Chances are you have some leftover turkey lying around from last night’s Thanksgiving feast. Amirite? Unless, of course, you’re Canadian like me. In which case your leftovers are long gone from our October celebrations.
Sure, you can get busy shopping for Black Friday deals and stuff all that leftover turkey meat into some sandwiches. Maybe pile on some nice slices of Havarti cheese while you’re at it? I won’t judge!
But in the off chance you want to get back to eating clean and feeling great, this Leftover Turkey Soup with Sweet Potatoes and is just the thing you need. It’s loaded with vegetables, easy to make and super satisfying.
Truth be told, I made this one with leftover roast chicken. But that’s only because our Canadian Turkey Day was a month ago and I’m not really in the habit of roasting 20lbs turkeys on the regular.
Leftover Turkey Soup is ideal for, you guessed it… leftovers! The trick is to shred the meat into long ribbons and add it to the soup at the last minute. This allows for the meat to be quickly reheated and soak up as much of the delicious broth as possible.
The best part of this leftover turkey soup is the fact that it only takes around 30 minutes and is fully customizable. Feel free to use what you have on hand and get creative. You can start everything off by sautéing some bacon, maybe using regular potatoes or squash, and flavour with your favourite fresh or dried herbs. You’re the boss, applesauce.
The most important thing is to follow the technique. First, sauté the aromatic vegetables (carrot, celery, leeks or onions, and garlic). Next, deglaze with stock and/or water (I like to use equal parts). Add whatever starch you’ll be using (sweet potato, potato or squash) and cook until tender. Then add any softer vegetables that don’t take long to cook (such as zucchini) and leafy greens (such as kale). Finally, add your shredded meat and taste for seasoning. Adjust with salt and pepper as required and you’re all set to serve.
By following the above steps, you’ll ensure maximum flavour and texture. For example, if you add the zucchini in with the aromatic vegetables when sautéing it will turn to mush by the time your soup is ready. Likewise, if you skip sautéing the vegetables altogether, you’ll miss out on so much extra flavour!
Leftover Turkey, Sweet Potato and Kale Soup
- 2-3 medium carrots – cut into 1/2” discs
- 2-3 celery stalks - cut into 1/2” discs
- 1 leek - cut into 1/2” slices
- 1 zucchini - cut into 1/4” pieces
- 4 cups kale – finely chopped
- 2 medium sweet potatoes – cut into 1/2” pieces
- 4 cloves garlic – finely chopped
- 2 cooked chicken breasts – shredded into ribbons substitute turkey breast
- 1 tsp dried chili flakes optional
- ¼ tsp dried thyme substitute fresh or dried herb of choice, such as oregano or rosemary
- 2 bays leaves
- ¼ cup fresh parsley – finely chopped for garnish
- kosher salt and black pepper – to taste
- 2-3 tbsp Extra Virgin olive oil EVOO
- 1 litre chicken stock substitute turkey stock
- 1 litre water
- Add EVOO to a stock pot or large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add carrot, celery and leeks. Season with a pinch of salt and sweat until leeks are soft and translucent (approx. 4-6 minutes). Add garlic and chili flakes and cook an additional 60 seconds.
- Add chicken stock, water, sweet potato, thyme and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a steady simmer, cover with a lid and cook until sweet potato is fork tender (approx. 10-12min).
- Add zucchini and kale and cook until zucchini has slightly softened (approx. 3-4 minutes). Add chicken and stir through. Taste for seasoning and adjust salt and pepper as required.
- Remove from heat, finish with parsley and ladle into individual serving bowls. Optional: finish with a drizzle of EVOO and some freshly-cracked black pepper.