Fast and Filling Turkey Soup-A Holiday Tradition

I’ve always enjoyed fostering our family’s food traditions around the holidays. Thanksgiving would not be the same without John’s homemade apple pie, and my kids would disown me if the customary loaf of Irish Soda bread did not appear in their college mailboxes in March. As is the case with many families, our food traditions have provided a comforting and familiar ritual that we all cherish.

One of our favorite holiday season meals is the Fast and Filling Turkey Soup that I have been making for years on the day after Thanksgiving. The recipe originally appeared in either Family Circle or Women’s Day magazine. It’s easy, tasty, and not to be missed by my family. One year, we were visiting family members out of state and did not make our own turkey. With no leftover turkey meat to make the soup, it did not appear on our table on Black Friday that year. Oh, the weeping and gnashing of teeth that ensued! From that point forward, I always made sure to roast a turkey breast for the turkey meat, even if we were going to be out of town on Turkey Day.

Here is the recipe. I hope that you enjoy it, and that you will take some time to leave a comment below or on the Jersey Bites Facebook page about your family’s favorite holiday dish.

Fast and Filling Turkey Soup
¼ cup butter or margarine
3 medium celery ribs, diced
3 large carrots, sliced
2 small zucchini, sliced
1 large onion, diced
¼ teaspoon dried rosemary
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
6 cups water
2 envelopes instant chicken broth
¼ cup uncooked long grain rice
3 cups chopped cooked turkey
1/3 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

In 4 quart saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and add celery, carrots, zucchini, onion, rosemary and thyme. Cook 10 minutes, stirring frequently until vegetables are tender. Add water and the instant chicken broth and boil. Add rice and return to boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer 15 minutes. Add turkey and parsley-heat 10 minutes more. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Note: you can make this using homemade turkey stock instead of the instant chicken broth by covering a turkey carcass with water and simmering with a little onion and celery.

Beth Christian subsisted primarily on cheeseburgers and liverwurst sandwiches during childhood and refused to try most new foods.  Her culinary horizons were expanded during her college days in Schenectady, New York, where she learned the joys of trying slow-simmered Italian dishes, Szechuan cuisine, and everything in between.  When not engaged in the practice of law in Monmouth County, Beth is busy scouting out interesting restaurants,  farmer’s markets and food purveyors near her home in Burlington County. Beth’s primary dining sidekick is her husband John, but she also enjoys having her daughter Meghan, son Michael and her wonderful friends come along for the ride. Email Beth at