Years ago, back when I more regularly read actual magazines, rather than perused the occasional interesting article online, I clipped a recipe for “Wild Turkey Soup” from Field and Stream Magazine, an old favorite of my father’s (and probably who I stole this particular issue from). I’m not sure why I originally clipped this, as I had never before made a real soup from scratch, and while I’d love to go turkey hunting someday, the closest I’ve gotten to a wild turkey is this. But I had smoked a few turkeys, and they were outstanding, and I knew it was a crime in some families (including my future wife Colleen’s, though I didn’t know that yet) to throw out a perfectly good and tasty turkey carcass, when there was still good soup to be made from it!
After marrying Colleen and finding her enthusiasm for both my smoked turkey and for soups, I found the recipe in one of my old recipe binders and decided to try it (with a few minor adjustments, naturally). It was quite easy, turned out really well, and we’ve made it every time we’ve had a turkey carcass to use since.
Note–If you want a shortcut, and already have turkey or chicken stock, or want to buy it, and already have (or grill or smoke some) turkey or chicken, there’s a shortcut version as well below.
- 1 Meaty turkey carcass, including wings and other leftover meat, if you did too well when you carved the turkey (I used smoked turkey, the original used wild turkey, you could really use any turkey or probably 2 chicken carcasses)
- 2 Medium onions (1 quartered, 1 chopped)
- 5 Carrots (2 coarsely chopped, 3 sliced)
- 5 Celery stalks (2 coarsely chopped, 3 sliced)
- 5 Garlic cloves, smashed
- 6 Parsley sprigs
- 2 Bay leaves
- 2 Thyme sprigs (or 1 tsp dried thyme)
- 1 Tsp Peppercorns
- 1 Tsp Salt
- 1-2 Cups of cooked wild rice (I do ½ cup uncooked wild rice, which turns into about 1½ cups cooked)
- Salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes, to taste
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
- Hack carcass into useful sized chunks (good manly man work here…)
- Roast carcass chunks on cooking sheet in oven for 30 minutes
- Put roasted carcass chunks in large stockpot
- Add quartered onion, coarsely chopped carrots and celery, garlic, parsley, bay leaves, thyme, peppercorns and salt to pot
- Fill pot with water to cover all the meat and veggies--around 10 cups (you want about 8 usable cups of stock when you're done)
- Turn pot on high until it boils, skimming off any “scum” that accumulates on top (I’ve not had this problem)
- Reduce heat and simmer uncovered until meat begins falling off bones–about 3 hours
- Pour stock through a large colander into another large pot–we use our cast iron porcelain pot here. Alternatively, you can pour the stock into a large bowl, and then pour it back into the same pot you used for the stock.
- When the chunks in the colander have cooled, separate out the turkey parts and discard the rest
- Pull off the meat and chop coarsely–discard bones and cartilage (optimally I like about 4-6 cups of meat for the soup)
- Combine turkey meat (here you can add some leftover chopped turkey if you don’t think you got enough from the bones), sliced carrots and celery, and chopped onions with stock and return to boil
- Simmer until vegetables are tender, about 45 minutes
- Add cooked wild rice, stir, and serve! (we enjoy serving with crusty sourdough bread or rolls)
- Season with additional salt, pepper, or red pepper flakes as needed, either before serving, or in your individual bowls.
- NOTE: For a super simple shortcut version, take 8 cups of pre-made or store bought turkey or chicken stock, and 6 cups of chopped turkey or chicken, and just add the chopped onion, sliced carrots and celery, and simmer for the 45 minutes before adding the wild rice.
Oh man I would have brought that carcess home EVER TIME if I was at your dinners ?
IV been doin that turkwy soup for 30 years ? But iv never had a wild turkey either ? But now om.gonna get one? I’m a hunter ? Just never pursued one. But there on my property in.mich.
. Shame on you for wasting them but thank god you figured it out?