In the aftermath of Thanksgiving, I believe it is absolutely obligatory to create a thick, delicious broth with whatever leftover poultry and vegetables you have on hand, and to subsequently use that broth in the preparation of some tasty variety of turkey soup. There is no choice in the matter. It simply must be done.
I usually like to prepare the stock late on Thanksgiving evening, and to leave it simmering while I sleep, so that my broth will be ready the following morning, and I can consume a hot bowl of soup for lunch. This year I opted for a classic combination of turkey, vegetables and barley (although I was very tempted by some of the zestier combinations Mark Bittman suggested in the NY Times). My soup was fairly predictable, but still a deeply satisfying alternative to reheated mashed potatoes and cold gravy. On that note, here is an approximation of the recipe I devised:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped medium
salt & pepper to taste
4 large carrots, sliced thinly (sweet potatoes would also be a good choice)
4 stalks of celery, sliced somewhat less thinly
8ish cups of turkey broth
1 bay leaf
1 cup of barley
2 cups of shredded turkey meat
Parsley or cilatro, finely chopped for garnish (optional)
Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about one minute. Add onion and cook until soft, about 5-7 minutes. Season the onions and garlic with salt and pepper, to your liking. Add celery and carrots and cook until they are just getting soft, maybe another 8-10 minutes. Add the broth, the bay leaf and the barley, and bring the whole concoction to a boil. After the soup reaches a boiling point, reduce heat to a simmer. After 30 minutes, add the turkey meat, and leave the soup simmering until the meat has warmed through. If you are using parsley or cilatro, add it to the soup moments before serving. To round out your meal, serve your soup with slices of French bread, a crisp green salad with garlicky vinaigrette, and a cold bottle of a hoppy beer, like Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, or La Lagunitas IPA. Enjoy!