Turkey, Chestnut, and Barley Soup

Quick look

  • prep 45 min    cook 2 hrs
  • serves 8

One of the best parts of roasting a turkey is making a big pot of soup from the rest of the bird. If you’re not roasting a bird, use low-sodium canned chicken broth instead of the homemade stock. Add winter vegetables and chestnuts for a satisfying, healthy meal.


  • 2 pounds cooked turkey breast (boneless)
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 4 large turnips, peeled and chopped
  • 4 large celery stalks, chopped
  • 6 ounces pearl onions, peeled
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 8 ounces Brussels sprouts, halved or chopped
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped chestnuts
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Stock Ingredients

  • 1 turkey carcass (from at least a 12-pound bird) or 5 pounds turkey parts, on bone
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2 large celery stalks, coarsely chopped
  • 10 sprigs each fresh parsley and thyme
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 12 black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon salt

    How to make it  2 hours, 45 minutes

  • 1

    Begin by making the stock. Break up the turkey carcass, discarding any skin, and place in an 8-quart stockpot. Add enough cold water to cover (about 12 cups), and bring to a boil over high heat; skim off any foam with a slotted spoon. Add the remaining ingredients for the stock and return to a full boil.

  • 2

    Lower the heat and simmer the stock gently, uncovered, for 1 1/2 hours. Strain and discard the bones and vegetables (you need 9 cups stock). Skim off any fat and return the stock to the stockpot.

  • 3

    To make the soup, return the stock to a boil. Remove the skin from the turkey breast and cut the turkey into bite-size pieces (you need 6 cups). Add the turkey to the stockpot, along with the carrots, turnips, celery, onions, and barley. Simmer the soup, uncovered, until the barley is tender, about 30 minutes.

  • 4

    Add the sprouts and chestnuts and simmer just until the sprouts are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve steaming hot.

Nutritional Information(per serving)

  • Calories: 302
  • Fat: 2g
  • Saturated Fat: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Sodium: 95mg
  • Carbs: 33g
  • Protein: 3g
  • Fiber: 6g

3 Variations:
In-a-hurry turkey soup: Substitute 9 cups canned low-sodium chicken broth for the homemade turkey stock. Pour the broth into the stockpot and bring to a boil over high heat. Proceed by adding and cooking the vegetables.

Vegetable garden turkey soup: Substitute 1 cup uncooked white rice for the barley. Omit the sprouts and chestnuts; add 2 cups fresh or frozen green peas and 1 cup chopped tomatoes. Simmer 10 minutes more if using fresh peas (only 5 minutes more for frozen peas).

Turkey noodle soup: Omit the barley, sprouts, and chestnuts. Decrease the cooking time from 30 minutes to 15 minutes. Add 1 cup uncooked angel hair pasta and 1 cup chopped red bell pepper. Return to a boil and cook until pasta is tender, about 3 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the parsley, then top with 1/4 cup chopped dry roasted peanuts.

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