Leftover Turkey (bone) Soup

So this past New Years I had family in town & we decided we’d do a very late Thanksgiving dinner. What better time to use that 20 pound turkey in the freezer when you have a house FULL of hungry people, right? Except when you don’t cook it while they are all here….ugh! Why didn’t I cook that fully thawed turkey?!?!

The day everyone left I started looking for recipes that I could use some leftover turkey with. I stumbled across a couple recipes that made me realize I also had another leftover part of the turkey I needed to use up as well, the bones! I could cook up the turkey bones like I do with chicken when I make broth & it would make taking the last bit of meat off ever so easy too. I split the bones up in 2 (sorta) equal piles (one pile of the big bones & another of the smaller) & froze the bigger bones for another recipe I found I really would like to try – called for the bigger bones because you cook  them with the rest of the food & can’t strain out the small bits. But more about that recipe for another time/post, hopefully!

So, this recipe is in 2 parts, but in order to make this post brief, I’ll just say the first part of the process is like making homemade chicken broth. Except instead of simmering the bones for 8 hours, only simmer for 2 or 3 hours. One of the recipes I looked to for suggestions talked about only boiling/simmering for an hour, it’s whatever you feel & what your time constraints are. Once you are done simmering your bones & the rest of the meat has fallen off, remove the bones & meat. Chop or shred the meat, setting aside for the soup. Toss the bones. Strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer into a clean soup pot

Now for the second part of the recipe (including the ingredients list)


  • ½ turkey bones (or all the bones if you have a pot large enough or don’t have any other recipe that you could use them in)
  • 4 quarts water
  • 6 small potatoes, diced
  • 4 large carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1½ cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 (28 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 box uncooked barley
  • 3 tablespoons fresh minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ground flax seed
  • 3 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (more or less to taste)
  • 3 teaspoons salt (more or less to taste)
  • 2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper (more or less to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme


Add the chopped turkey to the strained broth; bring the to a boil, reduce heat, and stir in the potatoes, carrots, celery, onion, cabbage, tomatoes, barley, Worcestershire sauce, salt, parsley, basil, bay leaf, black pepper, paprika, poultry seasoning, and thyme. Simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 1 more hour. Or you could just let it simmer on low for several hours.


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