Leftover Turkey & Wild Rice Soup transforms your turkey carcass into the most delicious, rich, tasty feel good soup.
This soup was so freaking good. I love me some damn good roast turkey on Thanksgiving day with all of my favorite sides, but I’ve never been much of a fan of using that leftover turkey in a soup. You know what changed? I made this soup just the slightest bit creamy, and it made all the difference in the world.
I started off by making the stock by smashing the turkey carcass in the slow cooker along with all the herbs I used to cook in and your other typical broth ingredients. I did it this way because 1) I didn’t have room in my refrigerator for the leftover turkey and 2) throwing it in the slow cooker was the easiest thing to do after a long two days of cooking.
Once the broth was made, I let it cool and stored it in the freezer. After all that Thanksgiving day eating, along with the abundant leftovers that followed, I wasn’t quite ready to commit to eating turkey soup right away. I saved it for when it was ready. Making the actual soup part only takes a few minutes so its a quick and easy weeknight meal to throw together. For the rice, I even bought pre-cooked wild rice from Trader Joes. They sell boxes with 3 packs of 2 cups each. I didn’t even let it thaw; I just took it out of the freezer and threw it in.
I’ve always made soups like with with broth, meat, veggies, and some sort of starch. Never have I made a creamy gravy out of a roux and milk or heavy cream. Holy cow – that was just what this soup needed! It didn’t make it thick. It just made it rich and delicious. This was by far the best turkey (or chicken, for that matter) soup I have ever made. If you make it using my recipe, let me know!
Leftover Turkey and Wild Rice Soup
Homemade Turkey Stock:
- Turkey carcass with as much or as little meat as you'd like and be sure to include any herbs that you cooked with the bird
- 1 onion quartered
- 2 stalks celery cut into 2 inch pieces
- 2 carrots peeled, cut into 2 inch pieces
- 4 cloves garlic peeled and smashed
- 2 whole bay leaves
- 8 cups turkey stock Use the stock that you prepared along with any shredded meat (8 cups minimum, more if you like)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion diced
- 4-5 stalks celery diced (you want the same onion:celery ratio)
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 6 tablespoons flour
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 4 cups cooked wild rice
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- freshly ground pepper
To make the broth:
- Follow directions to make a damn good roasted turkey. Eat the turkey. After dinner, pick off any meat you want to enjoy with leftovers, but be sure to leave at least a small amount on the bones. Place entire carcass including skin, bones, and any herbs stuffed in the cavity in the largest slow cooker or Instant Pot you have. If it doesn't fit, you can break it down to fit the entire thing in.
- Add onion, celery, carrot, garlic, and bay leaves to the slow cooker or Instant Pot.
- Add as much water as you can, filling it to the highest allowed level.
- Cover and cook on low 10-12 hours in slow cooker (easy to do overnight after Thanksgiving dinner) or on high pressure for 90 minutes in Instant Pot.
- Strain the broth into a container. When cool enough to handle, shred any turkey from the carcass that you can and add to the broth. Cool the broth and the shredded turkey in the refrigerator and use within a couple of days or store in air tight plastic bag or container in the freezer until ready to use.
To make the soup:
- In a large stockpot over medium heat, cook the broth with the shredded meat. If frozen, its okay to put the frozen block in the pot to let it melt.
- Meanwhile, in a separate heavy bottom stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Saute the onion and garlic until golden and fragrant, stirring occasionally, about 5-8 minutes. Add the garlic and allow to cook for 2-3 more minutes. Add cooked onion, celery, and garlic to the hot broth.
- Using the stockpot you used to cook the onions, melt the butter over medium heat and whisk in the flour. Allow to cook until golden brown and fragrant, stirring frequently, about 3-5 minutes. Whisk in the milk and the heavy whipping cream and continue to whisk until until a very thick gravy has formed. Add gravy to soup and whisk until completely mixed and smooth. Add cooked rice. Add salt and pepper, adjusting amounts to taste.