I’m often asked for the recipe for this delicious soup and, until now, I’ve been unable to give one. It’s one of those recipes that isn’t necessarily difficult, yet the fact it doesn’t require a lot of exact measuring makes it challenging to put into print! It IS a very forgiving recipe (my favorite kind!) and squeezes another meal out of a whole turkey or chicken. You can’t beat that!
Begin with HOMEMADE BROTH
- After you’ve cooked a whole turkey (or bone-in breast or whole chicken), carve the meat and set it aside (use it for another meal; we want only the bones and the meat stuck to them!). Note: if you don’t have time for this step after the turkey is carved, you can keep the bones in the refrigerator for a day or two or freeze it for up to a few months).
- Take the carcass and place it in a large pot. Cover it completely with water.
- Bring the water to a boil and skim off any foam. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 2-5 hours (or more – the longer you simmer, the better the flavor will be!)
- Remove the bones from the pot and cool for a few minutes. Pull off any remaining meat (it should fall off the bones). Return the meat to the broth and allow it to cool. You may want to separate it into other shallow bowls to quicken the cooling process.
- Refrigerate the broth until you’re ready to make it into soup. Or you can freeze it for future use (skim the fat off the top before freezing).
If you need a backup plan, broth or stock from a can or box will work. You can also use your crockpot to make broth/stock – Laura has an easy Chicken Stock Tutorial here.
TURKEY SPAETZLE SOUP
See? I told you this was an inexact science! The amount of ingredients will need to vary slightly depending on how much broth you have. Use your best judgment and add what seems right to you!
- 1-2 small/medium Onions, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
- Carrots, sliced (about 1-2 cups)
- Celery, diced (optional, about 1-2 cups)
- 1 cup Flour
- 2 Eggs
- Salt and pepper to taste
1. Remove broth from refrigerator and skim the fat off the top. (If using previously frozen broth, remember to thaw it first!).
NOTE: If you don’t have pre-made broth, that’s okay, too. You can add water in step 3 and simmer for a couple hours.
2. Over medium-high heat, saute the onions in a small amount of oil or broth until cooked and transparent. I use a few tablespoons of broth to keep the fat content lower and add more as needed as it evaporates. My family isn’t crazy about onions, but they don’t see them in the finished soup and it makes a big difference in the flavor! (Watch those onions sweat!)
3. Add the broth (and leftover scraps of meat) to the pot and bring to a boil. Skim off any foam, then reduce heat to medium.
If you DON’T have your broth ready to go, add your turkey/chicken bones here (even from frozen) and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 2-5 hours (as time allows).
4. Chop and add the carrots and celery (if desired). On days when I’m feeling especially lazy, I’ll just throw in baby carrots! Add salt and pepper to taste. Other seasonings are welcome, too. I like to add parsley and seasoned salt as well!
Now it’s time for the FUN PART – the Spaetzle!
Spaetzle (pronounced Spetz-luh) is a small dumpling originating from Germany. The name translates to “little sparrows.”
- 2 eggs (or 1/2 cup egg substitute or 4 egg whites)
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 cup flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- dash of pepper
5. Mix spaetzle ingredients together until a soft, sticky batter forms (a few lumps are okay). I like to double the spaetzle when making a big pot of soup – and I did just that on this occasion!
This magnificent contraption is a Spaetzle Maker (don’t worry if you don’t have one – most people have never seen one before!). Since we make this soup often, it comes in handy! If you have a Potato Ricer, that will do the trick. Or you can use a colander, slotted spoon or a pair or regular spoons to make the dumplings.
6. Bring the soup to a ROLLING boil and add the spaetzle dough to the hopper.
7. Move the hopper back and forth on the track and the little dumplings will form before your eyes! OR push the dough through a colander or slotted spoon (larger holes work better). OR use 2 spoons to release the dough a bit at a time into the boiling water.
8. Boil the spaetzle for 5 minutes. They will plump up and float to the surface. If your dumplings are larger, you may want to boil longer to be sure they’re completely cooked through.
And the soup is done! You’ll be amazed how delicious this is! If you’re short on time, noodles or rice can easily take the place of the homemade spaetzle. I usually serve this with some Excellent Sandwich Bread fresh from the bread machine for a light dinner!
I make my soup just like this! My grandmother taught me. I have a spaetzle maker too!
Making this tonight but I had already tossed the bones so I put a couple spoonfuls of the gravy leftovers into some chicken broth, sure smells good in here 🙂