Turkey, Chestnut, and Barley Soup

[quicklook-recipe prep_time=”45 min” cook_time=”2 hrs” serves=”8″ details=”” ] One of the best parts of roasting a turkey is making a

[quicklook-recipe prep_time=”45 min” cook_time=”2 hrs” serves=”8″ details=”” ]

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.

[ingredients-list title=”Ingredients” serving_size=””]

  • 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


[ingredients-list title=”Stock Ingredients” serving_size=””]

  • 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


[step-list-wrapper title=”How to make it” time=”2 hours, 45 minutes”]
[step-item number=”1″ image_url=”” title=”” ]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. [/step-item]

[step-item number=”2″ image_url=”” title=”” ] 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. [/step-item]

[step-item number=”3″ image_url=”” title=”” ] 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. [/step-item]

[step-item number=”4″ image_url=”” title=”” ]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. [/step-item] [/step-list-wrapper]

[nutrition-info calories=”302″ calories_fat=”” fat=”2g” sat_fat=”0g” choles=”0mg” sodium=”95mg” carbs=”33g” sugars=”” 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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Originally Published in Reader's Digest