Homemade Turkey Soup

Homemade Turkey Soup

Did I ever mention I love to make soup? Not only is it comfort food on a cold, winter day, but the process of chopping up the ingredients and building layers of flavor is so much fun to me. Everybody in the pool! It’s so easy to do and it’s hard to mess up.

A day before I made the turkey soup, I put two turkey thighs (on the bone) in my slow cooker, seasoned them, added a little chicken broth (about 1 cup), and cooked them several hours on low. I refrigerated them until I was ready to make the soup the following day. {Save that yucky congealed broth…You’ll add it to the soup.} You can certainly use any leftover turkey you have if you cooked one recently! I’d recommend sticking with the dark meat for more flavor, though.

The wonderful thing about soup is that you add in what you like and leave out what you don’t like! I’ll tell you what I add in mine and you go from there. Let me mention that I prefer my soup a little thicker, or chunkier, rather than with too much broth. (Doesn’t Rachael Ray call that “stoup”?) Simply add more broth or water if you want more broth. Just make sure to keep tasting it to see if you need more seasoning.

Homemade Turkey Soup by Micha
Ingredients:
2 turkey thighs – seasoned, cooked, meat removed from bones, and cut up or shredded
3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
1 large onion (I like to use sweet or yellow)
8 carrots (not the baby carrots) – peeled and chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
12 oz. of fresh green beans, cut up*
2 large cloves of garlic, minced (or grated in with microplane like I do)
2 cartons (32 oz. each) of chicken broth, or turkey broth if you can find it
2-4 cups water, depending on how you like your soup
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. salt-free garlic and herb seasoning
1 tsp. dried parsley
1  1/2 cups uncooked Ditalini pasta
Salt and pepper to taste
*Any other veggies or additions you prefer. I like to add some frozen corn when I add the pasta.

Directions:
1. Grab a big pot and add your oil, heating it over medium to medium-high heat.
2. While that’s heating, chop up your onion and add it to the pot.
3. Chop carrots and add them to the pot. Keep stirring as you add ingredients.
4. Chop up the celery and add it to the pot.
5. Make sure you are stirring the veggies around so they all get coated with the oil and don’t burn.
6. Cut up the fresh green beans and add them in. If you don’t use fresh green beans and use frozen or canned, add them in with the pasta.
7. Add in the minced garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Stir!
8. When your veggies are softened a bit, add in that turkey “broth” that you have leftover from cooking the thighs. If you refrigerated it, it will be like a gelatin consistency. Gross, but adds flavor!
9. Pour in 2 cartons of chicken or turkey broth (total of 64 oz.).
10. Add in a few cups of water depending on how you like your soup. I add in about 2-3 cups, but you can add 4.
11. Bring to a boil.
12. While you are waiting for the boil, add in your shredded or cut up turkey.
13. Add paprika, garlic and herb seasoning, and the parsley.
14. Let simmer for about 30 minutes or more, and then add in about 1  1/2 cups Ditalini pasta (or any small pasta). Now is also when you can add frozen or canned veggies if desired, like some corn. Simmer for about 15 minutes more.
15. Taste the soup and season with salt and pepper to taste.

P.S. My daughter who doesn’t care so much for pasta loves this soup. She says it’s the Ditalini!

I’m about to go have some leftover soup for lunch now! Hope you try it!
Micha

Potato, Leek, & Bacon Soup

Here’s a hearty, comforting, and tasty soup that’s a breeze to make. One of my favorite things to cook is homemade soup because it’s so much fun to chop stuff up and add it to a big pot, let it simmer for a while, and enjoy all those flavors together in one spoonful. It’s a good way to use up leftovers or produce before it goes bad – plus most soup ingredients are inexpensive so you can make a big pot for not a lot of dough. I used to make a potato and leek soup, and I’ve also made a potato and bacon soup. This time I combined the two recipes to suit my taste and this is what I came up with. I choose to leave my soup chunky, but some people like to puree this type of soup. Either way, it’s delicious!

