Mom's Turkey Soup

Happy New Year!  How was your Christmas?  Mine was amazing.  I was so relaxed this year knowing I wasn't going to have to hop on a plane to the Virgin Islands to work a New Year's charter.  I settled in at home and just enjoyed time with family and friends... and of course, lots of food!     

Green Flash will soon be settled here in Santa Barbara too.  It looks like there is a good weather window in about a week for Hubby, Son and two other guys to sail her home from Los Cabos, Mexico... yay!!  I'll keep you posted on their progress.   

 I don't know about you, but I am still experiencing food hangover from all this holiday eating.  I cooked a turkey for our extended family get together on Christmas day.  Because there are so many of us, rarely are there leftovers at these gatherings.   I did manage to save the turkey carcass and just enough meat for my Mom's traditional turkey soup.  My dear Mom always made turkey soup with her leftovers... making use of everything.  She would save every last bit of meat clinging to the bone for a full flavored turkey soup.   Mom is especially missed this time of year so making this soup just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

I'm happy to share Mom's recipe which has never been written down until now.  After all the indulgences over the holidays, turkey soup always sounds so nourishing and tasty.  When I bake a chicken I do the same stock and soup.   Pick over your carcass well to be sure to save as much leftover turkey meat as you can.  Save the carcass in the refrigerator until you are ready to make your stock (within a couple of days).  

This recipe does not have to be followed exactly.  There is a lot of flexibility depending on how much soup you are making and the ingredients you have on hand.  I like to keep it traditional using carrots, celery and onions.  If you don't have fresh herbs on hand, dried will be just fine.

Using homemade stock makes such a big difference in recipes.  It's so easy and can be frozen up to six months to use at any time.  If you're not in the mood for soup right away, freeze your stock and your leftover turkey and make it another time.  



  • 1 Turkey Carcass, leftover from a carved turkey including drippings, giblets, neck, skin and bones if you have them (not the liver)
  • Cold Water (enough to cover the carcass and vegetables by about an inch)
  • 2 Carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2 Celery Ribs with leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium Yellow Onion, cut into thick wedges
  • 5 sprigs of fresh Parsley
  • 2 sprigs of fresh Thyme
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • Salt and Pepper


  1. Remove all the usable turkey meat from the carcass to save for your soup or other recipe.
  2. Take the remains of the turkey carcass and break it into pieces so it will fit in your large soup pot or Dutch oven.  Add the leftover drippings, giblets, neck, skin and bones.  Do not use the liver.  It could give your stock a bitter flavor.  Cover with cold water by at least one inch.  Add carrots, celery, onion, fresh herbs, bay leaves, salt and pepper.
  3. Bring just to a boil on high heat then lower the heat to keep the stock at a low simmer.
  4. Skim off the scum on the surface.  This is impure matter that rises to the top.
  5. Cover pot and cook for at least three to four hours skimming off the scum as it accumulates on top.
  6. When finished cooking, remove from heat and use tongs or a large slotted spoon to remove the bones and vegetables from the pot.
  7. Strain the stock through a fine mesh sieve or strainer placed over a large pot.  
  8. If you decide to freeze for later use, cool first.  If cooled down you have a chance to skim off the extra fat on the top.  
  9. Remember, you can do the same recipe with a chicken.




  • 1 1/2 C Carrots (about 5 medium), chopped
  • 1 1/2 C Celery (about 6 stalks), chopped
  • 1 1/2 C Yellow Onion (about 1 medium), chopped
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 4 T fresh Flat Leaf Parsley, chopped
  • 4 T fresh Thyme, chopped
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 2 C or more leftover cooked Turkey Meat, cut into bite sized pieces
  • Egg Noodles, Pearl Barley or Rice (for gluten-free)
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste


  1. In a large pot heat about 2 Tablespoons of butter on medium high heat.  Add chopped carrots, celery and onions just until onions are softened about 10 minutes.  Add the minced garlic and cook about a minute more.
  2. Add the stock to the pot, fresh herbs and bay leaves. 
  3. Bring to a simmer and cook until the vegetables are just cooked through.  Add the noodles, pearl barley or rice.  You could also use gluten free noodles or leave them out all together for a low-carb meal.
  4. Add Turkey meat.
  5. Add Salt and Pepper to taste.
  6. Add more water if needed.  If you feel like your soup isn't rich enough, you can always add chicken bouillon.  I like Better Than Bouillon brand.