Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Turkey and kale soup

I love soups in the winter!  They're a great way to stretch your protein, and a wonderful way to clean out your fridge of veggies that need to be used.  If I'm rummaging around the fridge, and notice that I have some veggies that need to be used up, I just toss 'em into a pot with some chicken stock, and simmer until done.  Boom!  Healthy, easy, and yummy!  
Every year, after Thanksgiving, I make turkey soup.  I make my turkey stock the exact same way I make my chicken stock.  I toss it all into my pressure cooker, and let it go until the poor turkey bones have given all they have left to give.  When I pull the bones out of the pressure cooker, they easily snap, showing that they have given their all to the stock.
I figure, if you're buying a whole bird, why not use the whole bird?  I usually just buy a turkey breast for our Thanksgiving, since we don't usually have people over, and that is plenty for the three of us in my little family.
This year, however, when I went to grab the turkey breast, I saw that they wanted $23!  For just the breast of the turkey!  I looked over, and saw that they had whole turkeys on sale for $.60 per pound.  I checked, and found a 15 pound turkey for $9!  I mean, come on, that was no contest.  Into my cart went the whole turkey, with visions of Thanksgiving dinner, and turkey and kale soup for the next day.

Here's your grocery list for this one:
1 batch of turkey stock* (again, made the same way as my chicken stock)
About 2 Cups of shredded leftover turkey
1 can of Great Northern beans (or Navy beans)
2 whole carrots, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1/2 of a red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 bunch of kale
1 Tbs dried oregano
3 dried bay leaves
1/2 Tbs garlic powder
Zest and juice of one lemon
Salt to taste

Since this turkey stock is the exact same as my chicken stock, I didn't take pictures step by step to show, but the end result of the stock is really lovely.  The turkey flavor really comes through, and this is a rich, flavorful base for our soup today.  I wanted to make a large batch of soup, so I pulled a quart of frozen chicken stock out of the freezer to add to my turkey stock.
I cut up my carrots, celery and bell pepper into bite sized chunks, and place them in a dry pan, to sweat on the stove, over medium heat, until they start to get just a little bit of a char on them.  I find it adds a nice under layer of flavor to the soup!  This doesn't take long, only a couple of minutes, but I like to do this step.  Also, it lets the veggies begin to soften, so the soup cooks even faster! 

While my veggies are working on the stove top, I go through and shred whatever leftover turkey meat I can put my hands on!  I ended up with about 2 cups of leftover meat to put in!  I open, and rinse my can of beans, and into the waiting stock it goes!  Once the veggies are ready to be added, into the waiting stock they go, too, along with the spices!  I let the veggies and beans cook for about an hour and a half, on medium heat, covered.  If you notice that your soup is starting to reduce, feel free to add some water, but you'll want to turn the heat down on your stove top, and make sure that you keep the cover on.

After an hour and a half, I add in the chopped kale, and leftover turkey, and give it all a good stir in together!  Let this simmer for about 10 minutes, and its ready to serve!  How easy was that?  This soup is chalk full of great veggies and a wonderful way to use up leftovers!  Like I said, this made a big batch, so it fed us supper, and I stored a gallon away in the freezer for a later day!  I love ready made meals! 
Serve this up with some fresh yeast rolls, a thick slice of some fresh bread, or even some cornbread and you have a real treat!