Thanksgiving leftovers invariably bring questions about what to do with all the turkey. Here, I’ve solved for all those delicious leftovers with this equally delicious turkey tortilla soup. It works beautifully with chicken too, but I bet you’ll have a new favorite way to use those turkey leftovers after you try this!
Growing up, it always seemed like we had turkey meat coming out of our ears after Thanksgiving. Whether my mom always bought too big a bird, or people piled their plates with all the tasty side dishes at the expense of turkey, the end result was the same. There was always so much turkey. And so, my mom would force turkey sandwiches on us for days (it seemed), and the Friday after Thanksgiving she’d take to making a big batch of turkey soup – often turkey tortilla soup. Because waste not want not. Also because: delicious.
In order to help you deal with your turkey leftovers in a similarly tasty way, I whipped up this super simple recipe that’s sure to please. It’s very customizable – feel free to swap chicken for turkey (you know, for the other 364 days of the year where you don’t have turkey leftovers), the spices for any others you like or prefer, and the toppings for whatever you find most delicious. Stir in a can of black beans to make it heartier, top with sour cream or shaved cheddar – whatever your little heart desires.
If you have homemade stock on hand – turkey or otherwise – naturally that would be excellent here. If you don’t, that’s why they make the stuff in the cans which does the trick quite nicely. I couldn’t help myself and so I made a special batch of nocrumbsleft’s turkey stock because I just needed the house to smell amazing and feel cozy and I did not regret it. If you are trying to figure out the perfect stock recipe, she has it folks.
One of my favorite products for quick and authentic Mexican flavor is Olo Foods’ chipotle paste. I have searched high and low for clean chipotles in adobo and, as far as I know, they don’t exist. The Olo chipotle paste is super squeaky clean and whole30 approved (it’s just chipotles, water, salt and citric acid), and the chipotles are already pureed (normally how I use them anyway) making it crazy easy and convenient to have on hand. Just think of it like your secret weapon – a more potent and transformative version of tomato paste! That said, if you don’t have any on hand, you can use dried chipotle powder in its place here.
To make this soup 100% Paleo, use Siete tortillas for your tortilla strips. They crisp up nicely and make a good substitute for corn tortillas. For whole30, just omit the tortillas and then garnish to your liking!
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Simple, delicious turkey tortilla soup helps you put those turkey leftovers to great use! Works with shredded chicken, too!
- 3 cups turkey or chicken stock
- 1 1/2 cups shredded cooked turkey or chicken
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
- 1 14oz can fire roasted tomatoes
- 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon Olo Chipotle Paste, or 1 teaspoon chipotle powder
- 1 Bay leaf
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- Large avocado, cut into chunks
- 3–4 corn or Paleo Siete tortillas, cut into 3 inch by 1/4 inch strips
- Avocado oil for frying
- Diamond crystal kosher salt
- Can of black beans
- Sour Cream
- Jalapeño slices
- Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot over medium high heat. When shimmering, add the onion, cooking about 3 minutes until softened. Add in the garlic and cook 1 minute until fragrant
- Add the chili powder, cumin and chipotle paste and toss onions to coat. Add two pinches of salt. Cook, letting spices toast, 1-2 minutes
- Add in the stock, fire roasted tomatoes, cilantro leaves, and bay leaf and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 30 minutes
- While the soup simmers, make the tortilla strips. Heat a few tablespoons of avocado oil in a small pan over medium high heat. When hot, add in the tortilla strips, removing and placing on a paper towel lined plate just when they start to turn brown. Don’t crowd the pan, working in batches as needed
- After the soup is done simmering, remove the bay leaf and puree mixture with an immersion blender (or transfer to a regular blender and use that) until smooth
- Return pot to heat and add in the shredded turkey (and any other add-ins you like) and cook until just heated through. Test for seasoning and add salt as needed
- Serve and top with avocado, tortilla strips, and any other garnish of your choice
- This recipe can easily be doubled, and should be if you have lots of turkey to use!
- Traditional tortilla soup has tortilla included in the puree to thicken the soup, but I don’t find that I need that here. Feel free to add a corn tortilla to the base before pureeing if you’d like that.
Keywords: tortilla soup, leftovers, turkey soup, one pot meal