Jan’s new job is very stressful. When she is stressed, she wants comfort food. For her this is soup, today it is turkey. The “wild” in this title is the wild rice, not the alcoholic beverage—although if you feel cheated, it would not hurt the dish to add it when you add the leeks and carrots.
Karl’s Wild Turkey Barley Soup
3 turkey legs (or two thighs)
2 Tbs. olive oil, separate uses
½ tsp. black pepper
Pinch Kosher salt
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 Tbs. dried Porchini mushrooms
46 oz. low sodium chicken broth
½ cup pearl barley
¼ cup wild rice
1 tsp. thyme
¼ tsp. sage, rubbed
2 leeks, white part only
2 cups spinach, frozen
½ cup red bell pepper, diced
1. Cut two or three deep slashes into each side of the turkey legs.
2. Rub each leg with olive oil and lightly salt and pepper them.
3. Put the turkey into a baking pan and scatter the onions around them.
4. Broil the turkey and onions on high for 10 minutes.
Tip: Have the oven rack on its highest placement so that the meat is about an inch from the heating element.
5. Turn the turkey legs over and stir the onions so that they do not burn. Continue broiling for ten more minutes.
Tip: If any of the onions have burned to a crisp, discard that piece. A little char is good, solid black is not.
6. Re-hydrate the mushrooms in one cup of hot water for ten minutes. Remove the mushrooms from the liquid and coarsely chop them.
7. Transfer the turkey and onions to a soup pot and add the mushrooms, chicken broth, barley, rice, thyme, and sage.
Tip: Gently pour the mushroom liquid into the baking pan to rinse out the remaining onions, add this to the pot. Use only the clear liquid and try to leave the mushroom debris in the cup
Note: Wash the pan; it is to be used again later.
8. Bring the pot to a boil, lower the heat and simmer, covered, for one hour.
9. Cut the leeks in half lengthwise and slice them into one inch pieced. Chop the carrots into one inch chunks.
10. Put the leeks and carrots into the baking pan and toss them with the remaining olive oil.
11. Remove the turkey legs from the pot and strip most of the meat from them into a bowl.
Tip: Grip the bottom of the leg with tongs and scrape the meat free with a paring knife. The meat should be tender enough at this point that it should just slide right off.
12. Nestle the bare bones into the leeks and carrots and broil for ten minutes.
Tip: Keep a close eye on the leeks and stir them, if necessary, to keep them from burning.
13. Add the carrots, leeks, and browned bones to the soup pot and continue simmering for 20 minutes.
Note: I had used only a quarter cup of barley and I decided that there was not enough starch in my soup. It was too late to add more barley, so I added a hand full of wide noodles.
14. When the turkey meat has cooled, remove any skin and tendons and break it into small bites.
15. Remove the bones from the soup and add the frozen spinach and turkey meat. Simmer for ten more minutes.
Tip: Check the seasoning and add more salt and pepper, if necessary.
16. Stir in the red bell pepper and serve.