January Splash

As I settle into some writing, I'm grateful for having gotten out for a long walk with the dog before the rains made themselves at home in my neighborhood. It's the end of January and we have temperatures nearing 60 degrees and so much rain and snow melt that most of the sidewalks are covered in something between a puddle and a flood. So while my dog and I were guaranteed to get wet while out walking around the neighborhood today, at least we avoided getting rained on and managed to get an opportunity to commiserate with the squirrels (as much as they would tolerate) and enjoy the unseasonably warm weather.

Upon our return, I was happy to have leftovers to warm for lunch. And not just any leftovers, but a beautiful bowl of turkey chowder that was brimming with lots of vegetables, tender turkey, and a creamy broth that included everything from pureed vegetables and homemade turkey broth to heavy cream and smoked paprika. I added a generous slice of crusty bread to the top of the bowl and sat down to enjoy my lunch while I watched the sky darken, thunder roll, and the rain drench everything in sight. It's rare to find a better time for soup!

The broth for this soup is the key to making it work. While you can mix and match the vegetables used in it, I really love the lovely color and subtle sweetness that the pumpkin adds to the mix. Both the carrots and sweet corn enhance that effect and the smoked paprika tends to swirl gently in rings at the top of the bowl when its ladled out. I used parsnips because I had them and I adore them, but you could use turnips or even potatoes instead. They will change the texture and flavor of the broth, but not in bad ways. Because there's a lot of sweetness added to the mix by so many of the vegetables in this chowder, don't skip the garlic or onions and avoid using a very sweet variety of onion unless you are up for a very sweet soup. You can, of course, use chopped chicken and chicken broth if you don't have turkey. I just happened to have made a turkey late last week and had those leftovers on hand for making chowder, and you know how I love planning with leftovers!

Chock Full of Veggies Turkey Chowder

  • 1 T. bacon fat or olive oil
  • 8 oz. peeled, chopped parsnips
  • 8 oz. peeled, chopped onions
  • 6 oz. peeled, seeded, and chopped pumpkin or other winter squash (or 6 oz. pumpkin puree)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • 2 quarts turkey stock
  • 10 oz. peeled, sliced carrots
  • 12 oz. corn kernels
  • 1 pound chopped, cooked turkey
  • 6 oz. heavy cream

Heat the bacon fat or olive oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the parsnips, onions, pumpkin, garlic, and seasonings and sauté until the vegetables are softened, but not browned (about 12 minutes). Add the turkey stock. If needed, add enough water to make sure the vegetables are just covered. Cover the pot and cook, stirring regularly, until the vegetables are softened enough that you can crush them with the back of a spoon.

Remove the pot from the stove and, using an immersion blender, blend the vegetables, spices, and stock to make a thick, homogenous broth. Return the pot to the stove and place over medium heat.

Add the carrots, corn kernels, and turkey. Place the cover over the pot and simmer gently until the carrots are softened (about 15 minutes). Gently stir in the heavy cream prior to serving.

  • Yields: 10 servings
  • Preparation Time: 45 minutes