Main Dishes / Soups

Turkey, Potato, and Cabbage Soup

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On my first Saturday in the city of lights, what do I do? Visit the neighborhood farmer’s market, of course. Though nothing will ever quite compare to growing and harvesting my own food, the farmer’s market is an excellent substitute. Especially the gem less than a mile from my apartment, which boasted pastured meats, organic vegetables, and raw milk cheeses to warm the darkest recesses of any city-skeptic’s heart. I hemmed and hawed, meandered like a lost puppy,  and touched far too many bundles of Swiss chard while my lovely and patient roommate enjoyed the sunshine. It was blissful.

I settled on a giant bag of produce, including the aforementioned chard, broccoli greens, butter lettuce, turnips, beets, and some truly gorgeous potatoes. I also bought a large bag of turkey necks for extremely cheap from the turkey man. He seemed surprised and delighted someone was interested in a package other than the turkey burgers. Did I mention my neighborhood has a high percentage of socially-conscious but butchery-dumb hipsters?

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A sidewalk sale on one of the main streets of the neighborhood was also in full swing, so my walk home took a little longer than anticipated. Worried about the state of the turkey necks, I dove right in and made a giant pot of turkey stock, which later became turkey soup. It seemed a little backwards since the sun was blazing, but the city got another freak rainy and cold spell, so the pot of stew has actually been earning its keep.

Turkey Neck Stock & Turkey, Potato, and Cabbage Soup

The Stock:

  • 2 very large and meaty turkey necks (a carcass from any poultry would also more than suffice)
  • 1 medium onion, cut in half
  • 2 leftover leek tops
  • 3 large carrots, cut into rough chunks
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt & pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a large stockpot and fill with water until necks/carcass are fully submerged. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat and let simmer (covered) for 4-7 hours. If you only want the stock you’re done.

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However, I wanted meat that didn’t have the flavor boiled away and a big pot of soup, so after 1 1/2 hours I removed the necks and removed as much turkey meat as I could. Warning: it is very messy. It is also very economical and very fun. Then I returned the stripped necks to the stock for the remaining 3 hours. For soup directions, read on!

The Soup:

  • 2 quarts chicken/turkey stock
  • 1/2 to 1 lb pre-cooked/leftover shredded turkey meat (be it white or dark)
  • 5 small potatoes or 2 larger ones, chopped
  • 1/4 head cabbage, sliced thinly
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil/fat
  • 2 onions, sliced into rings
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger (optional)
  • chopped cilantro (optional)
  • salt & pepper to taste

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Heat up a large soup pot and melt your cooking oil/fat in the bottom of it ( I used lard). Add the onions, garlic, and optional ginger and allow to soften and brown. Once the kitchen is perfumed with the heady aroma of caramelizing onions, pour in the turkey stock and bring to a simmer (this will take a while, about 15 minutes for me). Once bubbling away you can add the cabbage and potatoes and let them simmer for another fifteen minutes. Finally add the shredded turkey meat and cilantro (if you like cilantro, any fresh herb would be delectable), and turn off the heat. Let sit for 5-10 minutes and serve!

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