There’s no single killer turkey noodle soup recipe. No rock your world – this is the best thing ever. I’ve looked. It’s all pretty much the same. Variations on a theme. I have my own variation on the theme. Mine is about mouthfeel. The difference between a watery broth and unctuous, oh my god this is amazing broth. That small tweak is what makes this version a great one.
Turkey noodle soup recipes aren’t really recipes. They are guidelines and this one is no different. Don’t have leeks? No big deal. Want to add peas? OK, that works. Celery? A bit of an overpowering flavour in my mind but why not? There are only three things I think are important in this recipe. Turkey stock, dried thyme and cornstarch.
Turkey stock is a given I think. Noodle soup made with chicken stock is called chicken noodle soup. Add turkey and I call it chicken noodle soup with turkey. Turkey stock is the backbone.
Dried thyme is a big one for me as well. Don’t really understand why I do but I do. I don’t use a lot of dried herbs but it works here.
The cornstarch is the real secret though. Absolute game changer. When I was a kid I had turkey noodle soup at a friend’s house. I only had it once but it stuck with me as the gold standard. I didn’t cook back then so it didn’t occur to me to ask what the deal was. Fast forward a couple decades. For years I tried to recreate the mouthfeel. Couldn’t figure it out. It took a Chinese friend to put me on the right path.
Try it. It’s worth the leap of faith. Really.
- 1 turkey carcass
- 1 onion, halved with skin left on
- 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 large or 2 medium leeks, diced
- 1 large or 2 medium onions, diced
- 4-5 good sized carrots, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp dried thyme
- 2 tsp salt
- 10 cups turkey stock or as much turkey stock as you have plus water to make up 10 cups
- 6 oz broad or extra broad egg noodles
- 4 cups, more or less, diced leftover turkey
- 1 Tbsp corn starch
- In a pot large enough to hold your turkey carcass, combine the turkey, onion and enough water to cover. Simmer for 6-8 hours. You want the turkey tasting like nothing and the stock to be flavourful.
- Heat a pot big enough to hold everything (6 quart dutch oven works) over medium low heat. Add the oil and then the leeks, onions and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion and leek are soft but not brown. You won't get the carrots soft at this stage - don't bother trying. This takes about 7-10 minutes.
- Add the garlic, dried thyme and the 2 tsp salt and cook another 2 minutes.
- Pour in the stock. Let simmer, covered for about an hour. Add the diced turkey and let simmer another 10 minutes.
- Add the egg noodles and cook until the egg noodles are tender, another 10 minutes or so.
- Remove about a half cup of liquid and stir in 1 Tbsp cornstarch until thoroughly combined.
- Return the cornstarch slurry back to the soup. Bring to a boil. The soup will thicken noticeably.
- At this point the soup is under salted. Add salt gradually until you are happy with the salt balance. Soup takes a lot of salt.