We get two turkeys a year from our poultry farmer – the first in the summer and the second usually a day or two before Thanksgiving. Last year we roasted the summer turkey and canned it; I used the meat all winter long in soups, stews and casseroles. It was incredibly convenient.
This year, we decided to break it down into its different parts, the way we do our chickens, and freeze them. In the end, we were left with one bag containing just the wings – well, actually, a wing-and-a-half; it apparently suffered an accident in the processing. Which was fine, but it left me wondering what to do with one-and-a-half turkey wings.
Our garden was also full of surprises this year, as we had all sorts of plants pop up that we never actually planted. Not weeds, either, but actual food, mostly in the form of tomatoes and winter squash (thank you, Mr. Compost). Among the winter squashes, which was mostly butternut and spaghetti, we found a lone kabocha. After Beloved picked it, it sat on my kitchen counter and, well…stared at me. For about two weeks.
Kabocha squash makes marvelous soup, and since we’ve had quite the cold snap up here lately, it finally occurred to me what I could do with the turkey wings: roast those suckers and put the meat in a nice, hearty soup with some of the kale that was also overflowing in our garden. So one evening last week I roasted both the wings and the squash while cooking that night’s dinner, in anticipation of the next night’s dinner.
It worked like a charm, too, making the following evening’s meal a snap to put together. What surprised me, though, was how much meat was on those turkey wings; I got a full 2 1/2 to 3 cups off of them when it was all said and done.
The soup turned out marvelously; rich and creamy, warm and comforting, it was simply delicious. It was also incredibly nutritious, a serving providing 36% of your daily recommended amount of potassium, 561% vitamin A, 227% vitamin C, 28% vitamin E, 50% niacin, 47% vitamin B6, 692% vitamin K, 31% phosphorus, 25% magnesium, 43% manganese and 47% selenium.
If nothing else, it will leave you feeling quite smug, knowing you ate something that was so good for you.
Note: You can, of course, use leftover cooked chicken if you prefer. This also reheats very well.
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- 2 tablespoons ghee or clarified butter
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 small red bell pepper, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium winter squash, such as kabocha, roasted
- 6 cups chicken stock or broth, preferably homemade
- 3 cups cooked turkey, chopped
- 6 cups kale, stems removed and torn into pieces (about 1 pound)
- red pepper flakes (optional)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- In a small stock pot or enameled cast iron Dutch oven, melt the ghee over medium-low heat and cook the onion until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and bell pepper and cook another minute more.
- Stir the roasted squash into the pot and increase the heat to medium; season lightly with salt and pepper and continue cooking until the squash is heated through. Gradually whisk in the chicken stock until the soup is smooth.
- Add the turkey, kale and red pepper flakes (if using) to the soup; simmer until the kale is tender, about 15 minutes. Taste and season as needed with salt and pepper before serving.
- Nutrition (per serving): 350 calories, 10.9g total fat, 70.6mg cholesterol, 429.5mg sodium, 1272.5mg potassium, 34.5g carbohydrates, 7g fiber, 8.6g sugar, 30.7g protein