Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Turkey Soup with Lime and Chile, aka The BEST Use of Leftover Turkey


So after slaving away for hours trying to create a memorable and fantastic Thanksgiving dinner, I cooked, served, cleaned and swore I would never ever do it again (I swear, cooking Thanksgiving dinner is like giving birth... you never remember how crazy hard it is.  Good thing, I suppose.)

But then I came across this soup for the leftover turkey meat.  It is so clean and bright with the lime and jalepenos and cilantro that it doesn't seem like leftovers at all.  It is as if David Tanis from the NY Times waltzed into my tiny kitchen and gave me a reason for making turkey at all.

I kind of wish I could just serve this for the big day instead of a ginormous bird.   

Time: About 1 hour 


2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced carrot
1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
1/2 teaspoon coriander seed
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 cinnamon stick, 2 inches long
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
8 cups unsalted turkey or chicken broth
Vegetable oil for frying (if you don't use premade tortilla chips)
4 corn tortillas, at least a day old, cut in 1/2-inch strips (OR TORTILLA CHIPS...Good quality!)
4 to 6 cups cooked turkey meat, shredded
1 or 2 firm-ripe avocados
6 scallions, chopped
2 jalapeños, thinly sliced
1 small bunch cilantro, leaves and tender stems, roughly chopped
Lime wedges.


1. Heat vegetable oil in a heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and carrot and let soften, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.
2. Toast the cumin, coriander and peppercorns in a small dry skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 1 minute, then grind in a spice mill or mortar (or dedicated coffee grinder.) Add the ground spices to the pot, along with the garlic, cinnamon, a pinch of cayenne and salt.
3. Add the broth and bring to a boil, then reduce to a brisk simmer. Cook for 15 minutes, then taste for salt and adjust. Keep hot, covered, over very low heat.
4. If you aren't using premade tortilla chips, pour vegetable oil to a depth of 1/2 inch into a wide skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot and looks wavy, add the tortilla strips and fry until barely colored, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove with tongs and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle lightly with salt. (The oil may be strained and saved for future frying.)
5. In a medium saucepan, heat the shredded turkey meat with a little of the hot soup. Divide the meat among 4 to 6 soup bowls and add a few slices of avocado to each. Ladle about 1 cup soup into each bowl, then garnish with tortilla strips, scallions, jalapeño slices, chopped cilantro and a generous squeeze of lime juice.
Yield: 4 to 6 large servings.

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