icon caret-left icon caret-right instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads question-circle facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle

Recipes and Stories

29 November 2021: The Remains of the Feast Turkey Soup

Turkey, Ham, and Orzo Soup


Since we had Thanksgiving dinner away from home, to give us "leftovers" other than my contributions to the feast, I'd not only made broth but later roasted a turkey breast on a bed of diced carrot, celery, and onion and baked a small pan of sage and onion cornbread dressing.


The weather here has turned brisk, with temperatures dropping below freezing at night, so the obvious end for those leftovers was a nice, thick soup. The remains of the broth had been simmered with the turkey breast carcass and its bed of roasted vegetables to make it even richer. There was a little dab of the gravy left, and because we're now in Virginia, there was also a little leftover cooked dry-cured (country) ham, so both of those went into the pot as well.


We had it with buttered toast, but biscuits, a crusty baguette, or even crackers would also be fine accompaniments.


Turkey, Ham, and Orzo Soup

Serves 2-3 as a main dish


2 tablespoons unsalted butter, turkey fat skimmed from the roast drippings, or olive oil

1 medium onion, trimmed, split lengthwise, peeled, and diced

2 large carrots, trimmed, peeled, and diced

2 large ribs celery, scrubbed under cold running water, strung, and diced

1 medium clove garlic, lightly crushed, peeled, and minced

1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish

4-5 cups Turkey Broth, see 24 November 2021: Turkey Broth and the Smells of Thanksgiving

½ cup leftover turkey gravy, optional

1 generous cup diced leftover cooked turkey

½ cup diced cooked ham, preferably dry-cured ("country") ham

1 cup frozen petite green peas

Salt and whole black pepper in a mill

Worcestershire sauce

½ cup orzo pasta


1. Put the fat and onion in a heavy-bottomed 3½-to-4 quart pot set over medium heat. Sauté until the onion is translucent but not colored, about 3 minutes, then add the carrot and celery. Continue cooking until they are crisp tender and the onion is pale gold, about 3-4 minutes longer. Add the garlic and herbs and sauté until fragrant, about a minute longer.


2. Stir in 4 cups of broth (and gravy, if using) and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Adjust the heat to a steady simmer and cook 3-4 minutes. Add the turkey, ham, and peas and let it come back to a simmer. Taste and season as needed with salt, pepper, and Worcestershire, going light on the salt at first, especially if you're using country ham. Simmer until the peas and other vegetables are tender, about 5-10 minutes.


3. Stir in the orzo and simmer until it's al dente, using the package directions as a rough guide, about 7-8 minutes. If it's too thick to suit you, thin it with more broth as needed. Taste and adjust the seasonings and simmer a minute longer. Serve with buttered toast, crackers, or a nice crusty baguette, if liked, garnishing each serving with a sprinkling of parsley.

Post a comment