I’d thawed a huge turkey carcass with lot of meat on it, planning to make soup. Then, last minute appointment changes meant we’d be leaving early and be gone most of the next day, when I’d planned to cook. The crockpot was the obvious answer, but turned out to be much too small for the carcass and everything else I was planning to put into it. So, thought I, why not bake it in the oven?
I consulted my primary culinary source and excellent cook, my sister Cynthia, who bakes her holiday turkeys overnight and has done so for a couple of decades. They always come out beautifully. Why not adapt this for soup? She advised me to set the controls on 225 degrees, and put it in the oven when I went to bed. If it worked for raw turkey, why not for cooked?
My husband said he hoped the soup would taste like our own holiday meals, so I added his favorite vegetables and my favorite flavor accents. I know you’ll say it’s not the economical way to prepare an economical dish, but Jim and I will get at least eight meals out of it and it was easy and good – and fit our schedule.
So whether you’re in a time crunch with too many ingredients for your crockpot – or you just want to try this out, in general, here’s what I did. Like all soups, each one is individual. The ingredients are dictated by what you’ve got, what you want, how much room you have and how you want it to taste.
Put a turkey carcass in large stockpot with a colander insert.
Add 4 large celery stalks with leaves and 2 quartered onions, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper.
Cover with chicken broth. I used store bought. (You might have to break the turkey breast bone if it sticks way above the rest of the carcass.)
Cover and put in the oven at 225 degrees when you go to bed.
Take out stockpot in the morning and drain insert into another pan. Discard the bones, celery and onions. Add a bit of cornstarch and water to the broth and bring to a boil if you want a thicker soup.
Cut up the turkey and return to the broth in the stockpot.
Add chopped onions, chopped celery, corn and butter beans, fresh or frozen -- or a couple of your own favorite vegetables. Green beans and mushrooms would be good too. (I prepped these veggies the night before.)
My special touch is to add cranberry sauce and smoked oysters. And this is where “to taste” is so important. I added one can of the sauce and then decided it needed another one. Whole berry sauce is especially good
The smoked oysters are a staple of my holiday dressing so I started with two drained cans of those, which I mushed up, and eventually added two more.
Then, depending on your schedule, return to the oven and go about your business, until lunch – or supper. It’ll be ready when you are. Both my grandmother and my mother kept soup simmering for a couple of days and it was always delicious.
This turned out beautifully. I froze some and it was just as good the second time around.