As I sit and type this post, I’m on the couch with my computer on my lap, snuggled next to my oldest son. It’s a rare moment of one-on-one time, as his younger brothers are building train tracks nearby but are not demanding my attention. Gibbs came home from school early this afternoon with a fever, and I’ve been in classic caretaker mode ever since: soft blankets for cuddling, a favorite movie on the television, and warm turkey soup bubbling on the stove.
When we become adults, there are so many unknowns as we navigate our way through parenthood. I often pick up the phone and call my mom to ask for her advice when I’m struggling with something; but even in the moments that I’m not actively seeking her guidance, I find myself defaulting to the behaviors that she modeled. And when my babies are sick, I do as Mom did: nourish their bodies with love, gentle, comforting food, ginger ale, and ice chips!
I originally created this recipe as a simple way to use up leftover chicken or turkey from previous meals. I really don’t like to throw away food, so I’m constantly dreaming up new ways to repurpose the same old stuff — and soups are about as easy as it gets!
The hearty and satisfying wild rice, broth, and veggies make this turkey soup a filling option for cold nights. It reminds me so much of the chicken noodle soup that Mom always gave us when we were sick, and my own boys have come to love it as well.
While extra chicken works great as a substitute in this soup, I wanted to share the recipe with you today because it’s perfectly well suited for a post-Thanksgiving meal. After a busy holiday full of rich food and hours spent in the kitchen, this turkey soup is a lighter option to take advantage of leftover meat while only requiring 15 minutes of prep! It’s the antidote to all of life’s problems — whether you’re nursing a sick child, in need of some comfort, or just trying to feed your family on a busy weeknight. Mom always knows best!
Wild Rice and Leftover Turkey Soup
Yield 4 (2-cup servings each)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 cans (14.5 ounces each) chicken broth*
- 2/3 cup wild rice blend
- 2 ½ cups water
- 4 carrots, chopped
- 4 celery stalks, chopped
- 8 ounces cooked, diced leftover turkey (or chicken)
- In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion begins to soften (about 3 minutes).
- Add chicken broth, rice, and water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer (covered) for about 35 minutes.
- Add carrots and celery. Return to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered until vegetables are tender (about 10-15 more minutes). Stir in cooked turkey and simmer just until heated through.
- Season soup with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Serve immediately, or allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
*You can substitute with 4 cups of homemade turkey or chicken stock
Cooking for Two? The soup keeps well in the refrigerator for at least a few days, so you can enjoy leftovers for lunch. If you prefer, you can also freeze half of the soup once it has completely cooled. The meal will be ready for you at a later date when you need an easy supper!