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Day-After-Thanksgiving Bean Soup

The secret ingredients for this post-Thanksgiving soup are turkey gravy and turkey fat, if you have some. To make the soup even heartier, stir in diced cooked turkey just before serving.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cranberry beans, picked over, rinsed, soaked overnight and drained
  • 8 cups turkey stock
  • 3/4 cup wild rice
  • 2 to 3 Tbs. congealed turkey fat or butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 carrots, coarsely chopped
  • About 3 Tbs. port or dry sherry
  • 2 Tbs. tomato paste
  • 1 to 2 cups turkey gravy
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Minced fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish (optional)

Directions:

Place the beans in a soup pot and add water to cover by 1 1/2 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until the beans are barely tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Check periodically and add more water as needed; you want enough water to keep the beans cooking and to prevent them from burning, but less than usual. The turkey stock, which is added later on, will supply more liquid.

Add the stock and wild rice to the pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until the rice is tender, about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large fry pan over medium heat, warm the turkey fat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until very limp and golden, about 8 minutes. Add the carrots and cook for 3 minutes more. Add the port and deglaze the pan, stirring to scrape up the browned bits. Add the onion-port mixture to the soup pot along with the tomato paste and gravy. Cover the pot and cook until the rice is tender. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 15 minutes more.

Taste and adjust the seasonings with more tomato paste or port, and thin the soup with more stock if needed. Garnish the soup with parsley, ladle into bowls and serve immediately. Serves 8 to 10.

Adapted from Bean by Bean, by Crescent Dragonwagon (Workman Publishing, 2011).