Quick and Easy Spicy Leftover Turkey Soup

Every year after the holidays are over, we all end up with lots of leftover turkey. Lots and lots of it.  I’ve made a lot of the “standard” leftover turkey soup, with potatoes and carrots and broccoli.  This time I wanted something with more zip.  I had some turkey (naturally), some tomatoes, lime, and of course spices, so I decided to go for a south of the border flavor.  So, spicy leftover turkey soup was born.

Ironically, a friend (who translates books from English to Spanish) once told me there are no turkeys in South America, which made her job rather difficult when she had to translate some turkey recipes.

I suppose that makes this not strictly authentic Mexican food.  Authentic or not, the tangy lime, the spicy cayenne, and the cool sour cream make the soup flavorful, rich, and satisfying.



Quick and Easy Spicy Leftover Turkey Soup

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes

Category: soup

Cuisine: American

three servings

Quick and Easy Spicy Leftover Turkey Soup

A great way to use up leftover turkey after the holidays. This isn't your usual leftover turkey soup. It's got lime, cayenne, and sour cream for a south of the border flavor.

Ingredients

  • 2 T vegetable oil, or enough to cover the bottom of a medium saucepan
  • 1 small onion, chopped (or about a quarter of a large one)
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 C beans
  • 1/2 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne powder
  • 1 1/4 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 juice lime
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 C water
  • 1/4 turkey carcass (if it's not after Thanksgiving, use a turkey thigh)
    Garnish
  • 1/4C mild shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 T sour cream or Greek yogurt

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a medium size saucepan.
  2. Add the onions and saute for a few minutes until slightly softened.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for a minute.
  4. Once that's softened, add the remaining ingredients (except for the toppings).  Simmer one hour and then remove the turkey carcass.  Let it cool for a minute or two (so you can handle it).  Pick off any remaining meat and discard the bones.
  5. Pour into a bowl and top with sour cream (or Greek yogurt) and cheese.
  6. This makes about three or four servings, depending how hungry you are. Eat one and freeze the rest in individual containers.

Quick and Easy Spicy Leftover Turkey Soup Substitutions and Variations

Since recipes are often meant to be guidelines, and since we don’t always have the exact ingredients handy, here are some substitutions:

  • If you don’t have a turkey carcass, use turkey thighs, depending on size, one or two should do it.
  • I used navy beans for the soup, you could use white kidney beans or pinto beans
  • Replace the diced tomatoes with 1/2 C peeled tomatoes (and smush them up)
  • Add a handful of frozen corn
  • Top with crumbled tortilla chips, or cut up some tortillas, fry them, and sprinkle them on top of the soup for extra crunch.

More Turkey Recipes

Cranberry Chipotle Turkey Enchilada

Sweet and Sour Turkey Meatballs

Easy Leftover Turkey Soup Recipe




Easy Leftover Turkey Soup Recipe

This easy leftover turkey soup recipe is great for a chilly spring or fall day.

It’s also a good way to use up cooked turkey after a holiday (just add the turkey during the final cooking stage).

Note: You’ll need a Dutch oven for this (since the pot has to go first on the stove, and then in the oven). If you don’t have one, use a soup pot and make the whole thing on the stove.

If you don’t have any leftover turkey handy,  use turkey thighs instead.

I had seen some boneless turkey thighs in the store, and bought them without really having a plan in mind for what to do with them.

I went searching on the internet for turkey soup and found a recipe for turkey stew, but that wasn’t quite what I wanted.  Plus, I didn’t have all the ingredients (since I hadn’t known I was going to make it!)

The original recipe called for celery,  turnips, and rutabaga (I’ve never met a rutabaga), none of which I had on hand.

So, I figured I would improvise and use what I did have to make soup.

A quick look in the pantry and fridge, turned up some potatoes, plus the turkey, a package of frozen veggies, and an open bottle of Riesling.  The original recipe also called for Herbs de Provence, which I didn’t have either, so I threw together some basil, tarragon, and thyme.



It came out really well! And, as a bonus, it warmed up my apartment beautifully.

This is a small batch recipe, and makes about 4-6 portions. Eat one and freeze the rest. Or, keep eating it all week (so you don’t have to cook again).

If you still need to use up more leftover turkey, or want a different flavor, check out this spicy turkey soup recipe.

Easy Leftover Turkey Soup Recipe

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes

Category: soup

Cuisine: American

6 portions

Easy Leftover Turkey Soup Recipe

Leftover Turkey Soup Recipe (a big batch)

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 lbs turkey thighs (or leftover turkey)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 quart chicken broth (you can replace some of this with white wine, which is what I did)
  • 2-3 cups mixed frozen vegetables (I used broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower)
  • 3 medium potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 1 teaspoon dried herbs (thyme, basil, and tarragon)
  • freshly ground pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F.
  2. Cut the turkey thighs (I used boneless), into smaller pieces and sprinkle them with salt.
  3. Brown the pieces gently in the oil. Once they've browned, remove them from the pan and set aside. Add the onions, and cook on low heat for about five minutes or so, until they become translucent. Then put the turkey back in the pot.
  4. Add the salt to the pot, half of the chicken broth, and the wine (if using). Bring the mixture to a simmer. Once it's hot, cover it, and transfer the pot to the oven. Cook it for an hour and 15 minutes.
  5. Remove the pot from the oven, and add the potatoes, the dried herbs, and the remaining chicken stock.
  6. Note: If you're using leftover, cooked turkey add it to the pot now.
  7. Put the pot back in the oven and cook another 30 minutes or so.
  8. Add the frozen veggies, and cook another 15 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
  9. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

More Delicious Soup Recipes


New England Soup Factory Cookbook

One bowl = dinner! There’s chicken tortellini soup, Caribbean chicken (with lime and habanero sauce), and chicken and butternut squash. Not to mention the eggplant parmesan soup.

