Post-Thanksgiving Turkey and White Bean Soup

Makes 8 Quarts

I am the one who takes two-gallon zipper bags to Thanksgiving dinner so that I can bring home the turkey carcass at the end of the night. I am also the one who, when hosting, follows my mother’s example, always making a “four-legged” bird, roasting an extra set of drumsticks in the pan. Either way, I know I can make turkey soup over the holiday weekend. Let’s assume that on Friday everyone eats turkey sandwiches all day, and Saturday is when the holiday parties happen. On Sunday, then, start the soup going sometime after your coffee and morning pie. Have it for an early dinner that night and put Thanksgiving to bed until next year. Or, for my Christmas ham-inclined friends, make it with a leftover hambone instead of turkey. //Caroline


// Start a quick soak of the beans and while they soak, heat the oil in the stockpot and sauté the onions, celery, and carrots until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the turkey carcass, bay leaves, and salt and cover with about 5 quarts cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer gently, loosely covered, for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

// Remove the turkey bones from the stockpot, and let sit on a plate or cutting board until cool enough to handle. Pull as much turkey meat off the bones as you can, and set aside. Discard the bones.

// Drain the soaked beans and rinse well in cold water, then add to the stockpot. Add the herb bundle and bring the soup back to a simmer for 45 minutes, loosely covered. Check the white beans for doneness, and continue to simmer until they’re easy to bite into. (If using canned beans, let them simmer for 20 minutes before proceeding to the next step.)

// Remove the herb bundle and the bay leaves. Add the soup greens and cooked turkey meat. Stir well to submerge the greens, and loosely cover the pot. Continue to simmer until the greens are fully wilted, 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the greens. Season with salt and black pepper.

For Delivery

Include one quarter of the chopped parsley, and any Thanksgiving leftovers you want to share.

To Serve

Top with chopped fresh parsley and red pepper flakes.


  • 1 pound dried white beans (or use 4 15-ounce cans of white beans, drained and rinsed)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 medium yellow onions, finely chopped
  • 6 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 6 carrots, chopped into medium rounds
  • 1 leftover turkey carcass, plus any leftover turkey meat you want to use up, or 2 to 3 pounds raw turkey wings, thighs, and/or necks, skin removed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 2 sprigs each flat-leaf parsley, rosemary, and thyme, tied together with kitchen twine
  • 3 large bunches winter greens, such as collards, escarole, and kale, thick ribs removed, leaves finely slices.
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped


  1. Klaudia Bercow

    This sounds delicious! I’ll try that with my roasted chicken carcasses tomorrow.