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How to use Thanksgiving Leftovers

Published: December 7, 2015

Dan Eastman, culinary arts department manager at Concordia Language Villages

does have classic Thanksgivings traditions. His plans include a trip to see family in International Falls on the holiday and a celebration on the Saturday after with friends.

"We do a 'Thanksgiving after Thanksgiving,' we call it," he said, "We gather at our house. Us and least two other families, sometimes we have had up to about 30 people there. It gets pretty big and a little out of hand but there's a lot of food making involved with that. We do the traditional turkey, stuffing, gravy, cranberries, all that good stuff. Because there are so many people, we always over cook. Typically we have a fair number of leftovers."

Another tradition for many families, is just what to do with all those leftovers. That's true for Eastman, as well.

"I like to make wild rice soup with it," he said.

With only a few new ingredients and several foods served within a Thanksgiving meal, Eastman combines them to create a simple wild rice soup.

"I don't use measurements because it's based on leftovers, but whatever you use it will taste delicious. There's a bunch of cream and bacon in it and delicious vegetables and turkey," he said.

Once combined together the soup is cooked in the crockpot to make things easy.

"Nobody wants to cook for a long time on the day after Thanksgiving or even a couple days after. It goes pretty quick, you just have to chop up the vegetables," Eastman said.

Wild rice soup

• ½ pounds wild rice

• 4 cups chicken or turkey Stock, or you can use your leftover gravy

• 1 pounds leftover turkey, diced, pulled or chunked

• 1 pounds bacon: cut into small piece

• All the leftover carrot sticks, celery stick, radishes from that veggie tray, diced or sliced

• 1 yellow onion, diced

• ½ quart heavy cream

• 2 cups leftover mashed potatoes

• To taste dried thyme, salt and pepper

You will need a large soup kettle, 6 quart crock pot, cutting board, knife, large skillet, slotted spoon and spoons for stirring and tasting. A measuring cup really is not needed. Feel free to improvise with amounts. This is leftover soup, after all.

Take a large soup kettle, and add your wild rice. Rinse it really well. Add water until the pot is almost full. Put the rice on high heat until it begins to boil, then reduce the heat to a gentle boil. Boil the rice until it fully splits open. If you have lake harvested wild rice, it will cook faster than cultivated wild rice. Once the rice splits open, drain all the water. Add the rice to your crock pot, along with some stock, gravy, or even water. Add the turkey to the crock pot. Fry your cut-up bacon in a large skillet until crisp. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon, and add it to the crock pot. Reserve just enough of the bacon fat to fry the vegetables. Add your vegetables to the skillet. Depending on how many vegetables you have, you may need to do this in batches. Once they are softened, add those to the crock pot. Add the cream, and some leftover mashed potatoes. Give it a taste, then add salt, pepper and dried thyme. Taste and repeat until you like it. Let simmer in the crock pot for an hour or two. Depending on how much liquid you added in the beginning, or how long you let is simmer, you may have hot dish instead of soup. Either way, it will taste great and your leftovers will be gone.


From the Bemidji Pioneer