Recipe: Turkey Barley Soup

The days following Thanksgiving are usually filled with leftovers and Christmas decorating and that’s exactly what we’ve been up to.

John and I picked up this festive light up wreath at Home Depot last weekend to decorate the outside of our house with. We put it up yesterday and it looks really nice from the street.


Someone wanted to be included in the decorating but was banned for excessive wreath nibbling:


On to the leftovers!

On Sunday I made my absolute favorite Thanksgiving leftover: turkey soup. You can make this a million different ways but for this recipe I went heavy on vegetables and tossed in some barley too.

Kim’s Turkey Barley Soup
For stock:
As many leftover bones/parts of the turkey carcass you have
4.5 quarts of water (to fit in my 5.5 quart Le Creuset)

For soup:
3 medium red bliss potatoes
6 carrots
2 small onions
10 celery ribs
2 cups pearl barley
1.5 pint mushrooms
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
10-20 springs of thyme
Salt & pepper to taste

The amount of turkey remains we were able to bring home from New Jersey were limited because of space but I was able to save the wings and drumsticks. I like those best for making stock anyway because the dark meat is richer and more flavorful. The whole carcass is ideal but you need a pretty big pot for that.

To make your stock place all of your turkey parts in a deep dutch oven (I use in my 5.5 quart Le Creuset).


Cover with cold water, add 5-10 springs of thyme, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat.


Once the stock comes up to a boil lower the heat, leave the cover on, and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour.


After about an hour, strain the stock and return the liquid to your dutch oven. When the turkey bones have cooled pick off any useable meat and set aside.


At this point you could put the stock in tupperware and freeze or refrigerate for future uses. Stock stays in the freezer pretty much indefinitely. I would use refrigerated stock within 2 weeks.

If you’re making soup immediately though, keep following!

While your stock is simmering chop up all of your veggies into roughly all the same size. This ensures an even cooking time for all of them. You can use any veggie you like here. I prefer earthly/root vegetables in soup. Other veggies that would be great here would be corn, zucchini, or spinach.


Once the strained stock is back in the pot, add the onions, potato, celery, and carrots (basically all the veggies that take the longest to cook).


Add your canned tomatoes here too.


Give the soup a stir, add a few more springs of thyme and at least 1 tsp. of both salt and pepper, put the cover back on, and simmer for 15 minutes.


After the initial simmer, add in the usable turkey pieces you removed from the stock bones.


Simmer on low for 20-25 minutes.

After the second simmer, add the mushrooms and barley. Cover the soup and let it simmer for another 25-30 minutes.


After that time taste the soup for seasonings. Adjust the salt and pepper to your liking. In total I probably added 1 tbsp. kosher salt and 2 tbsp. black pepper. And then it’s done!


My soup turned out deliciously! Very flavorful from the turkey and onions, comforting with the potatoes and barley, and overall just the perfect reminder of Thanksgiving and another homage to the turkey.

I’m actually going to eat this soup for lunch this week at work. I divided my batch up into 5 tupperware containers and will eat it with a small piece of bread every day. I can’t wait!



Author: Domestocrat

I'm a lady who enjoys photography, football, cooking, long drives with the windows down, This American Life, kettlecorn, hot yoga, pop punk, my nephews, my cat Reggie, and my home: Boston.

7 thoughts

  1. Yum! That looks delicious! I flew home for Thanksgiving, so I don’t have any turkey leftovers, but I made Thanksgiving from a box on Sunday night so I could continue to relive it – stove top stuffing and green bean casserole… yum!

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