As I have shared before, our Black Friday tradition is to make turkey and andouille sausage gumbo. With as much turkey as we prepare, however, we still have plenty of leftovers for sandwiches, additional types of soup, and even to put into the freezer for later. For us, working with the leftover turkey is part of our Thanksgiving weekend fun. We will typically oven roast a medium sized turkey and then smoke two turkey breasts. We smoke one with cajun spices and one with herbs from the garden.
This soup includes wild rice which provides the Minnesota North Woods flair. Wild rice is actually the grain that comes from a grass. Three species of wild rice are native to North America. The one I will emphasize here is Zizania palustris, which is native to the Great Lakes region of the United States and Canada. This species was historically harvested by the Ojibwa This picture illustrates the traditional harvesting process with one individual tasked with paddling the canoe with others threshing the grain into the bottom of the canoe.
Wild rice has a distinct flavor and is also highly nutritious. Wild rice contains 4 grams of protein per 100 calories and is second only to oats in terms of protein content among grains. Wild rice is also a great source of lysine, dietary fiber and B vitamins.
Here is how we make this post-Thanksgiving favorite.
2/3 cup uncooked wild rice
2 cups water
6 tablespoons butter
1/4 - 1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 - 1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 - 1 cup sliced carrots
1/3 cup flour
2 quarts turkey (or chicken) broth
2 cups chopped cooked turkey
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup half and half
1. Bring the wild rice and water to a boil in the saucepan. Simmer until the rice is tender, approximately 40-45 minutes (wild rice needs longer to cook relative to white rice). Allow the rice to set for about 5 minutes and fluff with a fork. Set aside until later.
2. Melt the butter in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until the onion becomes soft. Stir in the celery and carrots and cook until they are slightly softened.
3. Stir in the flour and cook until it becomes a pale yellowish color (something like in the picture below).
4. Whisk in the turkey broth until no lumps of flour remain. Simmer until the vegetables are tender.
5. Stir in the wild rice, turkey, salt, pepper, and almonds. Here's an approximation of the turkey. Of course, you can include as much as you want. Simmer for another few minutes until the entire mixture is heated through. We like to include a mixture of our smoked turkey and our regular roasted turkey.
6. Stir in the lemon juice and half-and-half. Bring the soup almost to a boil (avoids the half-and-half separating out). Serve warm. Note: you can also freeze this soup as well. We typically double the recipe, enjoy a meal's worth and then freeze the rest.
Wishing you blessings as we anticipate the Thanksgiving season.