The tryptophan coma has worn off and the leftovers are almost gone; at appears everyone near and dear to me has made it through this holiday with nary a familial meltdown or kitchen disaster. The next month contains countless birthdays, holiday parties, baby showers, and assorted chaos. I don’t know if I am ready, but life continues. I have important thing to tend to right now, like leftovers.
I spent a good deal of time staring into the fridge this weekend and pondering what to do with all the turkey Aunt LifeSaver had send home with me. I landed on throwing together a simple, homey turkey soup. It is the perfect way to detox after such an indulgent weekend and has the added bonus of using a bunch of leftover odds and ends in the fridge. Of course, detoxing from all the food is sort of fruitless when I chose to wash it down with an obscene amount of wine. When the two of us decided to crack open the third bottle Saturday night, I finally knew what it is like to reach the point of no return.
This is an improvised recipe, compromised with what I had on hand and supplemented with a few things from the store. Other vegetables–lima beans and green beans come to mind immediately–would be great, and leftover chicken would obviously go just as well. Fresh or dried herbs work great and the pasta if optional and can vary; I used orzo, but any type of pasta, barley, or rice would be great. Soup is the simplest thing to make in the word and the only thing that limits is the imagination. The only thing to keep in mind is making sure the vegetables are chopped small enough to fit on a soup spoon. I am often asked how I “know” things will work, and honestly, it is trail and error. If you don’t like how the soup comes out one time, just keep on trying. You will find something that works. Though I hate failure, you cannot fear it in the kitchen if you want to learn anything. It just takes some time to figure out what will work. If it yield soup like this, the time is worth it.
Turkey Orzo Soup
2 tsp olive oil
1 small onion (1/2 large), chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 carrots, diced (I used a large handful of baby carrots)
3 celery stalks, diced
8 cups low sodium chicken broth (I used some stock which has a richer flavor)
1 1/2 cups turkey, diced
1 cup frozen peas
4 sprigs thyme (the leaves will fall off as the soup cooks)
1 bay leaf
1 tsp herbs de provence
1 cup orzo, dried
Salt and Pepper to taste
Heat oil and saute onion and garlic for 3 minutes. Add carrot and saute for an additional two minutes, then add celery and saute for about two minutes. Add chicken broth, peas, diced turkey, bay leaf, herbs de provence and thyme. Let it heat for about 10 minutes and then add orzo. Cook for an additional 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper and fish out bay leaf and sprigs of thyme. Serves about 6-8.