Picking Bones or “Delicious Small Remains” part II

What remains after the turkey curries, pies (like my Turkey & Ham Pie), enchiladas, croquettes and other “delicious small remains” – les delicieux petites restes as the French call leftovers – is soup. Being frugal at heart, I always get a sense of satisfaction that every last bit of the Christmas turkey is used – and that includes the bones. Soups are made from the rich, flavorful stock produced from the turkey carcass – in my opinion, the best saved for last!


Creamy Turkey & Wild Rice Soup
I started making this when we lived in Wisconsin – one of the upper mid-west states where wild rice grows. Outside wild rice producing areas, it is generally an expensive commodity, and I can only find it here in my U.K. supermarket mixed with Camargue red rice (for a posh pilaf). Luckily, my brother lives in Minnesota – another wild rice hot spot – so my access to good quality wild rice has not been completely cut off. You can substitute brown rice or red/wild rice combination if you cannot obtain wild rice. Other variations on the soup that I have tried are listed below the recipe.

  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 Tablespoon flaked toasted almonds, optional
  • 2 large shallots
  • 2 large ribs of celery
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 cup wild rice
  • 8 cups Turkey stock (see below)
  • 1 cup cooked turkey pieces
  • Handful of flat leaf Parsley
  • 1/2 cup Cream

Finely chop the shallots and thinly slice the celery. Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed stock pot and add the vegetables to sweat. Finely chop the rosemary – should be approximately 1 Tablespoon. Add the rosemary to the pot along with the wild rice. If you are including the almonds, add these with the rosemary and rice. Stir and let cook for a minute or two. Add the stock, turkey pieces and chopped parsley.


Bring to a light boil, cover and reduce heat. Let the soup simmer for about 40 minutes while the rice cooks. At the end of 40 minutes, the wild rice will be cooked and some may even begin to split and curl. At this point, test seasonings and add salt and pepper if required. Add the cream and continue to simmer, uncovered, for another 10-15 minutes. Serve.

Like many soups, this is even better if it is made the day before and then reheated.

* For a mushroom wild rice soup, add sliced mushrooms and sauté with the shallots and celery.
* Or, in addition to the listed ingredients, add bacon pieces, pancetta or ham along with sliced carrots for a more substantial meaty soup.
* Or, substitute chopped dried cranberries for the almonds – a particularly useful suggestion if there are nut allergies to contend with.

Turkey Stock
This method can also be applied to the remains from a roast chicken.

  • 1 Turkey carcass
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 onion, skinned and quartered
  • 1 carrot, cut into chunks
  • 1 celery rib, cut into chunks
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 Tablespoon sea salt
  • Water to cover, approximately 6-8 cups

Cut up the turkey carcass, stripped of most of its meat and discarded skin. Place the pieces in a large stock pit with bay leaf, onion, carrot, celery, peppercorns and sea salt. Fill the pot with water until it just covers the bones. Place a lid on and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let it simmer for several hours.

Strain the stock immediately and chill. Pick over the bones once cooled slightly and remove and reserve any scraps of meat. Discard bones and other solids. When the stock has chilled (preferably overnight in the refrigerator), skim off any fat that will have risen to the surface. The stock and the reserved meat can be used in recipes or can be frozen for future use.


  1. I abhor waste and always make stock with the carcas remaining from a roasted bird. There is always homemade stock in my freezer. Your creamy turkey wild rice soup sounds seriously good!


    • Too right! It seems a waste when the Sunday roast doesn’t yield at least two more meals – one of which is soup. I never tried making goose stock – it always seemed too greasy. I do save the fat – freezing it in batches to use when making roast potatoes.


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