Creamy Smoked Turkey & Wild Rice Soup Recipe

What to do with leftover turkey: Creamy Smoked Turkey and Wild Rice Soup

What to do with leftover turkey: My husband’s Creamy Smoked Turkey and Wild Rice Soup

Every Thanksgiving weekend, on the first or second day after Thanksgiving, my husband makes us one of my most favorite recipes of the year: Smoked Turkey & Wild Rice Soup. Truth to tell, a huge part of WHY I love it,  is that HE makes it. By that time, I am SOOO burnt out on cooking, I’d really rather not do it again for at least a week. But the other part of why I love it is because it is so dang delicious!!!

Yes, that saintly man of mine takes on the job of cleaning off the turkey carcass himself, on the day after Thanksgiving, God bless him! It’s one of the jobs I hate the most! He cuts the leftover meat up, dividing it into two zip locks: one for dark meat, and one for light, so that people can find what they want for sandwiches, easily, without fingering every piece of meat.

He then uses the carcass in my recipe for Chicken Stock to make the delicious broth for the soup. He submerges the turkey carcass all the way in a big stock pot. If you don’t have a stockpot that is tall enough for your turkey carcass, you can cut your carcass in half, and hopefully then you can submerge it in the deepest pot you have. The idea here is to simmer and simmer it, till the cows come home, or until all that liquid that you needed to cover the turkey carcass is reduced to where the stock is no longer watery, but rather makes a nice, flavorful stock. You can judge that by tasting it. 

You will almost certainly make more turkey stock than you can use in this soup, which only calls for 2 qts. of stock. Freeze the rest, and use it, just as you would any delicious homemade chicken stock. My husband usually makes the stock on Friday, following Thanksgiving, and chills it overnight. That way we can skim any fat off the top, which rises to the top, before we use it in the soup, which he makes on Saturday. (You can make the soup the same day, though, if you’d like to.)

As I write this post, I’m going to tell you how you can make it HIS way, which will be the MOST flavorful, rich tasting way, and how you can still make this soup, using a few alternate steps, should you need them, due to lacking time, or an ingredient component that I have access to, due to the way we brine and grill/smoke our turkey.

Alternate Step #1 for Creamy Smoked Turkey & Wild Rice Soup:

You can still make this soup using store bought chicken stock. It may not be quite as good, but it will still be good. For the recipe, you’ll need 2 qts. of chicken stock. 

My husband would tell you that the NEXT step, is to get your Mess In Place. That’s what he calls his Mise En Place, and I have to say, he does a better job of his than I do of mine. He is, even, inspirational to me, when I get right down to it. See what I mean?

What to do with leftover turkey: Creamy Smoked Turkey and Wild Rice Soup

Lindsey’s “Mess in Place” aka Mise En Place for his Creamy Smoked Turkey and Wild Rice Soup. It’s a thing of beauty.

Once you get your carrots, onions, green onions, rosemary and black pepper all prepped, you begin browning those ingredients in the pot. I always add the garlic in for the last minute of that browning process, because garlic tends to burn faster. 

What to do with leftover turkey: Creamy Smoked Turkey and Wild Rice Soup

Browning stuff in the pot. This is when things start smelling good.

Then you stir in the stock, and scrape up any bits that have browned on the bottom of the pan. Then you add the smoked turkey, and the wild rice, and simmer it for about an hour and 15 minutes. Be sure that it’s WILD RICE. Regular rice won’t need to cook as long. If your turkey isn’t smoked, that’s OK. Regular roasted turkey will work just fine.

Alternate Step #2 for Creamy Smoked Turkey & Wild Rice Soup:

This is also where (if you have it) you get to add your flavor bomb. If you’ve brined and smoked your turkey, AND (and here’s the critical part) if you’ve saved your salty smoky turkey drippings, you’ve got liquid gold Flavor Town! If your drippings are like mine, they’re super salty. On Thanksgiving, I pour them into a fat separator, and use them to make gravy. But it doesn’t take much more than a tablespoon or two for the gravy. So, I save what’s leftover in the fat separator for the soup. And again, it only takes a tablespoon full or two. But it adds smoky, salty flavor to your soup. So add a tablespoonful and stir. And taste it. And if your broth can take another tablespoonful, then add some more. And remember, if the flavor seems too strongly salty, you’ll be smoothing it out as you add in your milk/half & half, later. 

What to do with leftover turkey: Creamy Smoked Turkey and Wild Rice Soup

That moment when it’s “All Swim” in the hot tub.

Here’s where we make the Turkey & Wild Rice Soup Creamy. You mix the flour and the milk in a bowl with a whisk, and once it’s smooth, you pour it into the pot, and simmer it over medium heat till it’s thick: about 8 minutes. We made ours a little richer by making it a mixture of milk and Half & Half. Maybe about a cup of Half & Half – replacing a cup of the milk. (But that’s totally optional. You could, for example, use all cream if you really wanted to go over the top in richness. It’s your choice how rich, or how low fat, you’d like to make this creamy soup.) Then add a couple of tablespoonfuls of bourbon (the way my husband makes it) or sherry (the way I make it). Add salt to taste, if it needs any.

What to do with leftover turkey: Creamy Smoked Turkey and Wild Rice Soup

Time to enjoy the fruits of your labors.

And now, for the *official* recipe: 

The Recipe for Creamy Smoked Turkey & Wild Rice Soup

Creamy Smoked Turkey and Wild Rice Soup
What to do with leftover turkey: Creamy Smoked Turkey and Wild Rice Soup is just the ticket. It will help you make good use of that leftover turkey carcass!
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  1. 2 T. butter
  2. 1 c. chopped carrot
  3. 1 c. chopped onion
  4. 1 c. chopped green onion
  5. 1 t. chopped fresh rosemary
  6. 1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
  7. 3 cloves minced garlic
  8. 2 quarts turkey stock (or 2 qts. chicken stock)
  9. 1 or 2 T. brined smoked turkey drippings (if you don't have don't....and it will be fine)
  10. 1 1/2 c. chopped smoked turkey (dark or light: whatever color you prefer)
  11. 1 c. uncooked wild rice
  12. 1/3 c. flour
  13. 2 3/4 c. milk (we made about 1 c. of that milk Half & Half, because we like a richer soup)
  14. 2 T. bourbon (or sherry)
  15. 1/2 t. salt (or to taste)
  1. Melt the butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add carrot and next 4 ingredients (carrot through black pepper. Add minced garlic for last minute). Sauté 8 minutes or until browned. Stir in broth, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Stir in turkey and rice, and turkey drippings, if you have any; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour and 15 minutes or until rice is tender.
  2. Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and milk (or milk and Half & Half mixture) in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add to pan. Cook over medium heat until thick (about 8 minutes), stirring frequently. Stir in bourbon (or sherry) and salt.
  1. The turkey drippings are from the pan that you put in the smoker, below the turkey you hopefully brined and smoked. But if you don't have them, this soup will still be good. Just less smoky and salty in flavor.
Adapted from Cooking Light
Adapted from Cooking Light
That Susan Williams
I would love it if you’d save this recipe, so that you can find it for the next time you smoke a turkey!

What to do with leftover turkey: Creamy Smoked Turkey and Wild Rice Soup #leftoverturkey #turkeysoup #Thanksgiving

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  1. Looks so hearty delicious Susan. Pinned!

  2. Yummy! We did not host Thanksgiving this year so no leftovers which is really a wonderful part of the Holiday. Luckily we have a turkey in the freezer waiting for Christmas and great leftovers uses. I love a turkey soup, and I like your ideas.

  3. This recipe looks delicious. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Would this work with plain, unsmoked turkey?

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