Got Leftover Halal Turkey? Make This Chile-Flavored Tortilla Soup

Real home cooks know: the best part about turkey-dinner are the leftovers. And with a giant carcass and good amount of turkey meat in your fridge from the night before, what do you make? Soup, of course. And what better soup to warm you up on a chilly November day than chile-flavored tortilla soup?

As a good post-turkey dinner soup recipe should be, this one is simple and easy. Taking inspiration from Rick Bayless’ recipe for Sopa Azteca that uses chicken, I made a version that lets you use a leftover carcass and meat from turkey dinner.

And if you’re short of any ingredients, send that already awake family member staying over to go get some while you make the rest of the easy stuff. Here’s how it’s done.

Step 1: Make easy turkey broth

[Photos: Saqib Shafi]

[Photos: Saqib Shafi]

That leftover carcass with bones and some meat all over it will make for some excellent homemade broth. Simply cover your leftover turkey and some aromatics and simmer for an hour to an hour and a half. The result will be a rich homemade stock for your soup.

Step 2: Make a chile-tomato base


Here’s the key. We’re going to build a flavor base for the soup. Diced tomatoes come from a can, and fire roasted would be nice if you can find them. For an herb, I’m using traditional epazote because I live close to a Mexican grocery, but that leftover fresh sage or thyme from turkey dinner works just as well. The final part? A key component. Ground Ancho chile powder. You can find this in the spice aisle to easily add in or in the Mexican area of the international aisle as whole chiles you can microwave-toast and grind yourself for a more flavorful and cost-effective approach. In a pinch? A canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce will work just fine, but will be spicier with a smoked flavor. Do whatever’s easy for you. Just do not use Desi-style laal mirchi powder. That will burn your mouth off.

Step 3: Add broth and simmer


The flavor keeps building. The turkey stock gets added to the cooked down tomato-chile base and the whole thing simmers for just 15 minutes.

Step 4: Blend or leave chunky


The soup is done and it’s up to you how you want to serve it. Blend it smooth in a blender for a clean texture or leave it chunky for a more rustic approach. For something in between, use a stick blender.

Step 5: Add leftover turkey meat and serve


Now to bring it all home. Add your leftover roasted turkey meat and season to taste with salt. This soup is ready to serve.


So, where are the tortillas? Served alongside the soup, of course. Dip them just halfway into the soup for chips that are partly soaked, partly crispy. They add great textural contrast for the broth of the soup.


Serve alongside avocado, Mexican crema (I use sour cream), and limes and you’ve got a meal that will not only feed a hungry crowd of family for lunch, it may be even just as exciting as turkey dinner itself.

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