500 Soups: The Only Soup Compendium You’ll Ever Need

Chicken noodle, spiced lentil, chickpea and chorizo, plus 497 other options. The clear instructions give you the option of making your own broth or stock from scratch, or using bullion or store-bought stock.
The Daily Soup Cookbook

Sadly, the Daily Soup is gone, but you can still feast on their Yucatan Chicken Lime soup, chicken barley, and Moroccan chicken curry. If you want to venture beyond chicken, there’s always Lamb, Rosemary, and Artichoke stew.

Williams-Sonoma Collection: Soup

Chicken noodle soup, chicken soup with tortillas and avocado, and my favorite kind of non-chicken soup: french onion. There’s a famous story in our family about onion soup. The first time my brother and I tried it at a restaurant we each demanded a full bowl. Mom said we could have it— after dinner. So, we had soup for dessert. Two bowls.

Small Batch Soup Recipes

Quick and Easy Spicy Leftover Turkey Soup

Pasta e Fagioli Soup (Small Batch)

Lentil Bean Sausage Soup




Spinach and Feta Cheese Omelette

This spinach and feta cheese omelette has salty feta, tender spinach, and a mild oniony bite from scallions.  I had a craving for spanakopitas (spinach and feta triangles, wrapped in phyllo dough), but unfortunately, I had no phyllo dough handy.

I suppose I could have gone out to get some, but believe me, when you have to go up and down (or maybe down and up) all those steps, all 56 of them, you think twice before running out to the store for just one ingredient!

So, I decided to improvise.  While I didn’t have phyllo dough, I did have the other ingredients, and plenty of eggs.

I figured with the eggs, the spinach, some feta cheese, some scallions, and a little creativity, I could get a similar flavor in an omelette without any phyllo dough. It was delicious!  And, I admit it was also a lot easier to prepare than spanikopitas!  The spanakopitas take quite a bit of time and effort to make (all that dough rolling). Unlike spanakopitas, this spinach and feta cheese omelette is ready in about fifteen minutes, which is much faster (and easier) gratification!

You can make it for breakfast on a weekday (since it doesn’t take long to prepare), or have it for a weekend brunch or quick lunch.  Just add some fruit or a chunk of crusty bread.




Spinach and Feta Cheese Omelette

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Category: lunch

Cuisine: Continental

one serving

Spinach and Feta Cheese Omelette

spinach and feta omelette for one person

Ingredients

  • 1 T olive oil (or enough to coat the bottom of a small skillet)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp water
  • 1/4 C chopped spinach
  • salt and pepper to taste (the feta is salty, so you might want to use a bit less than usual)
  • 1/4 C feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 tsp dill
  • 1/2 scallion, chopped, plus extra for garnish

Instructions

  1. Crack the eggs into a small bowl and add the water. Beat the egg and water mixture thoroughly.
  2. Heat the oil in a small skillet on medium heat.
  3. Add the eggs to the pan and add salt and pepper. Hold the pan over the heat and move it forward and backward (towards you and then away from you).
  4. Meanwhile, take a fork in your other hand and use it to swirl the eggs gently in a circular motion. Keep the fork flat, and don't scrape it against the bottom of the pan. This will add layers to the omelette and keep it from sticking to the pan.
  5. Let the omelette cook for a minute, until it sets along the outside. You'll be able to move it around the pan in one piece, but the top will still be liquid.
  6. When the eggs are set on the bottom, but not yet cooked through, add the rest of the ingredients on one side of the omelette. Let cook for a minute or two.
  7. Hold the pan in one hand, at an angle of about 45 degrees. Gently roll the empty side of the omelette with your fork, pushing it over to the side with the spinach filling. The end result will be a half-moon shape.
  8. Turn the omelette onto a plate and garnish with scallions.

Omelette Cooking Tips

Omelette making can seem a bit intimidating, but it’s not that hard to master.  And, while you’re practicing, you still get to eat the results (even if they don’t look perfect, they will still taste good).

I’ve explained this in more detail in the recipe, but the idea is to coat the pan with the oil first. There’s a lot of talk about using seasoned cast iron pans, but an ordinary frying pan is just fine. Then add the eggs, and tilt the pan to spread the egg mixture evenly over the bottom. Use a fork (or a spatula) to move the uncooked (and still liquid) eggs around in the pan.  Then, once the edges firm up (and are no longer liquid), add the filling on one side.  Flip the empty half over the filling, cook it, and then slide (or flip) the omelette onto your plate.

Since it’s a bit easier  to explain omelette preparation with video and pictures, rather than words (and because I can’t hold the pan, the fork, and the camera all at once), here’s a video from the BBC that demonstrates the basic technique for making a plain omelette.

More Single Serving Egg and Spinach Recipes

Egg Chili Cheese Burrito Recipe

Frittata Recipe for One Person

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Balsamic Dressing and Feta Cheese

Spinach and Egg Frittata for One Person