A Super Dish for Wintry Suppers: Smoked Turkey and Lentil Soup
An embarrassingly long time ago I found a recipe from Food & Wine for a soup that sounded good—soothing, flavorful, and hearty. The recipe called for a smoked turkey wing as a healthier and fairly inexpensive way to flavor the soup. It sounded great, and I wasted no time purchasing a smoked turkey wing. I was going to go get some dried cranberry beans that the soup also required, and I was going to make that soup right away!
When I didn’t get around to getting the beans or making the soup, I put the turkey wing in the freezer for another use. There it sat and sat and sat. One day, Will finally asked if he could just ditch the smoked turkey wing—which was hardly recognizable as such under the layer of frost that had formed between it and the plastic wrapping. So I had to take quick action. No longer having ready access to the original recipe I was interested in, I did a quick search and found online a recipe for a lentil soup using smoked turkey. That was even better since we almost always had some lentil lying around.
As I scurried around getting all the ingredients ready and letting the turkey wing defrost on the counter top, Will expressed some mild misgivings. After all, the wing had been frozen for many months, and perhaps the soup just won’t be that appetizing… However, given my argument that all the ingredients were relatively inexpensive—and available on hand to boot!—he gave in and decided to trust me.
Here’s a link to the recipe that I mostly followed with a few changes recorded below (http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/lentil-soup-with-smoked-turkey).
2 T extra virgin olive oil, and extra for drizzling
4 cloves of garlic
2 celery ribs, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 medium or ½ large onion, chopped
1 can of chopped tomatoes (14-16 oz), preferably a fire-roasted Muir Glen (because it adds some extra smokiness)
2 bay leaves
1 cup green (French) lentils
1-1½ lb. smoked turkey wing
2 quarts vegetable broth, chicken broth, or water (or any combination of these)
1 rind of, and ¼ cup freshly grated, Parmigiano-Reggiano (or Grana Padano) cheese.
4-5 small (or 2-3 larger) red potatoes, peeled and sliced into ¼ inch rounds (and cut further in half if large)
¼ cup chopped parsley
salt and fresh ground pepper
1. Heat the oil in a large soup pot and then add the chopped vegetables (garlic, celery, carrots, onion) and let vegetables soften, about 8-10 minutes over moderate heat.
2. Add the canned tomatoes (with their juices), bay leaves, lentils, smoked turkey, cheese rind and 2 quarts of vegetable, chicken broth, or water (or any combination of these liquids). After the soup comes to a boil, partially cover and then simmer for about 1 hour, adding potatoes for the last 10 minutes.
3. Discard bay leaves and cheese rind. Remove the turkey wing from the soup and carefully shred the meat. Put the turkey meat back in the soup, add parsley, and season to taste.
[Note: Using two forks helps with shredding hot meat from the bones. Do not touch with your hands!]
4. After ladling soup into piping hot bowls, sprinkle additional cheese and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil for an Italian touch (pictured at the top of post). Serve with bread and a small salad for a lovely dinner!
[Note: Microwaving bowls filled with a cup of water helps to get soup bowls nice and hot.]
Doctored up with fire-roasted tomatoes and and a cheese rind and flavorful spices like bay leaves, it was not at all noticeable that the smoked turkey wing sat in our freezer for many months. In fact, this soup was so hearty and tasty that we’ve decided that we need to get another smoked turkey wing to have around the next time the urge strikes us to enjoy some super soup for supper!