Leftover, But Not Left Out
Three ways to beat the leftover turkey blahs
To be perfectly honest, the best way to polish off a mountain of Thanksgiving leftovers is by piling them high on a sloppy, succulent sandwich. You know the drill: A slab of bread lined with butter, cranberry sauce, stuffing, turkey ... maybe a dab of gravy for moisture. No shame in that! But, according to the National Turkey Federation, turkey can go south after just three or four days in the fridge. And not a moment too soon: That's just when those kitchen sink sandwiches start to loose their appeal. But wait—don't throw your turkey baby out with the bath water! Extend the life of your leftovers with a simple stock or soup preparation.
In commercial and home kitchens alike, soups and stocks are regarded as an easy, economical way to use up leftover scraps. "Bah humbug!" you say, "After a week of busting my tail for Thanksgiving, the last thing I want to bother with is a complicated recipe or—ugh—more grocery shopping." Hey, I hear you there. But luckily for you, great soups don't require much work. They also rely on stuff you've already got laying around, like "throw-away" scraps, leftovers and pantry staples. And at temperatures of 165º F or higher, reheating your precooked poultry meat will kill off most of the bacteria it's picked up over the past few days in your refrigerator.
We've got two very different turkey soup recipes here that'll really maximize the return on your holiday bird. One is a light, fresh soup to brighten up your late fall. The other is a creamy chowder that's a real comfort on cold nights.
As an added step, you can recycle your leftover turkey carcass (which includes the neck, back, wings and other bony, meat-poor parts) into a stock that's a rich and cost-effective backbone for the two soups you'll find here, and beyond. If you don't want to bother, skip the stock—a canned, low-salt chicken broth will work just fine.