Valerie Phillips
Post-Thanksgiving Turkey Chili

Your kitchen gets a pretty good workout with Thanksgiving dinner, especially by the time you've stuffed and roasted a turkey, boiled and mashed potatoes, prepped veggies, and baked rolls and pies. It would be nice if everyone just forgot about eating for a couple of days afterward.

But the truth is, you and your family will want to eat again on Friday, so you might as well turn those Thanksgiving leftovers into planned-overs.

Here are two easy soups from my cookbook "Soup's On!" (Covenant Communications, $17.99) that use leftover turkey. (On Thanksgiving morning, I will be demonstrating them on KSL-TV's morning news, for those of you who will be up at 5:30 a.m. to get your turkey ready.)

The beauty of these soups is there's a minimum of chopping, peeling or other prep work involved, so you can catch a break from all the work the day before.

In fact, you might want to take advantage of the specials on turkey and buy an extra turkey to roast, just so you can have plenty of leftovers. That's especially true if you've got extended family who also want to take home some turkey.

When Thanksgiving dinner is finished, take a few minutes to pull most of the meat off the turkey carcass and store it in an airtight container. Don't let it sit out on the table where it will get dry and unappetizing.

Then toss the carcass in a stock pot or slow cooker, and cover it with water. Add some of the celery, carrots and onions that you probably have left over from dinner. Let the stock simmer for several hours. Then take the lid off for a few more hours, so a lot of the moisture can evaporate. The condensed broth will be more flavorful.

Then pour the broth through a strainer to catch all the spent bones and meat. What remains is a rich broth with lots of flavor. If you refrigerate it for several hours, the fat will rise to the top, and you can skim that off to cut some calories and fat.

Now you have your broth and your turkey, here are two recipes to use it:


Prep time: 30 minutes

Makes: 6 11/2-cup servings

If you prefer, you can use three roasted, peeled and diced Anaheim chiles instead of canned diced green chiles.

1 tablespoon butter or canola oil

2 cup frozen onions, partially thawed

2 4-ounce cans diced green chiles (or 3 fresh Anaheim chiles, roasted, peeled and diced)

2 cans Rotel tomatoes and chiles (mild, original or hot, depending on your heat preference)

4 cups diced turkey

3 15-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed, or 4 cups cooked beans

3½ cups homemade turkey stock (or 2 14-ounce cans of turkey or chicken broth)

1 tablespoon cumin

2 teaspoons paprika

½ teaspoon (or more to taste) chipotle chile powder, optional

¼ cup fresh chopped cilantro

½ teaspoon sugar

1 envelope turkey gravy mix (optional)

½ cup sour cream

1. Melt butter in a nonstick 4-6-quart stock pot over high heat.

2. Add the butter and onions to the pot and stir, about 2-3 minutes. Add the chiles, tomatoes, turkey, beans, stock, cumin, paprika, cilantro and sugar. Bring to a boil. Add the gravy mix, if using. Lower heat to medium and cook, covered, for 10-15 minutes.

3. Remove from heat. Taste and add salt, if needed.

4. Ladle each serving and top with a heaping spoonful of sour cream to swirl into the soup.

— "Soup's On!" by Valerie Phillips


Prep time: 25 minutes

Makes: about 6 11/2 cup servings

The wild rice mix adds a quick boost of flavor and texture. Don't throw out the leftover drippings from roasting your turkey; add it to the soup for a richer broth. You can also use the carrots and celery left over from your Thanksgiving veggie tray.

1 tablespoon butter or margarine

1 cup celery, sliced (about 2 stalks)

1 cup carrots, sliced (or use about 1½ cup frozen sliced carrots)

1 pound cooked turkey breast, diced (about 2-3 cup)

1 3-ounce package or jar of real bacon pieces (about 3/4 cups)

4-5 cups water

1 14-ounce can chicken broth, or about 2 cups turkey broth

1 6.2-ounce box fast-cooking long-grain and wild rice mix with seasoning packet (such as Uncle Ben's Original)

1. Melt butter in a 4-quart stockpot over low heat while slicing celery and carrots, and dicing the turkey breast into 1/2-inch pieces.

2. Turn heat to high and add vegetables to the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes, until celery is translucent.

3. Add turkey, bacon, and water to the pot. Cover with lid and turn heat to high until mixture comes to a boil, about 3 minutes.

4. Stir in rice mix and seasoning packet. Turn heat down to medium, cover with lid and cook 5 minutes. Turn off heat and allow soup to stand another 5 minutes before serving.

— "Soup's On!" by Valerie Phillips

Valerie Phillips is the former Deseret News food editor. She blogs at Email: [email protected]