A steaming bowl of bones soup

My grandmother who lived through the Depression taught me to keep every morsel of food and turn it into something. You know, nothing goes to waste.

So at Thanksgiving, I keep the turkey carcass to turn it into soup. While we’re putting away all the food after the Thanksgiving dinner, we pick as much meat as we can off the bones and I throw the carcass into a supermarket plastic bag until I can cook it up on Saturday.

Of course I always send leftovers home with my family members. One year I sent wrong bag with my brother from New York. He called as soon as he got home and told me I send a back of bones instead of a bag of turkey. I didn’t have soup and he didn’t have turkey. I’ll never live that one down.

If you never made soup from bones, you’re in for a treat.

My favorite recipe is from a book called “Feasts for a Farthing,” written by Molly Finn and published by Yankee Books in 1985. I don’t even know if it’s still around.

So here goes. Remove any meat remaining on the carcass, cut into small pieces and reserve. Break up the carcass and put it in a big soup pot. Emeril says you should brown the bones in the oven first for more flavor.

Add water to come about three-quarters of the way to the top of the bones, but not more than 3 quarts. Bring to a boil and add two onions, two stalks of celery with tops, on carrot, scrubbed and cut into chunks, two teaspoons salt and some pepper, one bay leaf, a few sprigs of parsley and or dill.

Bring back to a boil and simmer, partially covered for two hours or more.  Let cool slightly and strain the broth.

Once I strain it, I usually refrigerate it overnight to let any fat come to the top. Then I scrape off the fat and use the broth for soup.

You can add whatever you like for the soup: barley, dried beans, vegetables, leftover stuffing and gravy, potatoes, a can of stewed tomatoes. Finn says not to overlook strays from the vegetable bin. She says leftover gravy can make a great soup base.  


If you’re using leftover vegetables, intensify the flavor by sautéing them with onion in a little butter.

You can make a great hearty soup at very little cost.


It’s certainly my kind of meal, even if my brother Mark isn’t interested.

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