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Test Kitchen: Turkey leftovers get soup makeover

By Jessica Rodrigo
Dec. 4, 2013 at 6:04 a.m.

Smoked turkey and lentils turned Thanksgiving leftover soup. Of course, the lentils and collard greens weren't part of the big meal but they went well together. This soup gets better and better the longer it sits, so that's good, too.

Lentil and turkey soup

Makes 7-8 servings

• 1 15.5 oz. bag of lentils, rinsed

•  10 cups of water

• 2 cups chopped turkey

• 1 medium onion, chopped

• 3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped

• 1 celery stalk, sliced down the middle but left in one piece

• 1 tbsp. butter

• 1-2 cups of collard greens, chopped

•  Fresh crushed black peppercorns

• Salt to taste

• Splash of white wine (optional)

Saute onions and garlic in butter just until they begin to sweat. Season with salt and black peppercorns. Add about 8 cups of water and cook lentils with celery stalk for about 45 minutes with the lid on. Check occasionally to ensure there is enough cooking liquid; add water if it looks too low. When the lentils begin to soften, add the turkey and collard greens to the soup and cook for another 15 to 20 minutes. Near the end of the cooking time, add a splash of white wine and serve hot.

Can't make it? Go get it.

Soup made daily

• ADDRESS: Jason's Deli, 5301 N. Navarro St.

• PHONE: 361-575-3354

• WHEN: 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Sunday

There's no need to buy groceries when there are bags full of Thanksgiving leftovers stashed away in the refrigerator. The biggest hurdle is trying to find out what to do with them. If you're anything like me, you probably still have oodles of food left over.

This recipe came to me when I was pilfering through our pantry looking for goodies to stuff in the Food Bank of the Golden Crescent barrel in our break room. They will take nonperishable food items that have been hanging out in the dark corners of your pantry up to six months beyond the marked expiration dates, so don't toss them out.

Set them aside and drop them off at the food bank or any of the drop-off barrels located at different locations in the area. I found a few cans of tomatoes and chicken broth and placed them in a bag to donate.

I found a bag of lentils hidden behind some tea boxes in the back of our pantry and decided to make some soup with the smoked turkey from Luke's grandma's house. I had two bundles of collard greens I hadn't touched yet, so I thought it would make a great addition to the soup and add some color.

It made a large batch of soup, so I portioned some of the dry (brothless) lentils and turkey, cooled it in a bag and put it in the freezer to come back to on another day. I can just add chicken stock and fresh greens (collards, spinach, cabbage, etc.) and heat it back up on a cold day.

Hopefully, that should be the last of the turkey leftovers, too.

What did you make with your Thanksgiving leftovers? Send a message to jrodrigo@vicad.com or tweet @EatsEatsEats. I'm always hungry.

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