{A little note about using leeks if you have never cooked with them before: They are dirty little things! There is a lot of grit in between those layers. They usually come banded up in a bunch of about 3 stalks and they are very long. Cut off the dark green tops. To clean, slice each stalk down the middle longways and then slice the halves into 1/2 inch slices. Put all of the chopped leeks into a big bowl of water and separate them with your fingers in the water. Move them around in the water bath to clean, remove the slices to a clean towel, and pat to dry. Sounds like a pain to do this step, but it’s not hard and it is necessary.}

Potato, Leek, & Bacon Soup
Ingredients:
3 leeks (dark green part removed), halved, chopped, and cleaned
6 slices bacon, cooked until crispy and set aside
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon bacon drippings + 1 tablespoon butter
4 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
6 cups chicken broth
1 dried bay leaf
Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Cook bacon in a large pot until crispy. Set aside and reserve 1 tablespoon of the bacon drippings in the pot.
2. Add 1 tablespoon butter to the pot with the bacon drippings and saute the chopped leeks with the minced garlic over medium heat until soft. Stir occasionally.
3. While the leeks are in the pot, peel and cube your potatoes. Add them to the pot as you are cutting. Salt and pepper the potatoes and leeks to taste.
4. Add the chicken broth and 1 dried bay leaf. Stir to combine.
5. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down to simmer for at least 30 minutes, but you can cook longer if you wish. The potatoes will break down and make the soup thicker the longer you simmer it.
6. Remove the bay leaf. Taste the soup and season with s&p if needed. I like to use a lot of fresh ground pepper in my soups!
7. If you prefer, you can puree the soup at this point, but I don’t.
8. Chop up the crispy bacon into small pieces and add it to the soup. (I leave out any stringy or fatty pieces that didn’t crisp up.)
9. Enjoy!

Spicy Beef with Potatoes

You’d think I could have come up with a more creative name for this dish, but no. I kind of dropped the ball in that department. However, there’s a lot of flavor in there and in no way is it boring! If you can think of a better name to jazz it up, I’m open to suggestions. This was one of those dishes that came together when I had no plan and not a lot of ingredient options, but I wanted something spicy. It’s just good ol’ comfort food with a little kick that comes from the chipotle chile in adobo. I’ve made it several times now and luckily wrote my recipe down after I made it the first time. (Psst…This is another tasty addition for a Cinco de Mayo feast!)

Spicy Beef with Potatoes (until we can think of a better name!)
Ingredients:
1 lb. ground beef (you can substitute ground turkey)
1 teaspoon cumin
3-4 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup (+ more if needed) chicken broth
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
salt & pepper, to taste
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, seeded and chopped (see note in instructions)
1 teaspoon dried cilantro (or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro added in at the end)
1 – 15oz. can cut green beans, or 15 oz. fresh or frozen green beans (see note in instructions)
1 tablespoon green onion, chopped

Instructions:
1. Brown ground beef (or ground turkey) over medium high heat in a deep skillet and season with salt and pepper. Drain off excess fat.
2. Add 1 teaspoon cumin and stir into the beef to combine.
3. Add 3-4 tablespoons of tomato paste (enough to coat the meat). I like to buy the tomato paste in the tube. Keeps for a long time in the fridge and you don’t waste any like you sometimes do with the little cans.
4. Add in the 1 cup of chicken broth* and the peeled and cubed potatoes. Season the potatoes with a little salt.
5. Add in the chopped up & seeded chile in adobo. You buy these in the international section of your grocery store and they come in a can, usually marked Chipotle Chiles in Adobo Sauce. They pack a good punch so you only need one. If you like a LOT of heat, you can add another one. Just don’t add the whole can! Take a little bit of the sauce with it when you add it to your beef mixture.
6. If you are using dried cilantro, add it in now. Wait until the end for fresh cilantro. If you are using fresh or frozen green beans, add them now. Stir everything to combine well.
7. Cover and simmer over low to medium heat until the potatoes are tender and mixture has thickened up. If you are using canned green beans, add them about halfway through the cooking time. (I really don’t care for canned veggies but for some reason canned green beans taste good to me in soups and stews like this. Don’t judge. I usually keep a can on hand for times when I throw stuff together…)
*Stir occasionally throughout cooking time and add in little splashes of chicken broth as needed. You don’t want the mixture to dry out and the potatoes need moisture to cook. However, you don’t want it to be runny when it’s finished.
8. When it’s ready, add the chopped green onions and fresh cilantro.

So does this sound good to you? Or am I alone in my love for this spicy dish with a boring name? You’ll let me know I’m sure. 🙂