Turkey Leftovers Two Ways

Turkey Soup with Cranberry Parsley Pistou and Turkey Salad

I’m a big fan of cooking without a recipe (except when baking). And, when I’m trying to clean out my fridge I can get pretty creative—although not everything is picture-worthy. Yesterday I was anxious to finish up the leftover turkey in my fridge because last year I stuck the turkey in the freezer at the last possible minute and then never used it—and that is just wrong.

So, this year I made two dishes: Turkey Soup with Cranberry Parsley Pistou and Turkey Salad. The turkey soup is pretty standard, but I spiced it up with the Cranberry Parsley Pistou. If you’ve never tried Soupe au Pistou, it is a French vegetable soup from Provence with a dollop of “pistou” which is essentially pesto without the pine nuts. It’s a puree of olive oil, garlic, parmesan and herbs (usually basil). The version of pistou that I’ve made before has tomato paste in it as well. I really like it because it is a great way to jazz up soup, and shouldn’t soup be jazzy? However, my ponytails don’t like jazzy soup (they call anything they don’t like “spicy”) so they will get the plain version. Isn’t that perfect though? An ingredient so special that it is just for the adults?

I should point out that the cranberry in the pistou is VERY subtle. It just adds a hint of sweetness and you see a few tiny specs of red in the soup, but you really have to look for them. I loved being able to use up the left-over cranberry as well!

Now I have put together a recipe for my soup (below), but it is the perfect dish to try without a recipe or to completely change up my version. Consider mine a starting point and go with what you have leftover in your fridge and how much you have of each ingredient. I’ve also made a small portion of the pistou because it is just for the two of us, but you could easily double it if you are serving a crowd.

I’m not going to include a recipe for the turkey salad. I just chopped up the turkey into cubes, added enough low-fat mayo to cover it nicely, then threw in a couple pieces of chopped celery and green onion and a handful of pine nuts and raisins. I’ve never had it with pine nuts and raisins before, but perhaps it is not that original. I quite liked it.

Turkey Soup with Cranberry Parsley Pistou

For the stock:

  • Turkey carcass and bones
  • Onion, quartered
  • 2 whole carrots
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • Small bunch of parsley (whole)
  • Bay leaf

For the soup:

  • 1-1/2 small onions, chopped
  • 3 celery, diced
  • 4 carrots, diced
  • 2 potatoes diced (if you have them – I was out so didn’t use them this time)
  • 3 cups chopped turkey
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 2 cups medium egg noodles
  • 1 cup peas

For the pistou:

  • ½ cup tightly packed flat leaf Italian parsley
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp whole cranberry sauce
  • 1/3 cup finely grated parmesan
  • ½ clove of garlic, minced (add more if you like garlic)

Place the turkey carcass and bones, along with vegetables (onion, carrots, celery, parsley and bay leaf) in a large stock pot and cover with water. I filled mine pretty close to the top of the pot, because I wanted to maximize my soup yield. Simmer for 1.5 to 2 hours.

Strain turkey stock and throw out the carcass, bones and vegetables. Place the lovely strained stock back in your pot and add all remaining ingredients except the peas and egg noodles. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add the peas and egg noodles and cook for 15 more minutes. (You can sauté the vegetables in a bit of olive oil first, but I skipped this step.)

For the Pistou, place the parsley, cranberry, parmesan, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor and puree. Pour in the olive oil with the motor running until the mixture is completely blended.

Ladle your soup into a bowl and add a dollop (or two, pending preference) of pistou. Enjoy.

Here’s a picture of the turkey salad, just waiting for some good bread.