Here’s what I do with my turkey legs and thighs. They’re often too tough to gnaw on, but still great for making soups and stews. Whenever I roast a whole turkey, I hack off the legs and make a pot of soup. If you just have a pile of uncooked turkey legs, first roast them with some onions, carrots and celery for about 1 1/2 hours at 400 degrees. You want them to be well-browned, but not burned.
The choice of vegetables to use in the last part, the soup, is entirely up to you. I’ve listed the ones I usually use, but use what looks best in your market or garden. I add the vegetables to the soup at the end so that they do not overcook and eat like baby food.
Wild Turkey Vegetable Soup
- 6 – 8 wild turkey legs
- 3 carrots chopped
- 3 celery stalks chopped
- 1 onion quartered
- pan spray
- 6 whole garlic cloves
- 3 sprigs fresh rosemary optional
- 1 14 ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
- 1/2 cup onion finely dice
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 cup carrots peeled and diced
- 1 cup celery diced
- 1 cup zucchini squash sliced
- 1 cup yellow squash sliced
- 3 cups cooked pasta
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with equal part cold water
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- Place the turkey legs and next 3 ingredients in a roasting pan and spray contents liberally with pan spray. Place in a preheated 400 degree oven and brown legs and vegetables evenly, turning once or twice while roasting.
- Remove contents and transfer to a large stockpot. Add some water to the roasting pan to loosen any bits stuck to the pan. Pour liquid into stockpot. Fill pot with cold water, about an inch over contents of pot. Bring to a boil and then lower heat and simmer over low heat for 4 – 6 hours. Add water as needed to just cover contents of pot.
- Place a colander (preferably lined with cheesecloth) over another stockpot. Pour contents of simmered legs, etc. through the colander into the new pot. Reserve contents of colander and allow to cool. You should have roughly 1 1/2 quarts of liquid. If more liquid is needed, add some water or, better yet, chicken broth.
- Add diced tomatoes, onion, garlic and carrots to the pot and simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes. When turkey legs have cooled, remove meat and add to pot.
- Add remaining vegetables and cook for 5 minutes. Add pasta and cornstarch mixture and cook for 5 minutes more.
- Spoon soup into bowls and top with cheese.