It's New Year's Eve and so this is the last soup of the year! I make turkey scotch broth after every christmas turkey and I might change a small thing or two but this is my family's favourite turkey soup so I don't like to mess with it too much. Some years I will keep a bit of broth and set it aside for a nice little pot of sopa de lima later on but it has become custom to make this every year. Scotch broth is a traditional Scottish soup that is typically made with lamb or even beef but we like it with turkey because it's a much milder flavoured soup and we all really love turkey. Well, I like lamb but Shack doesn't because he is a bad, bad scottishish person.
Clearly, to make this soup, you need a turkey carcass so unless you roast this big bird all through the year, this is going to be something you make after thanksgiving or christmas. Sometimes I will freeze the carcass and make it later on but for some reason, I generally feel compelled to make the stock the day of or the day after roasting a turkey. If you usually throw your turkey carcass out, SHAME ON YOU! It makes the most delicious stock for soup that it's a crime to not use it up with a buck or two worth of vegetables even if you don't want to use it for soup immediately.
Okay, to make the soup stock, you need a turkey carcass. Try to break the carcass up into smaller pieces so that it's easier to fit into the pot and I think you get more flavour out of the bones as well. That could be hogwash but it's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Put that carcass into a big enough stock pot to comfortably hold the carcass, some veggies and be totally submerged. Then cover the bones with water completely. For a large turkey carcass (at least a 16lb+) I use my big lobster pot and add:
3 large carrots, cut into thirds - you can waste your energy chopping them up nicely but it's going to cook for hours and get thrown out so I don't bother
2 onions, quartered, skin and all - I never peel the onions when I am making stock because I remember hearing that the skins add flavour, much like breaking up the bones, my story and I'm sticking to that one too
1 or 2 cloves of garlic - if you don't like garlic, don't add any
3 stalks of celery, cut into thirds like the carrots
Sometimes I will add fresh herbs at this point but I generally don't do that until i have made the stock, strained it, cooled it, skimmed off the fat and get to the actual soup making stage.
So, you just bring all of that to a boil and simmer for at least 2 or 3 hours. I just keep tasting it as it cooks down until it gets to a stage where the flavour is there and that generally takes at least a couple of hours.
When the stock is done, take it off the heat and let it cool for about half an hour. I then start taking out all the big bones and chunks of turkey matter. Discard all clean bones and keep all the other stuff in a big bowl. When the bulk of the innards are out, I strain the stock into another, smaller stock pot. Let those innards cool well enough to handle so that you can pick through and take out all of the meat and shred the turkey meat into, yet, another smaller bowl. When you have managed to get all the meat you can, discard all of the skin and bone and fat and flotsam and jetsam that came out of the stock pot.
Now you should have a smaller bowl of turkey meat and a stock pot full of turkey stock. At this point I like to cool it completely and then leave it in the fridge overnight or at least long enough to solidy the fat so I can remove it. This stock tends to be very, very fatty since I throw everything in the stock pot and that often includes skin and some stuffing that was still inside the turkey and you really want to get rid of the majority of that fat.
To make the soup, you need to finely dice (this time you must finely dice since this is the soup you are going to eat and nobody wants to find a three inch chunk of carrot in their bowl):
potato if you like - potato may make the soup too starchy for those of you who prefer a slightly thinner soup
add fresh thyme to taste
I will give you this as a guide for each, say, 6 servings :
To each 8 cups of stock add 1 cup each of the diced veggies, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper, 1/2 cup of barley, 1 cup of potatoes if you like and 2 or 3 sprigs of fresh thyme.
So, you now have stock with veggies in it one way or the other but don't forget to add the turkey too.
I cook the soup for about 45 min to an hour, or until the barley is totally cooked and soft. This soup tends to really thicken up as it sits and I almost always have to add more stock to any leftovers when I reheat it so I often hold a couple cups of stock back from the soup to use the next day when we eat it again. It freezes really well although, again, I usually have to add some more stock to it after defrosting it when it's time to heat it up.