Saturday, November 28, 2009

old becomes new

The best part about Thanksgiving?  Leftovers! Really good leftovers and LOTS of them! I have two soup recipes to share that are perfect for the day (or two) after Thanksgiving. The first soup I actually call Leftover soup. It is adapted from a recipe I found in Saveur magazine several years ago where you take ALL your leftovers and dump them in a pot with water and simmer for an hour. If you are eating turkey, add leftover turkey too. It may be hard to believe, but this soup really tastes good and I am not kidding when I say ALL the leftovers, including stuffing! I described this soup to my sister this morning and she said, um, yuck. Well, fine, don't try it. It is good and you will never know.
These are some of the things I put in my Leftover soup this year from L to R: butternut squash braised in apple cider, swiss chard gratin, leeks baked in mustard cream.
Adding some fresh ingredients like chopped parsley will help bring the soup to life.

This is what the soup looks like while it is cooking. See, not so strange. Hey, my kids ate it and LOVED it.  THAT is the true test!

The other soup has two inspirations, the first being a cup of leftover pumpkin puree that didn't make it into a pie. The other piece is some fiery chili peppers that my sister (yes the same skeptical one) brought home from her recent trip to Vietnam.
My sister brought me some spices from a market in Vietnam, packed in these sweet little baskets. I can't wait to try them all. The chili peppers are insanely good, really fiery and fresh with an indescribable fragrance.

The ensuing soup is a cream of pumpkin with ginger/garlic/chili paste. It is sweetened with leftover applesauce and in this case heavy cream (leftover from the creamed onions) where I might otherwise use coconut milk. This soup's distinctive flavor is a blend of creamy sweet and spicy and it is delicious. It is perfect in small portions as an appetizer because it is so rich.

Making a paste with a mortar and pestle is really fun. You get to POUND your food. Very satisfying.

So look around your kitchen and don't be afraid to put those Thanksgiving day leftovers to good use. These soups will bring yesterday's mashed potatoes to today's new heights.

Leftover Soup
1 onion chopped
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 cup of stuffing
1 cup of mashed potatoes
1 cup of baked squash
1 cup of gravy (optional for vegetarians)
1 cup of cooked turkey meat (optional for vegetarians)
1 cup of any cooked vegetable
6 cups of water or stock
1/2 cup chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Saute chopped onion in olive oil in a large soup pot. When onion is softened and golden add all the remaining ingredients and simmer for one hour. Taste to adjust seasoning. Serve over cooked macaroni or noodles if you like!

Pumpkin Ginger Soup
1 inch of peeled fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves
2 dried chili peppers
1 Tbs canola oil
1 cup of pumpkin puree
1/2 cup applesauce
4 cups water
1/2 cup heavy cream or coconut milk
With a mortar and pestle pound ginger, chili and garlic into a paste (or use a blender, adding a Tbs of water to make the paste). Heat oil in soup pot and saute ginger paste for five minutes till it starts to turn golden. Add the rest of the ingredients except the cream and simmer for 15 minutes till the flavors are blended. Taste to see if the flavors are balanced. Add salt or a teaspoon of sugar to get the right blend. Put the soup in a food processor or food mill to puree. Put pureed soup back into the pot and add the heavy cream or coconut milk and bring soup up to a simmer. Serve hot!

Well, the first one does sound "different", but I could definitely see why it would be delicious. On Thanksgiving, I like to make a "mish-mosh" of all the different flavors on my plate, letting every dish blend into the other. I scoop up a little of everything in each bite. So, why wouldn't this soup taste good? That's exactly what it is. And, it makes my job of wine pairing very easy! I would enjoy the same wines I would have with my Thanksgiving feast! Deb - there was no cranberry sauce in your soup. What are your thoughts on adding it? Just curious! So, getting back to the wines - I would choose a buttery, rich Chardonnay and/or a fruit forward, soft and elegant Pinot Noir.

The pumpkin ginger soup sounds outrageous! I definitely will give that a try. To pair a wine with anything, again, you must look to the seasonings, spices, herbs, and sauces. Pair the wine with those elements. The ginger, chile and coconut milk ingredients are reminscent of Thai cuisine. Certain wines have an afinity with Asian flavors. Look to a Gewurtztraminer, with wonderful flavors and aromas of lychee fruit and spice. I think this combination would be absolutely fabulous! Hugel makes outstanding Gewurtztraminer as does Schaetzel. As I often mention, always ask your local wine shop for recommendations.  But my advice would be to look to Alsace, France for a spectacular example of this incredibly aromatic, wonderful varietal.


  1. It is funny you should ask about cranberry sauce because I agonized about throwing it in- to the pumpkin soup, not the leftover soup. It really would not work in the leftover soup. But it would add the perfect sweet sour I was looking for in the pumpkin soup. I was torn about the color more than the flavor. I ended up putting some apricot-ginger chutney into the pumpkin soup instead. I had made it from one of Mark Bittman's 101 thanksgiving recipes in the Times last week (it was good!).

  2. I would have never thought of putting in other leftovers like squash and mashed potatoes in a post-thanksgiving soup but it makes sense! I know this is non-veg but I took home the turkey carcass from my sister-in-law's house cooked it down for 2 hours with leeks, carrots, celery herbs from the garden and then drained that and added sauteed carrots, leeks and celery with some boiled Tuscan Kale and it was heavenly.

  3. Now I sort of regret having eaten all the stuffing already (only sort of!)...I would never have thought of putting it into the soup! I will have to try that next year.


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