Monday, November 25, 2013

Leftover Turkey Idea: Turkey and Dirty Rice Soup

In just a few days, people will be staring a leftover turkey and wondering about what to make with the Thanksgiving remains.  One of my favorite things to do with turkey is make a Kentucky Hot Brown sandwich.  

This soup is a close second for us.  It puts a Louisiana spin on the wild rice and turkey soup that my mom made when I was younger.  I know for Cajun I should have just stuck with the Trinity (peppers, onion, celery) and skipped the carrot but I like carrots in soup. 

turkey leftovers, leftover turkey

Smoked Turkey and Dirty Rice Soup

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup diced white onion
  • 1/4 cup diced celery
  • 1/4 cup diced carrot
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 8 cups water
  • 4 ea bouillon cubes
  • 8 oz package Zatarains Dirty Rice (with seasonings)
  • 2-3 cups chopped turkey
  • 2 cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • hot sauce to garnish if desired
  1. Preheat a stock pan over medium high heat and melt butter.  Sauté veggies for 5 minutes, until starting to turn tender.  Season with a few pinches of salt and pepper while sauteing.  Sprinkle in the flour and stir until blended into a light roux (about 1-3 minutes).
  2. Whisk in 1-2 cups of water gradually while constantly whisking until the roux is well combined into the liquid.  Stir in the rest of the water and add the bouillon cubes.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes. 
  3. Add the turkey, kidney beans, rice, thyme and oregano and let simmer for 25 minutes longer.  Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed.  
Our daughter's family can't make it to Knoxville this week, so I smoked a pair of turkey breasts yesterday to overnight down to her.   I brined them in my orange and bourbon brine overnight.  The seasoning was Chris Lilly's poultry rub that I had ground finely.   I smoked them on my Egg using coal and sugar maple wood chips that I got from Larry at Big Dude's Eclectic Ramblings

The cooking temp was 325f with an  indirect set up.  I did put liquid in the drip pan, not for moisture, the Egg stays plenty moist.  But the liquid does keep the drippings from burning and creating acrid smoke like poultry does often.

Once they hit an internal temp of 100f, I basted them with a mix of melted butter, white wine and agave nectar.  

I had my Thermoworks ChefAlarm set to go off at 155f and I wanted to pull the breasts out of the cooker at 157f.  

Smoking hot breasts.

I cut off the breast halves and sliced them and cooled them down to 40f  as fast as I could.  Then we vacuum sealed them.  To ship it we are using an insulated box with frozen cool packs on bottom and top.  I get perishable stuff that way all the time.

After slicing off the breast halves, the two carcasses had almost 3 cups of meat that Alexis picked from them and that is what we used to make this leftover soup.

Happy Thanksgiving
This is probably my last post before Thanksgiving so I want to share what I am thankful for this year.  
  • My family and friends - for putting up with this crazy hobby of mine and supporting me.
  • The BBQ family - I am lucky to be a part of the best group of people around.  BBQ folks are the most unselfish, caring, and helpful people that you will ever meet.  They will do anything they can to beat you at a competition but they will also bend over backwards to help a stranger in need.
  • My sponsors and partners for 2013 - Johnsonville, Craycort Cast Iron Grates, McCormick,, Thermoworks, and Pit Barrel Cooker.    I have a few changes going on for 2014 and some new sponsors coming on board, but thank these companies for their support in 2013.  
  • My readers and audience - when I first started this blog almost 5 years ago, I was just keeping track of my cooks on the grill.  I never thought anyone would actually read this stuff.  Thanks for humoring me.  
I hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving and get to share time with your families.  


  1. Those look like perfection! The soup's a great idea too.

  2. You are such a good dad! I am sure your daughter and her family will be so happy to receive that tasty gift in the mail. The soup looks flavorful and delicious.

  3. I always make soup with the left over turkey. Nothing as fancy as this though. This sounds better than the original turkey. GREG

  4. Im a soup fanatic! This looks delish!

  5. Chris -- That looks awesome, thanks for the post! Silly question, do you happen to know where you found that neat bowl? Dan

    1. Oops I replied in wrong spot. See my reply at the bottom.

  6. I am definitely trying this! Looks great!!

  7. I know I shouldn't say this but seriously awesome breasts! I think I'll definetely be trying the brown sandwich though, drooling at that!

  8. This is definitely a nice alternative once you're all sandwich-ed out but still have tons of turkey left over!

  9. This does sound like a great way to use up leftover turkey... I'm hoping to have enough this year to not only try your Kentucky hot brown sandwich, but I found a recipe for hot brown soup that I want to try too!! And now I need to add this soup to the list!

    1. Argh! I was going to do a Kentucky hot brown soup but then googled it and found someone had already done it too. I'm still going to do my own version.

  10. You and Alexis are such great parents. Your daughter is very lucky and so are your other kids. Happy Thanksgiving Chris. I would be very happy with that yummy soup next Friday.

  11. You smoked a turkey and over-nighted (is that a word?) to your daughter...that should get you a Father-of-the-Year badge at least! But wouldn't a Blog-Friend of the Year badge be better?!? Send me a smoked turkey and I'll send you a badge! Happy T-day to you and yours!

  12. Smoking a turkey and sending it over-night to your daughter should get you a Father-of-the-Year badge! But wouldn't a Blog-Friend-of-the-Year badge be good to own, too?? Send me a turkey and I'll send you a badge! Happy T-day Chris! xo, Nan

  13. Happy Thanksgiving to you too! What a great idea - I hope you don't mind if I share this on Wednesday with a link back to your blog on my Facebook sharing page!

  14. Dan - I can't remember where we bought them years ago but I found very similar ones on Amazon:

    If you need them ASAP, you could visit retail stores like Williams Sonoma, Crate and Barrel, or Sur la Table and ask them for french onion soup bowls or handled/lidded soup bowls.

    1. Perfect -- thanks so much for pointing me in the right direction!

  15. Mary - no problem at all, thanks for sharing!

  16. Well thanks to you I'm conflicted. I have a packet of my favorite Dirty rice product from our Farmer's Market and I've been wanting to make a Kentucky Hot Brown for years. Hope there's enough left overs. Happy Thanksgiving Chris.

  17. Happy Thanksgiving Chris and Alexis. I will be making your soup and am thankful for the recipe.

  18. Happy Holiday Chris, May your bird have brown skin and nice juicy breasts and I hope your turkey turns out too.

  19. Very nice!!!!

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

  20. Great post Chris and as it turns out, I have a box of that dirty rice that I nearly tossed out on Monday - now I have a use. I used your turkey brine, less the bourbon and oranges for our smoked turkey and it was delicious. You're a great dad to make good turkey happen for your daughter.

  21. I think I'm the only one who read the recipe! Where does the dirty rice mix enter?

    1. Sorry about that. I had edited it but then failed to re-publish the update. Fixed now.


Comments are moderated and won't appear immediately.