The day after Thanksgiving I must have a Thanksgiving Leftover Holiday Sandwich with leftover turkey, stuffing, cranberries, and gravy. After fully indulging on Thanksgiving followed by a decadent holiday sandwich the day after, it’s time for some cleaner eating.
I start by making Homemade Turkey Stock (Broth) out of the turkey carcass. It’s surprisingly easy and is the foundational flavor for this turkey mushroom soup.
Packed with vegetables, beans, and leftover turkey meat this soup is delicious and a “cleaner” way to use leftovers. While the soup is not particularly hard to make, it does take some time to make the turkey stock and the soup itself.
What you need
- Time- This soup is not hard to make but it takes some time. I would consider this a weekend recipe, where you might have some time to enjoy the process and the amazing smells that go along with it.
- Mushrooms- This recipe calls for 24 ounces of portabella mushrooms sliced because they have a lot of flavor and are easy to come by. Feel free to try it with white or shitaki mushrooms if that's what you have around.
- Turkey stock- Turkey stock is surprisingly easy to make. It is one of my favorite ways to make the most out of the Thanksgiving celebration. If nothing else, making homemade stock makes your house smell absolutely amazing! See the notes below and this Homemade Turkey Stock (Broth) recipe for more details. If turkey stock is not in the cards for you, try this recipe with store bought chicken stock (see the notes about reducing the salt).
- Chopped turkey meat- As a Thanksgiving leftover dish I use whatever turkey meat is left. This usually turns out to be a mix of white and dark meat. If you want to make a delicious mushroom soup but don’t have fresh roasted turkey meat around, try it with rotisserie chicken.
- Onions, celery, garlic and carrots are the base for so many soups for a good reason. Aromatic and flavorful, they create an important flavor backbone to the soup.
- Canned white beans- I use canned cannellini or northern white beans as they both have a soft texture. Drain and rinse the beans in a colander prior to using.
- Bell pepper and Fresno chilies- Bell peppers add a satisfying crunch and color to the soup. The chilies do not make the soup spicy but adds a little warmth in the background. If you want the soup more spicy, add a half teaspoon of red pepper flakes.
- Herbs and spices- Fresh thyme, fresh oregano, bayleaf, and smoked paprika work really well together with the mushrooms and turkey. If you don’t have fresh herbs use a half teaspoon of dried thyme and dried oregano.
How to make turkey stock
Making your own stock is pretty easy, it just takes time. All you need is an onion, carrot, celery, and a bay leaf. After you’ve stripped the meat off the turkey carcass, place it in a large stockpot. You don’t need to chop the vegetables because they get discarded at the end of the process. Just peel the onion and cut in half, peel the carrots and cut the celery in half so it fits into the stock pot. Cover the contents with water and bring the stock pot to a boil for 20 minutes and then reduce to a gentle summer.
In an ideal world I allow the stock to simmer for 24 hours. Some recipes call for only a few hours but I find simmering overnight allows the maximum amount of flavor to build in the stock. Every once in a while I check to make sure that the liquid is not too low, especially before going to bed for the night. If it is low, I just add a cup of water at a time.
Finally strain the liquid through a fine mesh strainer.
More questions about how to make a delicious stock, and check out this blog post “making your own stock” with more details.
How to make turkey mushroom soup
Saute the vegetables:
Drizzle some olive oil in the bottom of a large soup pot and on medium-high heat sauté your sliced mushrooms. Gently stir every few minutes, until soft and slightly browned about 10 to 12 minutes.
Once the mushrooms are browned and smell delicious, transfer them to a bowl and set aside.
In the same pot, add a little bit more olive oil and the chopped onions with a quarter teaspoon of salt. On low heat, sauté the onions for 20 to 30 minutes.
I know this sounds like an excessive amount of time to sauté onions, but I find the longer the sauté on the onions, the better the soup turns out. The secret ingredient here is time and patience. Because I always save half the soup in the freezer I just think of it as an investment to my future self. Some weeknight when my hair is on fire and I can’t figure out what to make for dinner, I turn to my freezer and find this delicious mushroom turkey soup.
Simmer the soup:
After you’ve let the onions sauté, add the garlic, carrots, and celery and cook for 8-10 minutes. After these vegetables have softened, add the remainder of the ingredients (except the cream). Bring the soup up to boil and then reduce to medium heat. Allow the soup to bubble for a half hour at which point it is time to add the cream. After adding the cream, reduce the heat to low and continue to simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.
If you’re making the soup from homemade stock, I strongly suggest tasting the soup with this point and adjusting the salt content accordingly. The homemade stock has much less sodium in it than store-bought. Depending on how much salt you used when you roast the turkey, or whether or not you have brined the turkey will alter the sodium content in the homemade turkey broth. Because of all of those salt variables, testing and adding more salt as needed is the way to go.
What to serve with mushroom turkey soup
If you’re looking to add some carbohydrates, try a piece of crusty bread or a cup of barley. In terms of garnish, a little freshly grated parmesan cheese and chopped parsley is my favorite. If you like your soup spicy, sprinkle some red pepper flakes on top.
This makes a large batch of soup. I usually save half the batch for a future exhausted and disorganized me. The soup will keep all in the refrigerator, or in the freezer in an airtight container for up to four months.
More great soup recipes:
- Butternut Squash Soup
- Black Bean Soup
- Chickpea Curry Soup with Roasted Cashews
- Chicken & Roasted Tomato Stew
- Moroccan Chicken Thighs Braised with Preserved Lemons, Olives, and Chickpeas
- Lentil Quinoa Jalapeño and Preserved Lemon Soup
Mushroom and Turkey Soup (Thanksgiving Leftovers)
- 3-4 Tbsps olive oil
- 24 oz mushrooms Sliced
- 2 onions chopped
- 2 medium carrots chopped
- 2 stalks of celery chopped
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 2 bell peppers
- 2 Fresno chilies (without the seeds, chopped)
- 1 teaspoon dried/fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon smoke paprika
- 1 bay leaf
- 8 cups Homemade Turkey Stock (Broth) (can sub with chicken stock)
- 1 cup half and half
- 1¼ teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon salt if using store bought chicken stock
- 2 cups shredded turkey meat
- 1 can great northern beans or cannellini beans
Making the stock:
- After you’ve stripped the meat off the turkey carcass, place it in a large stockpot.
- Peel the onion and cut in half, peel the carrots and cut the celery in half so it fits into the stock pot.
- Cover the contents with water and bring the stock pot to a boil for 20 minutes and then reduce to a gentle summer.
- Allow the stock to simmer for 4 to 24 hours.
- If the liquid gets low, I just add a cup of water at a time.
- Finally strain the liquid through a fine mesh strainer.
How to make turkey mushroom soup:
- Drizzle some olive oil in the bottom of a large soup pot and on medium high heat sauté your sliced mushrooms.
- Gently stir every few minutes, until soft and slightly browned about 10 to 12 minutes.
- Once the mushrooms are browned and smell delicious, transfer them to a bowl and set aside.
- In the same pot, add a little bit more olive oil and the chopped onions with a quarter teaspoon of salt.
- On low heat, sauté the onions for 20 to 30 minutes.
- After you’ve let the onions sauté, add the garlic, carrots, and celery and cook for 8-10 minutes.
- After these vegetables have softened, add the remainder of the ingredients (except the cream).
- Bring the soup up to boil and then reduce to a medium heat.
- Allow the soup to bubble for a half hour at which point it is time to add the cream.
- Adding the cream, reduce the heat to low and continue to simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.