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Pot Luck Soup

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Makes: 12 servings adjust
This is a soup designed to use up all the leftover odds-and-ends that might be lurking in your refrigerator. Exactly what goes into the soup depends on what you have, but regardless, the process is the same. The recipe utilizes leftover poultry carcasses as a base, but you can easily adapt it to any other kind of meat provided you have the bones.



  • 1 Turkey, Leftover turkey carcass, You can also use 2 leftover chicken carcasses. This works regardless of how the poultry was originally prepared, but the flavor is best if the poultry was roasted or deep-fried.
  • 4 quarts Water
  • 1 Onion, Diced. Choose a large one.
  • 4 Celery Ribs, Diced.
  • 2 Carrots, Diced.
  • 2 cloves Garlic, Smashed and minced.
  • 1 Dried Whole Bay Leaf
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt, As always, if you are using regular granulated salt, use about half.
  • 15 whole Peppercorns
  • 1 ounce Fresh Herbs, Use whatever is handy. Sage, rosemary, parsley, and thyme all work well and you can use all of them or any combination.

Step 1

Put everything but the leftover veggies into the pot. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for about an hour or so. This goes faster if you can put some kind of weight on the lid to increase the pressure inside the pot a little bit.

Step 2

After an hour or so, check the pot. If there is any foam at the top, skim it off. Taste the stock. Is it rich and thick-feeling or does it seem more watery? If watery, cook it for a longer period of time. Also add salt if it's needed.

Step 3

When the stock is the way you want it (this is usually when the carcass has fallen to pieces), carefully strain out the solid matter, reserving the liquid and returning that to the pot. Pick over the strained mixture and capture any little bits of meat that might have come off the carcass. Put those back into the pot. (if you have leftover poultry in any form: sliced, diced, whatever, you can add that, now, also).

Step 4

Some people will remove the bones and put the onions, carrots, and celery back into the soup (I am one), but you could also quickly saute some more of those things and put them into the soup that way. It's whatever tastes best to you.


  • 2 pounds Leftover veggies, This is where you clean out the fridge! Corn, green beans, potatoes, peas, okra (boiled or fried), virtually any vegetables that you might have leftover in the fridge, regardless of how they were prepared, can go into the pot.

Step 5

Put the leftover veggies directly into the pot. Return to a light boil, cover, reduce heat again, and simmer for about 30 minutes. We want the leftovers to get hot AND to add some of their flavor to the soup. If the veggies were stored in a liquid (such as peas, corn, or green beans), put that liquid in, also. Taste the soup prior to serving and add salt or pepper as needed.

Step 6

You can serve this as-is, or you can serve it over rice. You could cook some pasta and add that to the soup (or if you had leftover cooked pasta...!) The variations here are limited only by what you enjoy. Add hot sauce and worcestershire and you have a kind of creole gumbo thing. Add lemongrass, cilantro, lime juice and fish sauce and you've gone Thai. Add cumin, chili powder, and mexican hot sauce and now it's tex-mex. You really can do anything you like starting from this simple base recipe!
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