Roasting the turkey bones along with aromatic vegetables adds incredible depth of flavor and color to this soup.
Don't let leftover turkey meat or the turkey carcass go to waste when you can make another delicious meal for now or later!
First you make a brown turkey stock to which you then add vegetables, herbs, pasta or rice. The stock can be made and frozen for up to 3 months, then turned into soup at a future date. If you don't have any leftover turkey meat, the soup is still delicious and flavorful with just vegetables, thanks to the brown turkey stock base.
turkey carcass (with any bones, meat, and skin removed)
yellow onions (cut into 8 pieces each)
carrots (cut into 1-inch lengths)
stalks celery (cut into 1-inch lengths)
sprigs fresh thyme
fresh parsley stems
whole black peppercorns
carrot (cut in half lengthwise, then crosswise into 1/4-inch slices)
stalks celery (sliced 1/4 inch thick)
fennel bulb (cored, cut in half and sliced 1/4 inch thick)
leek (cut in half lengthwise, then crosswise into 1/4-inch slices)
green beans (cut into 1-inch lengths)
orzo pasta (uncooked)
zucchini (cut in half lengthwise, then crosswise into 1/4-inch slices)
cubed cooked turkey meat (optional)
salt (to taste)
freshly ground pepper (to taste)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the turkey carcass and bones in a roasting pan and place in the oven. Roast for 45 minutes, then add the onions, carrots, and celery to the pan. Cook until the vegetables and bones begin to brown, 30 to 45 minutes.
Transfer the contents of the roasting pan to a large stock pot. Add cold water to completely cover the bones and bring to a simmer over high heat. Add the bay leaf, thyme sprigs, parsley, and peppercorns; reduce the heat to a setting that will maintain a slow simmer. Cook the stock for 4 hours, adding more water if the level drops below the bones and vegetables. Let cool for 30 minutes, then strain the stock through a colander or sieve, pressing on the solids to extract all the liquid. Discard the contents of the colander. At this point you can continue with the soup recipe, or cool the stock and refrigerate it, covered, for up to 5 days, or freeze it.
Return the stock to a large Dutch oven or 4-quart pot. Add the carrots and cook the soup over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add the celery, fennel, and leeks, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the green beans and orzo pasta, and raise the heat to medium-high. Cook for 5 minutes, then add the cubed turkey and the zucchini. Continue cooking until the pasta and zucchini are tender, about 5 minutes.
Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve hot.