everything out into a somewhat even layer (it is okay if some items slightly overlap). Roast turning the bones and vegetables halfway through until the vegetables are slightly charred, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the star anise pods, peppercorns and cinnamon sticks to a large pot. Set over medium heat and toast until very fragrant, shaking the pot occasionally, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the chicken broth, fish sauce, according to taste, and 8 cups of water.

Add the roasted turkey bones and vegetables to the pot, scraping any browned bits off of the baking sheet and adding them in as well. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low and gently simmer for 1 hour. Remove from the heat and strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve and into another large pot. (The broth can be made to this point up to 2 days in advance; let cool, then refrigerate in a covered container.) Stir the shredded turkey meat into the hot broth.

For the soup: Cook the noodles according to the package instructions. Divide the noodles among 6 bowls then top with the broth and shredded meat. Serve with the bean sprouts, Thai basil, jalapenos, red onion, hoisin sauce, sriracha and a lime wedge on the side so that guests can top their pho as they like.

From Food Network Kitchen

Turkey Vatapa

Makes 6 servings

A rustic Brazilian stew, vatapa has a base of beer, coconut milk and ground peanuts. It can be made up to 2 days in advance, kept covered in the refrigerator. It will thicken as it sits, just add a little water to thin in out.

1 teaspoon peanut oil

½ cup finely chopped onion

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon minced, peeled fresh ginger

1 jalapeno pepper, minced

1 cup water

1 28-ounce can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained

1 12-ounce can light beer

¼ cup unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts

3 cups chopped, skinned cooked turkey

½ cup light coconut milk

½ cup finely chopped fresh parsley

½ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

Cilantro sprigs as garnish

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté 2 minutes. Add ginger and jalapeno; sauté 30 seconds. Stir in water, tomatoes and beer; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Place peanuts in a spice or coffee grinder; process until finely ground. Add ground peanuts, turkey and coconut milk to pan, stirring to combine. Increase heat to medium. Bring mixture to a simmer, cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in parsley, cilantro, juice, salt and pepper. Garnish with cilantro.

Recipe courtesy of Cooking Light

Randall welcomes your food questions and research suggestions. She can be reached at 503-636-1281 or by email at brandall@lakeoswegoreview.com. Follow her on Twitter @barbrandallfood.

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