COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., December 27, 2013 — If you’ve cooked a turkey for Christmas, the Scrooge in you will want to use every bit of it. Here’s a recipe for smoked turkey and black bean soup that my family has used for many years. It is almost better than the turkey first time around, and certainly better than turkey leftovers.
The key is in the broth.
Pan juices from a smoked turkey
Bones of one smoked turkey
1 to 2 cups each coarse chopped carrots, celery, onion
1 to 2 tsp each thyme, basil, oregano
Many soup recipes start with canned chicken stock or broth. In this case, the broth is made from the turkey. We smoke the turkey a day in advance and then finish it in a roasting pan in the oven. The juices from the pan go into a stock pot and become the basis of the broth. To that, add all the bones of the turkey. Break up some of the bigger pieces. You might need to do that to fit everything into the pot, but it also helps the broth thicken with gelatin from the bones.
Don’t worry about the bits of meat left on the bones; that’s what makes the soup rich and delicious. Add roughly chopped celery, carrots and onion and a teaspoon or two of thyme, oregano and basil. Fill the pot with water, bring it to a boil and let it simmer for hours.
When it is well cooked and the meat is falling off the bone, strain it. From the solids left in the pot, pick the meat off the bones — this is the only tedious part — and save it. Discard the rest. Cool the broth overnight. In the Colorado winter, the deck is a great place to cool it. If it freezes, that’s no problem. The fat will rise to the top and scrapes off the broth easier when the rest is frozen.
After the fat is removed, store the broth in containers of about the serving size you’ll want for making soup. If you save the turkey bits with the broth, it makes smoked turkey and black bean soup. If not, the turkey broth can be used for other soups.
Now for the soup itself.
Smoked Turkey and Black Bean Soup
4 cups of turkey broth (as above)
2 cups broccoli florets
1 16oz can of black beans
8 oz smoked turkey bits
1 Tbsp Worcestershire (optional)
½ tsp hot pepper sauce (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Add all the ingredients above to the broth and simmer until the broccoli is cooked. The broth is likely to be salty already, so taste before adding salt.
Makes about 6 servings. If you make a bigger batch than you will eat in one serving, you can add a little more broccoli the second time around.
Serve with cornbread or whole-grain bread. The soup pairs well with a medium-bodied red wine such as pinot noir or a brown ale.
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