It’s Turkey Day, the BIG DANCE, the main meal! My sister is here sharing our Thanksgiving Soup recipe– it’s not a soup to eat on Thanksgiving, but it’s a soup we make from the leftovers after the meal that provides comfort and easy meals throughout the rest of the week. So don’t throw away your leftovers or even the turkey bones, ’cause we’re gonna use them to make a delicious, easy meal that’s perfect after an exhausting day cooking, cleaning, eating, and laughing. Take it away, sis!
I am thrilled to guest post on Making Lemonade again. Carrie invited me to post earlier this year about my grocery-saving and money-making tips. Now I have a blog of my own, Stapler Confessions, where I share my exclusive method for getting free batteries and paper from Staples– including weekly alerts to all the freebies they have to offer. Carrie invited me back to share with you a trick I use to squeeze all the flavor out of my groceries. It helps me save money and feel less wasteful, and as a bonus it tastes great.
When I lived on a farm as a Peace Corps volunteer, we had very little trash. Nothing comes pre-wrapped in packages – there are no extra boxes, plastic wrap, or plastic tubs and lids. You bring a bag to the bazaar and you leave with it full of food rolling around willy-nilly in there. No food went to waste, either. Not only did that mean we would eat stale bread until it was gone, but it meant that the family cow ate any scraps tossed aside in the cooking process: onion skins, carrot shavings, herb stems, etc. Ever since returning from my Peace Corps service, I have felt bad about the amount of waste I generate and always loathed throwing unspoiled food in the trash simply because no one would eat celery leaves or bell pepper seeds.
Then I learned how to make soup stock. It requires using carrots, onions, celery, and herbs – all things that I was throwing out on a weekly basis. When making stock, you don’t eat the ingredients used to make it, so I figured that I might as well use the odds and ends of the vegetables.
Whenever I have vegetable peelings, I put them in a freezer bag until the next time I make stock. It usually includes onion peels, carrot scrapings, celery leaves and the very end of the celery stalk, herb stems, and bell pepper seeds and innards. In the past, I have also successfully used eggplant skin, butternut squash, and carrot and beet leaves. I avoid vegetables with strong scents, like brussels sprouts, broccoli, or asparagus. The beet stems did tint my stock a little red. For a lighter color stock, avoid using onion skins.
Yup, that little bag leads to homemade stock which leads to this: homemade soup!
vegetable and herb scraps
chicken or turkey bones, stripped clean of skin and fat
1 tsp salt
1 T Italian seasoning (optional)
6 cups of water
1 onion, diced
4 celery stalks, diced
4 carrots, sliced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
½ cup barley
chicken or turkey leftovers
salt and pepper to taste
plus any other favorite vegetables and soup ingredients you’d like to add– cooked potatoes, rice, peas, etc.
STOCK: The process usually starts the night I roast a whole chicken or turkey. Strip the carcass of all skin, fat, and ligaments, and put all the leftover bones into a crockpot with the gizzard and giblets.
Add frozen vegetables, enough water to cover everything, and salt. If your frozen veggies are low on herbs or scented vegetables, sprinkle with a tablespoon of Italian seasoning. Set the crockpot to cook on high for 3-6 hours or low for 6-12 hours.
When it’s done cooking, scoop out the big pieces with a slotted spoon and toss them in the garbage. Strain the broth using a grease separator that has a strainer lid. Pour out the stock into a separate container, leaving any fat in the gravy strainer.
Cool or use immediately. Freeze for up to 4 months, in 2-3 cup batches, to make it easier to defrost and use.
In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat and saute onions, celery, and carrots until soft. Add garlic and stir until fragrant (approximately 30-60 seconds).
Add stock and bring to a boil.
When boiling, add barley and let simmer for 40 minutes.
Add leftover chicken. When the chicken has warmed, the soup is ready to serve.
The best part of Thanksgiving Soup is not just how easy and resourceful it is, but the fact that my niece, Carrie’s daughter– who has very particular tastebuds– devoured it last year and asked for seconds. It warmed my heart and I was so thankful to nourish the little soul that has nourished mine all these years. I hope you enjoy it, too!
Carrie here again. I may be cooking the big meal today, but my sis has the soup under control. 😉 As she said, my daughter in particular devours it though we all enjoy it. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving everyone, stay safe and eat lots of turkey… soup! XO!
Thanksgiving Soup Recipe is linking up with: