Don’t throw away that turkey carcass! This leftover turkey soup recipe uses the leftover bones and veg for an easy turkey soup. It gets heft and a creamy texture from dried white beans, making this leftover turkey bean soup with kale a hearty meal to feed a crowd.
After the big Thanksgiving meal and the first round of turkey sandwiches, and turkey tetrazzini, you may start to look at that bird with disdain. It’s ok. I understand, but it would be a real shame to just toss that carcass. At the very least, make a turkey stock and freeze it for a spectacular leftover turkey alphabet soup. Or, make a pot of this great northern bean soup using the turkey bones to add body and flavor. In fact, don’t think of it as a leftover turkey soup recipe. It’s a bean soup with kale (and a little bit of turkey).
Ingredients For Great Northern Bean Soup
- Dried Great Northern Beans (or other white beans)
- Turkey Carcass (plus any leftover turkey meat)
- Bay Leaves
- Small Pasta (like pastina or orzo)
- Additional Chicken Broth or Turkey Broth (as needed)
This great northern bean soup is creamy, thick and hearty, thanks to the simmered beans. I like to soak the beans overnight, but you can also use the quick soak method if you didn’t plan ahead. After the beans have cooked til they’re just tender, add in the vegetables and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in any leftover turkey meat and the pasta and chopped kale and cook a little longer, or until the pasta is cooked and the kale has wilted.
Doesn’t this bean soup with kale look hearty? Believe me, it is. One bowl, with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and a little parsley is a meal unto itself.
This leftover turkey soup recipe is so rich and satisfying it bridges the gap between the indulgence of Thanksgiving and getting back into a normal eating habit. And after this weekend of sheer indulgence, we can all use a little “back to normal” food, don’t you think?
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Leftover Turkey Bean Soup with Kale
- 1 pound dried great northern beans or other white bean (navy beans would be good)
- 1 leftover turkey carcass if you have wings or legs, that’s great too.)
- 12 cups water
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- pinch red pepper flakes
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 3 large carrots diced
- 3 large stalks celery diced
- 1 large onion diced
- 2 cups leftover turkey meat
- 1/2 cup pastina or other tiny pasta – like orzo
- 1-2 cups chicken broth as needed
- 5 large leaves curly kale with tough stems removed
- Transfer the beans to a large dutch oven and sort through them removing any bad beans, or pebbles. Cover with cool water and let sit for 8 hours or overnight.
- Drain the beans and add them back to the pot. Add the turkey carcass and any leftover wings that you have. Cover the beans and carcass with 10-12 cups of water.
- Add the bay leaves, oregano, red pepper flakes and garlic and heat to boiling. Reduce heat to a rapid simmer and leave the lid just slightly askew on the pot. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours or until the beans are tender.
- Remove the carcass and any bones. Set the carcass and bones aside to cool.
- Add the carrots, celery, onions. Simmer for 10 minutes.
- When the turkey is cool enough to handle, remove any meat that’s still attached to the turkey. (We don’t usually eat the wings — so there’s meat from that along with the anything off the carcass) It usually adds up to about 2 cups — but if you don’t have that much, it’s ok. The flavor from the turkey will be in the broth.
- Add the turkey meat, pasta and chopped kale. If the soup seems too thick, add additional chicken stock one cup at a time to thin it to your desired consistency.
- Stir in the turkey meat, pasta and kale and simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with grated parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.