Williamsburg Turkey Soup Redux

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As a young mother, thirty years or so ago I first made a recipe of Williamsburg Turkey Soup, most probably after Thanksgiving. Back then I always did my turkeys on a Weber Grill with soaked pecan shells poured over the coals, essentially creating a lightly smoked turkey. It was a delicious soup then, but when I pulled up the recipe the other day, I was surprised at how pedestrian the recipe looks to me now. Obviously, it was time for me to kick it up a notch. The original recipe is supposed to have come from the colonies and would probably have been done with a wild turkey. And seeing that they probably did hot have half and half back then, was likely made with cream. The rice probably was not white long grain, but an earthier wild or brown rice. Regardless, I made a big pot of wonderful soup and was able to render some extra turkey stock too.

Here is my Redux Version

Part one: Make turkey stock. I roasted a turkey last week and used only the white meat. I then placed the carcass with the dark meat in the smoker and smoked over maple wood for 12 hours. You do not have to smoke your turkey, but it sure makes for great soup and stock. You could also use a store bought smoked turkey for this. After the turkey was sufficiently smoked for flavor, I made the stock.

In a very large pot place chunks of carrot, celery & onions (about 2 cups each) into a pot. You do not need to peel them as they are only adding goodness to the stock. Add 20 (yes 20!) garlic cloves. Toss in a few stalks of  rosemary and thyme and one bay leaf. Place the carcass into the pot. If your pot is not large enough, you can break it apart a bit to fit. Cover with water and place on a LOW simmer for 12 hours. The stock should never be allowed to boil, just simmer.

Remove pot from the heat and allow to cool so that you can handle the turkey to remove meat. You may want to place it on a platter to cool. Remove and reserve the meat. Then filter everything over a large pot using a fine sieve. Pour the stock into containers to cool completely so that the fat will rise to the top. Your leftover veggies can be placed in compost or fed to the dogs in chunks. Discard all of the bones. I ended up with 8 cups of rich dark stock. Some of which was used in the soup. I grabbed all of the garlic cloves and saved them for the soup.

Part Two: The Soup

1 Cup of Butter (yes, you can use olive oil if you want to)
1 Cup of all purpose flour
4 small red onions or 8 shallots finely chopped
4 large carrots, peeled and finely chopped
3 ribs of cellery finely chopped
(note all of this chopping can be done in a food processor)
Reserved garlic from the stock, which can now be smashed and added to the soup
2 cups of fresh corn kernels (if not in season, use frozen)
1 small jar of pimentos (or roast a red pepper and chop)
1 1/2 cups of wild rice/brown rice blend (I use Lindeman’s Brand)
2 teaspoons of salt (I used smoked salt that I smoke while doing the turkey.)
1 tablespoon of fresh cracked pepper
3 quarts of turkey stock
3 sprigs of thyme (leaves pulled from stem)
2 cups of reserved turkey chopped
4 cups of cream or half and half if you are giving your arteries a break

 

  • Melt butter in the bottom of a large sop pot or dutch oven
  • Add flour and stir gently for about 5 minutes to form a light golden roux
  • Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic to roux and sir. Cooking over medium flame for 10-15 minutes, stirring often. The onions should be just starting to brown.
  • Add rice, corn, stock, salt, pepper, thyme, pimentos along with reserved turkey and stir all together. Simmer for about 30 minutes. Taste the rice and be sure that it is cooked through. Add the cream and stir. Cook on low flame till completely heated.  Taste and add more seasoning if you think it needs it.
This makes a huge pot of soup, but it freezes well if you are not feeding a crowd. I like to serve it with a few slices of Hawaiian Chiles on it along with fresh chopped parsley or thyme leaves. However, many people cannot take the heat of the chiles, so you might just want to serve chiles or siracha sauce on the side. It is delicious just as it is. It also might be good with some browned crispy thin slices of jamon or prosciutto on top.

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