I went to the grocery last weekend and purchased some rotisserie-roasted turkey breast at the deli. The turkey was cut in 1/4-inch-thick slices and looked like the perfect mate for some bread loaded up with my favorite fixings. After bringing it home, I couldn’t wait to make a turkey sandwich. I opened the refrigerator and grabbed everything I needed – loaf of pumpernickel rye bread, a wedge of extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, Dijon mustard, alfalfa sprouts and a jar of pickled jalapeno peppers. Everything went to the counter and I dropped two pieces of bread on a plate, shook the mustard up and gave each piece of pumpernickel a generous squirt. With a butter knife, I spread the Dijon evenly over the bread right to the edge of the crusts. I then shaved off some cheddar and placed the cheese atop the mustard and plopped several chunks of turkey over one half. A liberal blast of ground black pepper went onto the bird and then I placed three large jalapeno slices and a nest of sprouts on top of it all. Lone bread slice brought down to cover it all and dig in. My initial reaction was mixed. The tangy mustard and cheese tangled with the crisp spiciness of the jalapeno and the subtle crunch of the sprouts in perfect harmony, but the turkey was not ringing any bells. In fact, it was dry and not giving up much flavor so I decided to make soup out of the remainders. That was a good call.
Turkey soups are all the rage right after Thanksgiving, when we’re all looking for ways to use up the oftentimes ample leftovers from the roasted bird. But there’s no reason to limit yourself to turkey soup once a year; nor do you have to cook a whole turkey to make this soup. And even though my rotisserie turkey proved to be disappointing on a sandwich, it made for an awesome turkey noodle soup.
This is a very easy turkey noodle soup recipe; however, my secret here is to first saute the veggies in duck fat, which gives this soup a huge boost of poultry flavor. If you don’t have duck fat, you can substitute butter or olive oil. But you really should get a jar of duck fat and give it a try. It makes everything from roasted potatoes to soups like this one even better. I’ve had great success using Rougie Duck Fat, an excellent product from Quebec, Canada. I keep it in the fridge and pull it out whenever I need to take things to the next level. You can buy duck fat online here.
- 1 quart chicken broth
- 1 cup turkey breast, cut into ½-inch cubes (use whole breast meat, not shaved cold cuts)
- 1 cup egg noodles
- 1 tablespoon duck fat (or butter or olive oil)
- 1 onion (yellow or white), diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced (reserve celery leaves to top soup)
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed fine (I like to grind it using a mortar and pestle - it makes it nicer to eat and helps build the triceps!)
- 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- In a Dutch oven or soup pot, melt the duck fat over medium heat
- Toss in the carrots, celery and onion and cook for 5 minutes until vegetables are soft
- Add the turkey, garlic, thyme, marjoram and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring to get everything nice and coated with the herbs
- Pour in the broth, salt and bring it all to a boil
- Stir in the egg noodles, reduce heat to medium-low and let cook for 15 minutes
- Taste for seasoning and add salt to taste
- Top with a few chopped celery leaves and a crack or two of black pepper