Turkey Soup with Soul

With cautionary concern regarding the size of Thanksgiving gatherings this year in an effort to slow down the raging pandemic, it is likely you have leftover turkey due to fewer guests. Even if you don’t, you can buy “body parts” such as necks, wings, backs and/or gizzards to make an extremely flavorful stock as the base, or “soul” of this soup.

Roasting the parts on high heat browns the meat and imparts a rich golden color to the broth. Another key to the depth of flavor is chopping through the bones to release the marrow. A large meat cleaver comes in handy for this task.

Yes, it will take some time, so block out an afternoon to make it, you won’t be sorry. But using an 8-liter pressure cooker hugely helps in minimizing the overall time.

Turkey Soup with Soul

  • Servings: 12-14
  • Difficulty: moderate
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  • STOCK:
  • 1 leftover turkey carcass, plus enough body parts (such as necks, backs, gizzards) to equal 6 lbs.
  • EVOO, about 3 Tbsp. to rub body parts
  • 1 carrot, washed, unpeeled and chopped into large chunks
  • 1 stalk celery chopped into large chunks
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 Tbsp. peppercorns
  • 1 Tbsp. salt (optional)
  • Parsley stems and leek greens (optional)
  • 6 qts. water
  • SOUP:
  • 3 cups shredded cooked turkey
  • 6 qts. turkey stock
  • 1/4 cup EVOO
  • 4 onions, chopped
  • 6-7 carrots, chopped
  • 7 stalks celery with leaves, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, minced (save the stems for the stock)
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme, bundled with kitchen twine
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 lb. package egg noodles or dumpling noodles


  1. Preheat oven to 450°.
  2. For stock: Place the chopped turkey carcass and parts on a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil over all of the parts and rub them with your hands to distribute.
  3. Roast for 20 minutes. Add the carrot and celery and roast for another 20 minutes until nicely browned.
  4. Place roasted parts in a large 8-quart pressure cooker along with 6 quarts of cold water. Add the bay leaves, peppercorns, and salt. You can also add the optional parsley stems and leek greens. Add water to, and scrape, the baking sheet to loosen any browned bits and add that to the pressure cooker. Bring pot to high pressure (#2) over high heat, reducing the heat to low once pressure is achieved and cook for 45 minutes.
  5. Turn off heat and allow pressure to drop naturally. Transfer contents into a large strainer over a large pot or bowl, pressing on solids with a large spoon or spatula to squeeze out all of the liquid. Discard solids.
  6. If using immediately, allow fat to rise to the surface and skim off as much as you can with a large spoon. Otherwise, refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight, then remove the congealed fat from surface. Stock may be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for 4 to 6 months.
  7. Note: If you do not have a pressure cooker or Instant Pot, increase the amount of water to 8 quarts and use large stockpot. Reduce the amount of liquid in the uncovered pot over a medium-low to low heat until the liquid has reduced about 25%, about 3 hours.
  8. For soup:
  9. In an 8-quart or larger pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and a large pinch of salt and sauté them until they begin to soften, 5-7 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, and garlic with a pinch of salt mixing them well with the onions. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to medium-low in order to sweat the vegetables for about 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally. If vegetables begin to brown, reduce the heat to low and continue cooking.
  10. Once vegetables are very tender, add the thyme, sage, salt, pepper and broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
  11. Add dumpling noodles and cook until tender per package recommendations, then remove soup from heat. Add cooked shredded turkey and parsley.
  12. Serve immediately or cool completely before putting in sealed containers and refrigerating. For added convenience, freeze some of the soup in individual serving-size portions.
  13. Note: If you do not plan to eat the soup immediately, cook the noodles only until they are very al dente, then remove the pot from the heat. The residual heat will finish cooking the noodles while the soup cools.