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If you are of a certain age, you know you don’t throw food out. You lived through times when food was scarce. Those of us who were fortunate and didn’t live through those times should learn from them. First, there is too much waste and we need to address that. Second, many things we throw out make great food! That carcass that is left over after you carve your turkey is a prime example.

A turkey carcass has a lot of flavour in it. That being said, not quite enough in my opinion. If you want to make a really good soup from it, you need to help it out with some more great tastes. I use some bacon or ham, tomatoes and soy sauce to make the soup taste meatier and richer. I end up with a soup that makes canned soup seem like a pale flavourless imitation.

The first thing you need to know about making a turkey carcass into soup is that the sooner you make it the better. The carcass dries out and you lose flavour the longer you wait.

When I cook a turkey carcass for soup, I try and do it the next morning. I carve all the meat off and break it into pieces. I put it in a dutch oven with a quartered onion, a carrot and two stalks of celery. I cover it with water and simmer if for 3 hours.

I strain off the broth and make it up to 3 litres (12 cups) with water. The broth can be refrigerated or frozen for later use as turkey stock.

If you are making soup, I start by chopping some bacon or ham, leftover turkey, onion, carrot and frozen green beans. I saute the bacon until it forms a golden fond on the bottom of a Dutch oven. Then I add the onion and carrots and saute for 3 or 4 minutes longer.

I add the turkey stock making sure to stir up all the bits from the bottom of the Dutch oven. I add a large can of diced tomato including the liquid, soy sauce, pot barley, and herbs. I let them simmer for 1 1/2 hours.

I add the green beans and turkey and simmer for 20 minutes more.

Soup is on!

This soup freezes well so you can always have great soup on hand.

The Verdict

There is a turkey flavour but it is boosted by the bacon and soy. There is just enough tomato to giveĀ  fresh taste without turning it into tomato soup. The barley and green beans give it a hearty consistency. This soup makes you happy!

Turkey Carcass Soup

Turkey Carcass Soup


  • 1 turkey carcass
  • 1 onion cut into quarters
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 500 ml (2 cups) diced cooked turkey
  • 15 ml (1 tablespoon) oil
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) diced bacon or ham
  • 250 ml (1 cup) diced onion
  • 250 ml (1 cup) diced celery
  • 796 ml (28 oz) canned diced tomatoes including the liquid
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) soy sauce
  • 5 ml (1 teaspoon) thyme
  • 5 ml (1 teaspoon) rosemary
  • 5 ml (1 teaspoon) sage
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) pot barley
  • 250 ml (1 cup) frozen green beans, chopped


  1. Break the carcass into pieces and put it in a Dutch oven with the quartered onion and celery stalks. Cover with water and simmer for 3 hours.
  2. Strain the stock and defat. Add enough water to make 3 litres (12 cups) stock.
  3. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Saute the bacon until the bottom of the pan is golden and the bacon is crisp.
  4. Add the chopped onion and carrot and cook for 3 or 4 minutes longer.
  5. Add the stock, tomatoes, soy sauce, barley and herbs. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
  6. Add the green beans and turkey. Simmer for 20 minutes.
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