Siskiyou Cooks + Chefs: Turkey soup is a hearty leftover dish

Lauri Sturdivant
Siskiyou Cooks + Chefs
Turkey soup is a warm and delicious way to use up the last of your holiday feast.

Traditional Thanksgiving dinner in our house is turkey and all the fixings, dressing, cranberry jelly, mashed potatoes, baked sweet potatoes, roasted Brussel sprouts, mushroom gravy and turkey gravy. If not for leftovers it would be too much work for 20 minutes of eating. Leftovers can be made into turkey tacos, casseroles, sandwiches and soup. I usually make at least one meal that is simply all the dishes heated up. Then it is time for turkey soup.  Plan ahead by saving vegetable bits you aren’t using, like the celery roots, carrot bottoms and onion skins and ends. 

Turkey Stock is made by extracting the flavor and nutrients from turkey bones, vegetables and herbs. To make chicken stock just freeze the bones until you have enough to fill a stock pot. 


Turkey carcass – remove the meat and crack the bones

Onion – chopped including the skin and ends

Carrot – 2 or 3 chopped

Celery  - 4 to 6 stalks chopped 

Rough chop any vegetable scraps you have from you meal prep including onion with skins, celery tops and bottoms, potato skins, Brussel sprout leaves, mushroom stems and carrots

Bay leaves - 3 or 4 leaves

Sage – 6” stalk of fresh or 2 tbsp dried

Rosemary – 2 - 5” stalks or 2 tbsp dried

Directions - Place all ingredients in a stock pot or Dutch oven and cover with water. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. Cook for 4 to 5 hours. Stir occasionally. Turn off the heat and let the stock cool for about 30 to 45 minutes. Pour the stock through a strainer, return to a clean pot and refrigerate. Once the fat gels you can skim it off the top. Taste before adjusting the salt and pepper.

Turkey Soup – This is a basic recipe. Feel free to add any vegetables you like. Kale, cabbage and Brussel sprouts will add a green richness to the soup. Cubed sweet potatoes, acorn or butternut squash add sweetness. Add a teaspoon or two of Chinese five spice and lemon grass for an Asian twist. A can of diced tomatoes and oregano are inspired by Italian flavors. I tossed in the left over gravy into this soup.


1 tbsp oil or turkey fat

Onion – 1 medium chopped 

Celery – 4 stalks chopped 

Carrots – 3 stalks sliced 

Garlic – 3 cloves minces

1 tsp dried or 1 tbsp fresh each – Sage, thyme and rosemary

Vermicelli noodle or 2 cubed potatoes or 1 cup cooked white, brown or cauliflower rice  

Turkey stock – 8 cups – you can use homemade or  2 boxes of store bought. Chicken broth works, too.   

Turkey – 1 to 2 cups shredded or cubed

Directions - Sauté onions, carrots and celery until translucent. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add turkey stock and bring to a boil. Add your starch and cook until noodles or potatoes are tender or rice is warmed. Turn the burner to low, add the turkey and warm for 20 to 30 minutes. 

Lauri Sturdivant is interested in how our friends and families gather around a table sharing meals and telling stories. In this column she shares recipes and stories from people in Siskiyou County, and restaurant reviews from her travels. Read full interviews, find recipes and reviews at