The Thanksgiving turkey, as grand and majestic as the bronzed bird looks on a platter surrounded by sprigs of herbs, is just not my thing. I rejoice in the fact that we Americans get our turkey out of the way in November and therefore do not have to repeat the offense at Christmas like the British do. Good riddance I say! Thanksgiving is all about the sides for me. They’re what I spend the most time on, while the turkey simply gets a little dry rub, some herbs, garlic, lemon in the cavity, a heavy coating of butter and into the oven it goes. Two plus hours later you have dinner.
While I love eating the leftover sides for days after the holiday, the turkey does not call to me, beckoning to be made into sandwiches or reheated topped with gravy and mashed potatoes. With an abundance sitting in the fridge wrapped in foil, I knew I had to do something and that something ended up being pretty spectacular so I’m sharing it with you. There’s really nothing groundbreaking here. It’s turkey, noodle soup with cheddar chive buttermilk biscuits. A desperate attempt to use up every last vestige of Thanksgiving and clear the decks for Christmas.
For me, the key to a vegetable broth soup is the stock and also the addition of dark leafy greens. Throw in whatever you’ve got languishing in your fridge because all of it mixed together in a delicious broth makes for nourishing goodness. The other key, I find, is to boil your noodles separately, not in the soup broth itself. They release too much starch into the soup and soak up the broth like a sponge leaving you with a noodle casserole not a soup. I loved this and found it to be perhaps the best way to get down the profusion of left over turkey.
Turkey Noodle Soup
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves
3 ribs of celery, chopped
3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
2 sprigs of thyme
1 bay leaf
1/2 bunch of swiss chard, roughly chopped
2 cups of leftover turkey, chopped into bite size pieces
2 quarts of chicken or turkey stock
salt and pepper to taste
8 oz. no yolks extra broad pasta
In a large pot heat the olive oil and add the onion, cooking until soft on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Now add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 more minutes. Add the celery, carrots, thyme and bay leaf and allow to cook down for 5 more minutes, until softening. Now add the swiss chard and turkey, cover it all with the stock and allow to come to a simmer. While this is happening, cook the noodles according to the package directions. Drain and then add to the soup. Allow everything to simmer for a few minutes, season to your taste, fish out the thyme stems and bay leaf and serve.
The biscuits were a bit of an afterthought, but made the meal. My mom and I were planning to cheat and buy a tube at the grocery but forgot. She was going to run out again and I took a step back and thought, wait, how easy is it to whip up a batch myself? It would be healthier, tastier and a good use of the carton of buttermilk in the fridge. I sometimes think we’ve grown so accustomed to convenience that we forget how simple it is to make dishes traditionally reserved for special occasions from scratch. Have you got 15 minutes? Well then, you’ve got biscuits! Oh, and I know cake flour is as rare as hens’ teeth in the UK but I’ve found a way to make it myself: for every two cups of cake flour take two cups of all purpose flour, place it in a bowl. Remove 2 tablespoons of the flour and then add 2 tablespoons of cornflour. Mix together well and you’ve got yourself a light, lovely cake flour.
Cheddar Chive Buttermilk Biscuits
2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
5 tablespoons COLD unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
1 cup buttermilk, plus more for glazing the tops
1 cup finely grated cheddar cheese
3 tablespoons snipped chives
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Mix together all of the dry ingredients and then cut in the butter using your fingertips to work the butter into the dry ingredients well (it should looks pebbly). Using a large wooden spoon add the buttermilk and stir well. Now add the cheese, chives and black pepper. Make sure everything is well incorporated and turn the mix out onto a lightly floured surface (the dough will be sticky). Pat the dough down into a large flat rectangle about 2 inches thick and use a floured round cutter (about 2 inches across) to make your biscuits – keep pressing the scraps back together to cut more biscuits until the dough is all used up. Place the rounds onto an ungreased baking sheet and use a pastry brush to glaze the tops with just a little more buttermilk. Cook in the 450 degree oven for 8-10 minutes, until golden brown.