Coming up with what to make for Easter dinner this year was easy for me … even though at this time it’s definitely not easy to find what we may be looking for at our grocery stores right now. Luckily I had a 25 pound turkey in my freezer from the holidays that didn’t get used. Dennis reminded me that we had that turkey if we wanted to maybe make it for Easter. A 25 pound turkey is huge, but figured we’d use leftovers for turkey sandwiches for lunch this week and also for turkey soup on Monday night for dinner.
This turkey was definitely the most simple that I’ve ever made. The seasoning on this turkey was nothing more than butter, kosher salt and pepper – along with chicken broth and white wine poured into the roasting pan for basting throughout the cooking process.
We prefer white meat, so I cut one of the breasts up for our dinner, which left all the dark meat, the breast meat we didn’t eat off the one breast and the entire other breast, which I would use for sandwich meat. For this soup, I used the breast meat that wasn’t consumed from the breast I used for Easter and most of the dark meat. Since the dark meat has more fat than the breast meat, I wanted to use it in my soup for added flavor.
In making the soup, I started by heating 2 tablespoons of olive oil and melting 2 tablespoons of butter into the heating oil in my large Dutch oven.
Once the butter had melted completely, I added carrots, fennel, celery, onion and garlic. (When I cut my fennel, I made sure to save the green, leafy fronds to add to the soup for extra flavor.)
To the vegetables, I added 2 teaspoons kosher salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.
I like to use my fancy little “crinkle cutting device” when cutting carrots for soup. This hand held cutter used to belong to my Grandma and I love using it because it makes me think of her. That, and I feel like I’m eating my soup at a deli in New York City.
Once the carrots, fennel, celery, and onion had cooked for 5 minutes, I added 6 cloves of chopped garlic and let it cook for 45 seconds. I wanted a lot of flavor in this soup, so I added a lot of garlic. It definitely wasn’t overpowering, just very flavorful.
Once the garlic had been mixed into the vegetables and heated through for 45 seconds, I added the chopped turkey.
I also added 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, 1 teaspoon of pepper, 1 tablespoon of poultry seasoning, 1-1/2 teaspoons dried basil, 1 teaspoon dried thyme and a pinch of red pepper flakes. I incorporated the seasonings into the turkey and vegetables before adding my low sodium chicken broth. Once I added the chicken broth, I also added the fronds I had chopped from the fennel.
At this point, after adding the broth, I brought it to a boil, added the cover to the pot, reduced the heat to medium-low and let it simmer for an hour and a half.
Just before serving the soup, I squeezed the juice of a 1/2 lemon onto each bowl of soup, as well as adding chopped parsley for garnish.
Earlier in the day, I brought out my bread maker to make a loaf of wheat bread to go with our dinner. Everyone loved this soup! It was the perfect tasty dinner for a chilly evening.
4 cups of turkey
4 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
5 celery stalks
1 fennel bulb, green fronds included
1/2 white onion, diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
8 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
1-1/2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
3 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
2 teaspoons pepper, divided
pinch of red pepper flakes
fresh parsley, chopped
- Peel and cut carrots. Cut celery and fennel, making sure to keep the fronds from the top of the fennel to add for flavor. Peel and mince garlic. Set all aside.
- Heat oil and melt butter into a large Dutch oven or pot. Add carrots, celery, fennel and onion to the pot, along with 2 teaspoons kosher salt and 1 teaspoon pepper and let cook for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 45 seconds.
- Add the cubed turkey, poultry seasoning, dried basil, dried thyme 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, and the red pepper flakes. Stir and add chicken broth. Bring broth to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and add a cover to your pot. Let simmer for 1 to 1-1/2 hours.
- Garnish each bowl of soup with a squeeze of fresh lemon and fresh parsley.
Until next time, Kris