One of my favorite recipes carefully tucked away in my Mother’s accordion file (ca. 1955 plus), pictured below, is this one from Craig Claiborne, published in the New York Times. This turkey noodle soup is just the thing to feed the many mouths that are likely to be gathered around your house all weekend — and to use that naked turkey carcass to its full potential.
- 1 turkey carcass
- 1 cup turkey meat, cut into half-inch cubes, for garnish, optional
- 16 cups water
- Leftover giblet gravy, if any, optional
- 1 cup coarsely chopped onion
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt and freshly group pepper to taste
- 2 whole cloves
- 4 springs fresh parsley
- 2 springs fresh thyme or ½ teaspoon dried
- 3 whole carrots, trimmed and scraped
- 3 whole ribs celery, trimmed and scraped
- ½ cup broken vermicelli, cappelini or spaghettini*
- Pick over the carcass and reserve any tender morsels of meat. Use this if desired, for the cup of meat indicated, adding more meat as necessary.
- Place the carcass in a kettle and set the meat aside. Add to the kettle any jellied gravy that ay be accumulated on the turkey platter or dish.
- Add the water to the kettle. Add the leftover giblet gravy if there is any. Add the onion, bay leaf, salt, pepper, cloves, parsley, thyme, carrots, and celery. Bring to the boil and simmer one hour, skimming the surface as necessary.
- Strain the soup through a sieve lined with a clean kitchen towel or a double thickness of cheesecloth. Discard all the solids except the carrots and celery.
- Pour about two cups of the soup into a saucepan and add the vermicelli. Cook until just tender.
- Add this to the soup. Cut the carrots and celery into half-inch cues and add them. Add the one cup of cubed turkey meat. Bring to the boil. Serve piping hot.
Let’s give thanks for our fortune and health during this holiday season by remembering to reduce our waste and cook that carcass — and have a really great Thanksgiving!
P.S. Mom wasn’t as persnickety as I am in noting dates, so I don’t know when this recipe was first published. If any readers can date this, I’d be grateful.)
* I prefer to use Japanese udon noodles in my soups, something I suspect was not available when Craig Claiborne offered this recipe. They are now more broadly available in supermarkets. (I’m convinced these are the kind of noodles Campbell’s puts in their soup — give them a try, and let me know what you think.)
Jacquie, this looks like a luscious meal in itself. I like the chunks of white meat as a garnish, and the noodles are are new idea to me. Well, Craig Claiborne ruled! Thanks for the recipe. And Happy Thanksgiving!
Thank you very much for this post! It is really a fantastic way to avoid wasting a piece of Thanksgiving that is often gone and forgotten even pre-leftovers. As a vegetarian, it has somewhat pained me to watch the turkey remains go to waste. My family and friends have always been very accommodating when it comes to my life choice to not eat meat by offering vegetarian foods at holiday meals. Introducing this dish to my more carnivorous relatives would be a great way to return the favor!
In an effort to avoid wasting other leftovers, I have also looked for ways to get creative with the turkey’s table peers, the side dishes. One of my favorite finds is this article from “All My Veggies”, which provides 9 simple ways to use cranberry sauce leftovers: http://ohmyveggies.com/9-ways-to-use-leftover-cranberry-sauce/.
Holiday season at my house wouldn’t be the same without a massive pot of turkey noodle soup. Each year, especially since I left for school, I love coming home and seeing the pot in the fridge. Not only do I get to enjoy my favorite soup, but my mother no longer has to endure the common phrase “There’s nothing to eat in this house” from my brothers and I. Aside from these personal advantages, reusing the Thanksgiving turkey carcass can also be considered a minor display of our thankfulness we have for the environment. Minor actions such as this that reduce our waste can truly add up and have lasting, positive effects on the world around us.