Friday recipe: turkey soup you’ll gobble up

I try to spend at least a little time every day in “thanksgiving.” I have a lot to be thankful for, from my beloved and loving family to my good health to my great job at Des Moines University. Today I’m adding a few more things to the list:

  • I do not have to go to a mall today.
  • I have several good books on my coffee table and Nook and some interesting movies in my Netflix queue – now that’s what I call ingredients for the best Black Friday!
  • We have leftovers in the fridge. Not just any old boring leftovers, mind you – Thanksgiving leftovers.

Which means, like a lot of Americans today, I’m mulling creative ways to use up leftover turkey. What a great “problem” to have! You can find any number of recipes on the Internet; some of my faves come from public health professional and certified health education specialist Elaine Gordon, creator of the healthy recipe site If you’re into comfort food, for example, her turkey tetrazzini with butternut squash sauce should fill the bill (and your belly).

Photo: Julia Ewan, The Washington Post
Photo: Julia Ewan, The Washington Post

Another great option is this turkey soup I found on The Washington Post’s recipe finder. I love the combination of ginger, lemon and mint (which reminds me of yet another thing I’m thankful for – my spouse, who brought my outdoor mint plant indoors when it got cold). You can substitute chicken broth and cooked chicken, use other types of noodles or leave them out entirely. Put it on to simmer while you open Netflix or your Black Friday read.

Turkey soup with ginger, lemon and mint

  • 5 large leeks, root ends and green parts discarded
  • 1-inch piece ginger root
  • 6 to 8 mint leaves
  • 3 to 4 medium peeled and trimmed carrots
  • 6 1/2 cups homemade or store-bought turkey stock or broth
  • 2 cups diced cooked turkey
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1 large lemon)
  • 4 ounces dried udon noodles
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Cut the white parts (only) of the leeks crosswise into 1/4-inch slices (about 3 cups); separate with your fingers and soak them in a bowl of cold water for about 10 minutes, gently swishing once or twice to help dislodge any grit.

Meanwhile, peel the ginger and cut into matchsticks (about 2 tablespoons’ worth). Finely chop the mint leaves. Cut the carrots crosswise into 1/4-inch slices (about 1 1/2 cups).

Heat the roasted turkey stock or low-sodium chicken broth in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring almost to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and cover; cook for 5 minutes, then add the leeks (scooped out of the cold water with your hands or a slotted spoon), carrots and the ginger. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, then add the turkey, lemon juice, udon noodles (breaking them into pieces), salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 4 to 7 minutes or until the turkey is heated through and the noodles are tender. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Add the mint, then divide among individual bowls and serve immediately.

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