Turkey with Wild Rice Soup

Well, I don’t know about you, but I am absolutely swimming in leftovers after Thanksgiving. Every year I say I will halve all the recipes, but I never do! This year we wound up having a surprise guest when Brandon’s brother called a few days before Thanksgiving asking if he could join us, so it was good that I had planned to make so much. But even with one extra person eating, my fridge is still stuffed with food almost a week later. I decided I needed to get rid of the turkey since that was taking up the most space and this soup was the first thing that came to mind.

This recipe is sort of a combination between a creamy soup and a–I guess I’d call it–brothy soup. It has the stock/broth base with evaporated milk added in which gives it a bit of creaminess, but it never really gets very thick. The rice is what gives the soup more body. I don’t normally even like wild rice, but combined with all the vegetables and turkey, it’s very good in this soup.

I originally made recipe with chicken, but it’s just as good with turkey. In fact, if you use some of your own turkey stock it has even better flavor. It made me realize that I need to start making my own stock more than just once a year. According to Ruhlman, canned broth is total crap and you’re better off using water if you don’t have your own stock. I had no idea! I have made this soup with the canned chicken broth before, but I could definitely taste the difference when using my own stock. It’s much more flavorful!

If you’ve already used up all your turkey or you just want to make this with chicken instead, I would recommend buying two chickens and roasting them at the same time. You can have one chicken for dinner that night and shred the other one and save it for this soup. I usually make this Thyme-roasted chicken recipe. If you don’t want to do a whole chicken you can get 4-6 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts and roast them instead.

Roasting ahead of time makes this about the easiest recipe ever, which is definitely nice after spending two entire days in the kitchen for Thanksgiving. Cook the vegetables and liquids and then throw in the rice and poultry last. It only takes about 30 minutes. The rice and vegetables make this soup very filling and yet it’s low-fat, which is also welcome after eating all that rich food last week.

Turkey with Wild Rice Soup

Turkey (or Chicken) with Wild Rice Soup

adapted from Cooking Light

Dinner, Soup | Servings: 6-8
Prep time: 15 min | Cook time: 40 min | Total time: 55 min

Ingredients

  • 6-8 oz. long-grain and wild rice mix (like Uncle Ben’s)*
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped red onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped carrot
  • 1 red or yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 oz. mushrooms, halved (I omitted these)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp. dried tarragon
  • 2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves or 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry
  • 4 cups (2 cans) fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth**
  • 1 (12 oz.) can fat-free or regular evaporated milk
  • 3 cups shredded roasted turkey or chicken
  • 1/2 tsp. salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper, or to taste

* I think some boxes of wild rice come in 6 oz., but I have a big box of it and I make a 1/2 cup serving which is 8 oz. Also, this recipe is referring to a box mix of Uncle Ben’s (or a comparable brand) that comes pre-seasoned. You can use plain wild rice instead but it will be a bit blander, so I would recommend increasing the salt and pepper as well as adding in some other spices like garlic and onion powder and anything else you enjoy, like paprika, etc.

** Use your own turkey or chicken stock if you can! My turkey stock was a bit overpowering (and greasy), so I used 2 cups turkey stock plus 2 cups water.

Process

  1. Start cooking rice according to package directions. I subbed some of the water for turkey stock to give the rice even more flavor.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, carrot, pepper, garlic and mushrooms. Sauté for 6 minutes or until onion is tender.
  3. Add the flour, tarragon, and thyme into the onion mixture. Cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently.
  4. Pour in the water, sherry, broth, and evaporated milk; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes or until slightly thick.
  5. Add in cooked rice, turkey or chicken and salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.

Note: You can make this ahead of time and reheat but don’t add the rice until you are ready to eat since it will absorb a lot of the liquid. If you have leftovers, you can still reheat it the next day, just add in a bit more water or broth.