A flavor-packed dish made with leftovers from Christmas dinner, this turkey noodle soup is nutritious and very simple to prepare.
As a native of China, I didn’t grow up celebrating Christmas until I met my husband. Now in our Red House, having a roast dinner on the day is a firm routine (often paired with some Chinese festive dishes). Today’s recipe shares how I use Christmas leftovers to create a simple yet scrumptious noodle soup.
An easy dish to make
This warming dish comprises four parts: broth, noodles, seasonings and toppings. Using the leftovers from a classic Christmas dinner, it requires very little effort or skill to create.
To summarize, you simply need to:
- Simmer the carcass of a turkey/chicken in water to make a broth
- Cook some noodles
- Shred the leftover turkey/chicken and use it as a topping
- Add any leftover vegetable
- Season with a few common condiments and herbs
Prepare the broth
I never throw away the carcass of a roast turkey or chicken as it makes a wonderfully tasty stock. First, trim off any remaining pieces of meat for the noodle topping. Put the carcass, along with any leftover skin and bones, and a few slices of ginger into a pot. Pour in enough cold water to cover the carcass. Bring to a full boil then leave to simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.
I usually make enough broth for 6-8 servings of noodle soup with a turkey carcass or 4 servings with a chicken carcass. You may increase or reduce the water volume based on how many bowls of soup you plan to cook.
This broth will have a mild salty taste. But do not add any salt at this stage. You may adjust after mixing with other condiments during the final step.
Cook the noodles
You may use any type of noodles for this dish. For shooting this recipe, I cooked some dried wheat noodles. Rice noodles or starch-based glass noodles are fine too. Bring plenty of water to a full boil then add the noodles. Boil over medium heat until they’re just cooked (check the suggested cooking time on the package).
If you’ve got time and wish to learn something new, why not try making some noodles from scratch? Here are three homemade noodle recipes: Hand-pulled Noodles, Knife-cut Noodles and Machine-made Ramen Noodles.
Note: I’ve been asked a few times if noodles can be cooked in the broth (versus in another pot with water). I wouldn’t recommend you do so since this will make the broth starchy.
Assemble the noodle soup
The final step is to combine all the elements into individual serving bowls. Firstly, add light soy sauce, black rice vinegar, sesame oil, white pepper (or ground Sichuan pepper) and some minced garlic to each bowl. Pour in the hot broth then add the noodles.
Top with shredded turkey/chicken and whatever vegetables you have from the Christmas dinner, such as roasted brussels sprouts, carrots, green beans, parsnip, asparagus, etc. You don’t need to reheat these toppings (they’ll be warmed by the broth and noodles). But if chilled, take them out of the fridge half an hour before serving.
I also add another three toppings to elevate the flavor: scallions and/or coriander for more aroma, preserves mustard stem (Zha Cai/榨菜) for extra saltiness and a dash of homemade chili oil for an exciting kick on the palate.
Turkey Noodle Soup (A Christmas Leftover Recipe)
BEFORE YOU START
For the broth
- 1 carcass of a cooked turkey or chicken
- 4 slices ginger
For the noodles
- Dried noodles, either wheat-based or rice-based - about 80g per serving (see note 1)
For the seasonings (measurement for each bowl)
For the toppings
- Cooked turkey or chicken, coarsely shredded - bring to room temperature if chilled
- Cooked vegetables, e.g. brussels sprouts, carrots, green beans, asparagus, etc. - bring to room temperature if chilled
- Preserved mustard stem (Zha Cai), finely chopped - or pickled radish, kimchi, etc. (Optional)
- Scallions and/or coriander, finely chopped
- Chili oil - to taste
Prepare the broth
- Put the carcass in a pot. Add ginger and enough cold water to cover the carcass. Bring to a full boil then cover with a lid. Leave to simmer over low heat for 30 minutes. Pass the broth through a sieve and discard the solid bits.
Cook the noodles
- Five minutes before the broth is ready, start cooking the noodles. In another pot, bring plenty of water to a full boil. Add noodles and cook them following the instructions on the package (See note 2).
Assemble the bowls
- While waiting, add all the ingredients for the seasonings to each serving bowl. Pour in the broth then add the drained noodles. Place the toppings over the noodles: shredded turkey/chicken, cooked vegetables, preserved mustard stem, and scallions/coriander. Drizzle chili oil over.
NUTRITION DISCLOSURE: Nutritional information on this website is provided as a courtesy to readers. It should be considered estimates. Please use your own brand nutritional values or your preferred nutrition calculator to double check against our estimates.