With Christmas in full effect and the daily craze of school and work upon us, Thanksgiving, in my mind, feels a bit far away; however, my refrigerator tells a different story. Even though my husband has eaten Thanksgiving for breakfast and lunch for the last 5 days, much turkey remains and frankly, I am just tired of looking at it! It is time for it to go...but not to the trash!
I cringe at the thought of throwing out food since in our home, food costs ALOT! I remember when my brother found out that we were getting a Whole Foods in Jacksonville; he informed me, "You know what we say in Tennessee....Whole Foods-Whole Paycheck!" That's no joke! Eating organic, whole foods free of GMOs, pesticides, allergens, and other mysterious ingredients is not cheap. It can be a very expensive lifestyle...but one with worthwhile benefits for your present health and future!
So...what to do? In the Godfrey house of organized chaos, there is a predictable constant: random vegetables with no particular planned purpose means one of two things.....STIR FRY or SOUP!
So the hunt began...the obvious first was the container of turkey pieces and parts; definitely I was using that in my dinner creation. I found a lonely parsnip and a couple potatoes that didn't make it into the roasted root vegetable dish. Then there were mushrooms, carrots, celery, and herbs I obviously purchased way too much of in hopeful anticipation of having extra guests to join us in giving thanks. Oh, and thanks to my son's most recent perseveration of alphabetizing fruits and vegetables....we have a couple leeks, as he has become fascinated with this wild looking veggie.
OK .... no question about it .... soup it is!
Thing is I have never made turkey soup before. I don't know why, because it sounds like a good, tasty thing to do. And guess what...it is, at least this one is, way beyond good. In fact, for my kids - It was bottom of the bowl drinking fabulous!
Ahh...look how beautiful all these random veggies are together!
Ok, I accept the fact that I may be tad weird...but fresh veggies, these veggies...they make me smile.
So I got out my biggest pot (I have learned that when I make soup, it grows and grows until perfection is achieved!) and began chopping.
Because most of the soup ingredients will go in the pot at the same time, it is best to have all the ingredients ready from the start. You will need the following amounts of chopped veggies:
1 ½ cups peeled carrot
1 cup peeled parsnips
2 cups celery
2 ¼ cups leeks
2 peeled potatoes
2 cups mushrooms
Now the fun begins. Heat (med-high setting) 3 tablespoons of avocado oil in the large pot. Add all of the chopped veggies into the heated oil. Use a wooden spoon to stir the veggies around making sure the oil is evenly spread amongst them. Sprinkle on 1 ½ - 2 teaspoons of sea salt, ½ - 1 teaspoon of black pepper, and ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder. Continue to stir.
Wash and then coarsely chop 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary (just the green leaves). Add it to the sautéing veggies. Continue sautéing for 10-12 minutes.
Pour in 12 cups of organic free range, gluten free chicken broth. (Now, had I had room in my refrigerator, I would have saved the turkey carcass and made BONE BROTH! If you did save it, get busy making that nutritious turkey broth and have it ready before starting this recipe!) Add 3 whole sprigs of thyme (this means woody stem and all leaves in the bunch). Throw in 2 bay leaves and 2 cups of diced turkey meat. Bring the pot to a boil for 10 minutes and then reduce the temperature to med-low. Cover. Now wait and savor the smell of your glorious soup!
At this point the soup looked good but a little incomplete. I felt it needed something dark green. Sighing that I used all my kale at lunch in my smoothie...I had a thought...a smile...grabbed my scissors and headed to the back yard to cut some COLLARD GREENS!
After 20 -30 minutes of soup simmering, I threw in about 5 ripped up collard leaves with the stems removed. You could use Swiss chard or kale, and I think it would still taste fantastic.
Be patient and give the flavors time to merge and evolve.
Now, walk outside. Seriously, do it. Take a few deep breaths. Open the door and walk back in. Breathe in nice and slow....as you inhaled, did your lips curl into a smile? If they did, you worked some magic and that pot will be scrumptious.
Give a little taste test. I did at this point, and although it was really tasty and would please the pickiest of eaters, I felt it was still missing something. I opened the refrigerator hoping to be inspired, and there it was: the container of left-over gravy. Into the pot it went, and the most amazing transformation happened. It was as if all the warmth and joy and love of Thanksgiving reappeared on my taste buds. Yes ... this was the secret ingredient. I added about ¼ cup of water to the pot and tossed on a tiny bit more salt, pepper, and garlic...to taste.
At this point cover the pot and turn the temperature to low until you are ready to eat. Start putting together some yummy rolls or biscuits and enjoy your savory soup!
Freeze the remaining soup, as you made a ton, and treat yourself to this delicious, nutrient-packed meal on a another cold night.