First, we have a cookie emergency. Now, a turkey neck accident! Saturday morning, while I was taking a container of cake out of the freezer, a package of frozen, raw turkey necks slipped out and crashed to the floor. Normally, if something would fall out of my freezer, I would just pick it up and put it back. However, since Jewish law forbids cooking on Shabbat, anything that can’t be eaten without being cooked first is hands-off until Saturday night. So, I had about a kilo of turkey necks defrosting on the floor next to my refrigerator for twelve hours that needed to be cooked Saturday night.
I most often see turkey necks thrown in as extras into chicken soup. Sometimes, they serve as the meat in cholent, but I wasn’t going to cook for the following Shabbat nearly a week in advance. So we had turkey neck soup for supper Sunday night.
Turkey neck soup has a richer and deeper flavor than chicken soup, and it is likewise fattier. Turkey necks are also much cheaper than most cuts of poultry or meat. This makes sense because there are full of bones, but they add great flavor to soup. The two options for dealing with the necks are to pull the meat off the cooked bones and add it back to the pot or individual bowls or, for the more adventurous eaters, to place a neck in each bowl and let them pick away on their own.
I had a bunch of celery leaves in my freezer, which I put in the soup, and my kids actually ate. Yes, they ate cooked greens! Adding celery leaves to soup is a great way to get more greens into your diet, and they are much cheaper than popular alternatives like spinach or kale. I have seen recipes that use raw celery leaves, but cooking takes off their bitter edge.
Tired of the same old chicken soup? Try turkey neck soup. It’s a whole meal in one pot!
Turkey Neck Soup Recipe
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 60 minutes
1 package (about 1 kg/2 pounds) turkey necks, fresh or defrosted
4-6 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
2 teaspoons turmeric
4 stalks celery
2 cups celery leaves
1/2 cup fresh or frozen dill
1 cup fine noodles
- Put turkey necks in large pot on high flame. Brown on all sides.
- While the turkey is browning, dice onion and garlic. Add them to the pot. You don’t need oil to saute them because you are frying them in turkey fat.
- Add spices. Mix well.
- While the onions and garlic are sauteing, dice the carrots, celery, and celery leaves. Add to the pot.
- Add water to cover the turkey, about 2liters/half gallon.
- Simmer for at least an hour.
- About ten minutes before serving, add dill and noodles. Mix well.
- Serve with a turkey neck in each bowl or pull meat off the bones and add to the bowl or pot.
Want another idea for a filling, protein-packed soup? Try Red Lentil Soup.