This recipe isn’t just for Thanksgiving leftovers, although it does make good use of them in a completely non-Thanksgiving way. I made stock from my leftover turkey carcass and then used that stock and some new turkey breasts (which were on sale) for the soup. It’s quick and healthy and makes for a delicious winter dinner. I found this one in an old issue of Eating Well, but the directions were gone, so I had to make that up, plus I added some cannellini beans to give a little more heft to the dish. I love soup, but sometimes it just doesn’t feel like enough of a meal, even with bread, so I like to add beans or a grain to make it feel more satisfying.
About 45 minutes, 30 or so of that active time
2 tbsp olive oil
2 leeks, dark green leaves cut away, rinsed and chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups stock, turkey or chicken
1 1/2 lb butternut squash (1 small to medium), peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves or 2 tsp dried thyme
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 lb turkey cutlets, cut into 1/2 by 2 inch strips (or 1 lb of leftover cooked turkey, cut into the same sizes)
2 cups frozen corn kernels
2 cups cooked cannellini beans
2 tbsp fresh lemon or lime juice
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
sea salt & pepper to taste
Heat oil in a Dutch oven or large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add leeks and bell pepper and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring for 1 minute or so.
Add stock, squash cubes, thyme, cumin, raw turkey (if using cooked turkey, it goes in later), 1 tsp sea salt and 1/4 freshly ground pepper . Combine, bring to a boil then adjust heat to a simmer and cook about 20-25 minutes or just until the squash is just tender and turkey is cooked. You don’t want to over cook the squash or it’ll get too mushy, so begin checking it after about 15 minutes.
When squash and turkey are just cooked, stir in the corn kernels and beans (if using cooked turkey, add it here). Combine and then bring back to a simmer. Stir in the lemon or lime juice, taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Serve with nice bread or corn bread.