Are you as tired of turkey as I am? While I do love the big bird, seven days straight and my body is screaming for a green salad, crisp, crunchy vegetables and anything-but-meat. So what do I do? Make soup, of course. Hear me out – it makes more sense than you think. I didn’t make it to the market last weekend, since we had so much food leftover from Thanksgiving there seemed little need. It’s probably a little late in the season for cold-frame lettuce, and a little early for greenhouse lettuce, anyway, so no crisp greens for this local girl. But I did have plenty of aromatic vegetables on hand: carrots, parsnips, onions, garlic, as well as a good supply of dried beans and a variety of potatoes. And, of course, turkey. Simply because I’m tired of turkey doesn’t mean that I can allow it to go to waste (lest my Yankee forebears rise up from their graves and haunt me for my wanton ways). I had already made turkey stock from the carcass and bones of our Thanksgiving bird: soup seemed the obvious answer.
But, what’s great about this soup? Turkey is a bit player here; the beans steal the show. This is a bean soup, first and foremost, with the turkey lending a boost of protein and umami flavor, without proclaiming that dinner is “Turkey, yet again!” The aromatic veg, the fantastic Yellow Eye beans and the sage all make this a kick-ass winter soup (in fact, I think this would work well as a vegan dish, sans turkey and with vegetable stock): the turkey sends it over the top in terms of satisfying and delicious. I may well make this one again before the (seemingly) never-ending supply of turkey runs out.
Adapted from Yellow Eye Chowder with Smoked Chicken, Sweet Potatoes and Sage in Heirloom Beans by Steve Sando
- 1 lb dried white beans (I used Yellow Eye beans from Rancho Gordo)
- filtered water
- 2 tbsp bacon grease (or olive oil, vegetable oil, etc.)
- 2 medium red onions, chopped
- 2 medium carrots, peeled & diced
- 1 small parsnip, peeled & diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups turkey stock
- 3/4 lb potatoes, peeled & diced (I used purple potatoes from Holbrook Farm)
- 1/2 lb roasted turkey, skinned, chopped (I used a mix of dark & white meat)
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh sage
- 1 tsp sea salt, or to taste
- 1/2 tsp black pepper, or to taste
- Soak the beans in cool, filtered water, to cover by 2 inches, overnight or for at least 6 hours.
- Heat the bacon grease in a medium stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until it is shimmering, but not smoking. Add onions, carrots, parsnip and garlic and saute, stirring, for 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook until vegetables have softened and onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add beans + their soaking water, turkey stock, and additional cool water to cover by 1 inch (if necessary). Simmer, covered, until beans are just starting to get tender, about 1 hour.
- Add potatoes, roasted turkey, sage, salt and pepper. Simmer, covered, until potatoes are tender and flavors blend, about 20 – 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve hot, garnished with additional sage leaves, chopped parsley, or a little dollop of sage pesto.
- I made a lot of changes to the original recipe which included celery, sweet potatoes, and smoked chicken. Like all soups, this recipe is quite adaptable to what you have on hand.
- With a few more veggies, this soup would be hearty and delicious as a vegetarian/vegan version; omit turkey, use olive oil and roasted vegetable stock, and maybe some celery and mushrooms for flavor.
- With navy beans from Cayuga Pure Organics, this soup could be 100% local.
Refrigerated, up to 5 days. I’m not very fond of frozen/thawed beans; I think they suffer in texture, so I don’t recommend freezing this soup.
Fall into winter.