The day after Thanksgiving I always use the leftover carcass to make a soup by chopping it up and throwing it in a stockpot covered with water and aromatics. I’m not picky here, I use whatever I have on hand — parsley, black peppercorns, maybe some onion scraps. The result is a gorgeous turkey stock, which is taken a step or two further into a soup. The now totally overcooked turkey meet gets shredded off the bones and thrown it in a bowl. The stock is strained, and carrots, greens, and turkey make the best leftovers!
It’s not Thanksgiving yet but I was craving a turkey soup — one that warms you up all the way through to your bones and has a healthy amount of greens, too.
Italian Wedding Soup
1 LB ground turkey
1/2 C breadcrumbs, made from day old wheat bread
1/3 C finely grated parmesan
1 parmesan rind
1 TB dried oregano (or 2 TB fresh oregano)
1/2 TSP red chili flakes
1/4 C fresh chopped parsley
1 whole lemon, zested and juiced
6 C chicken or turkey stock
1 bunch of kale or escarole, chopped into bite size pieces
1 onion, small to medium sizes, diced into 1/4” pieces
2 cloves of garlic
Fresh ground pepper
For this recipe you will need two large mixing bowls, a cutting board, a chef’s knife, a 2” cookie dough scooper or two spoons, a microplane, a small mixing bowl, a stockpot or dutch oven, and a 12” sauté or cast iron pan.
Dice the onion and add it to a stockpot or dutch oven with enough olive oil to thinly coat the bottom of the pot. While the onion is cooking over low heat, gather all of your ingredients and a nice cutting board. In one large bowl, crack the egg and whisk it with the oregano, parsley, lemon zest. Then add your breadcrumbs, turkey, parmesan, salt, pepper, and fresh parsley. In the other large bowl, use it to add all of your scraps for composting. Separate the leaves from the stems on your bunch of greens, and finely chop the leaves into bite sized pieces. The stems can go in the compost bowl. Add the kale to your smaller bowl and give it a fresh water rinse so that they are very clean. Once the onion is translucent, add the 6 cups of stock and bring to a rolling boil.
While the stock and onions are heating up, mix together the meatball fixings with a fork. Mix well so that all the ingredients are combined. Start to heat your cast iron or sauté pan and brush with another tablespoon or so of olive oil. As the stockpot is boiling, add some salt to season, the kale greens, and cover for 5 minutes or so over medium heat.
In the hot pan, use two spoons or a 2” cookie dough scooper to the pan and sear the meatballs on all sides. They will be raw inside but firmly formed after 3-5 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the meatballs into the stockpot and lower the heat to low. Add the lemon juice, and taste for seasoning adjusting the salt to taste. After 10 to 15 minutes cooking on low with a cover on, your soup should be filled with soft greens, sweet onion, lightly spicy broth, and perfectly seasoned turkey meatballs.
You can add 1 cup of cooked quinoa or orzo if you like. You can also add carrots once you add the kale. There are many ways to add your own spin on this recipe! What should stay the same is a rich stock, flavorful turkey or chicken meatballs, and a lot of hearty greens.
Serve with a bit of fresh grated parmesan , a small lemon wedge, and a crusty piece of sourdough.