Turkey Barley Soup Recipe

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I hope that all of you who celebrated Thanksgiving had a wonderful one.   I, for one, am glad it’s over.  I don’t know about you, but for me, the Holidays are a mixed bag.  Between all the shopping, prepping and cooking, there is so much work (and stress) leading up to the big day.  Then, when you finally do get to sit down to enjoy the fruits of your labor, all you can think about is that huge mess left in the kitchen and how many loads in the dishwasher it will take to get it under control.  And, God forbid the rest of your dining companions don’t gush and swoon enough over your food after all of the hours and hours you spent slaving over it!  You can then feel both inadequate and resentful at the same time.  Did I mention that I’m a Type A personality?  And, a hopeless perfectionist?  In any event, it isn’t until the last pot is scrubbed and the leftovers are safely tucked away in their Tupperware containers that I can take a deep breath and relax. For me, that’s when the fun begins.  That’s when I start thinking about what I’m going to conjure up with all the leftovers. 


I sincerely hope that none of you ever, ever throw away the turkey carcass after your Thanksgiving feast.  I’m kind of ambivalent about the turkey itself, but I always make sure we have one, because those slow roasted bones make the most lovely rich and flavorful stock.   You can use that stock for all kinds of different recipes, but my favorite thing to make with it is a big pot of nurturing, restorative soup.

Cooking up a batch of turkey soup is a welcome respite from the frazzled frenzy of putting together a holiday meal.  It’s cathartic – almost like therapy.  And, it’s a no brainer.  You just drop the carcass in a big stock pot, add some vegetable chunks, fill the pot with water and let it simmer a few hours while you drag all of the Christmas decorations down from the attic.  Or in my case, while you nag your husband to do it as his a$$ is usually glued to the sofa watching football.  Sigh…..


My starch of choice for homemade soup is pastina or some other kind of small pasta. I always have some in my pantry, it cooks quickly and hey – I’m Italian!  This time, however, I decided to add barley.  Barley does take a bit longer to cook, but I love its faint nuttiness and slightly chewy texture.  It holds up really nicely to a bolder, more robust soup like this one.

With Christmas right around the corner, there’s just a small window of time before the lunacy begins again.  So, do yourself a favor and make a big old pot of turkey barley soup, put on your fuzzy slippers and relax a bit while you still can!


13 responses to Turkey Barley Soup Recipe

  1. On November 30, 2010 at 8:45pm, Mom24@4evermom said...

    I love making soup from the turkey carcass! I use half and half and wild rice. It’s almost like stone soup, you know?

  2. On December 01, 2010 at 1:41am, Rosa said...

    A good way to use the leftover turkey. Very conforting!



  3. On December 01, 2010 at 8:07am, Joanne at Frutto della Passione said...

    My mother made soup with the carcass every year. This year I did too, but I froze it and use it to flavour other dishes. We were pretty much turkeyed out!

  4. On December 01, 2010 at 9:57am, jmisgro said...

    I made turkey noodle soup on Friday. I had some broth leftover that I had mixed with turkey gravy. I made barley with it and added fried onions and mushrooms. Was delish!!
    Eat more grains!!

  5. On December 01, 2010 at 2:40pm, Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

    I posted a recipe very similar on Soup Chick last week, in anticipation of leftovers. I agree, this is one of my favorite, most comforting combinations! And I often freeze the leftover soup to have at another time — which I guess makes it leftover leftovers?!

  6. On December 01, 2010 at 6:27pm, Phyllis Kirigin said...

    Just the words “turkey barley” ring out comfort food. What a wonderful soup to make on a cold winter night.

    Phyllis, aka sweetpaprika.wordpress.com

  7. On December 01, 2010 at 8:12pm, Peggy said...

    This looks absolutely delicious! I’m definitely adamant about saving that turkey carcass, as well!

  8. On December 02, 2010 at 4:11am, Coleen said...

    I make beef barley a lot, but never thought of turkey barley…great idea.

  9. On December 02, 2010 at 9:44am, bellini said...

    Today is time to make a delocious chicken soup, relax and let dinner cook itself.

  10. On December 02, 2010 at 12:28pm, The Food Hunter said...

    This is exactly what I made with my turkey carcass

  11. On December 02, 2010 at 1:31pm, Rachel (S[d]OC) said...

    Oh yes. When I roast a turkey I always save the carcass. I even save it when my mother roasts the turkey.

    Of course one should never do what I did 3 years ago and stick the carcass in the freezer without emptying the aromatics out of the cavity. Nothing makes an interesting broth like having cinnamon sticks simmering in there. I guess I inadvertantly made turkey pho?

    Barley is perfectly rich and hearty for this time of year for soup too.

  12. On December 02, 2010 at 10:04pm, MaryBeth said...

    I love barley soup, this is oh so comforting. I would love a huge steaming hot bowl of this any day.

  13. On December 08, 2010 at 7:46am, Travel Turkey said...

    Very nice text, thank you.

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Hello and welcome to SGCC! I’m Susan, a professional writer, food columnist, recipe developer, wife, mother, daughter and sister, who used to be a lawyer in a previous life. My love of food comes from a long line of wonderful and creative Italian home cooks who didn’t always have a lot, but knew how to make a lot out of what they had. I hope that you enjoy yourself while you’re here, and visit often! read more >>

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