Half of the leftover turkey was put into the food processor together with the roasted sweet potatoes, the roasted garlic cloves and the roasted onions, the cornbread-cranberry stuffing and three slices of raw smoked bacon that we also had left over (I had draped some over a pork tenderloin the night before Thanksgiving).
Once finely chopped, it was mixed with two beaten eggs, transferred to one big bread pan and a sheet of twelve small silicone ones, and baked at 350ºF for about one hour. I didn’t add salt as everything, but the eggs, was already seasoned.
Any turkey leftover can be baked that way as long as you use at least some dark meat (more flavorful and less dry) and some kind of moistener (here I used the left over sweet potatoes but in case you have none left, some applesauce would do the trick as long as you have some starch -here cornbread cranberry stuffing but rehydrated crumbs would work too- to hold the thing together with the help of the eggs).
The other half of the turkey was cut into small pieces (except for the carcass and the bones which will be used for stock) and went into a big pot together with fresh butternut squash, peeled and cut, all the other leftover roasted vegetables (parsnips, turnips and white potatoes), some of the leftover asparagus, mushroom broth (I had rehydrated dry mushrooms to make gravy two days before), all of the lemon barley stuffing, all of the leftover drippings (except for the fat which had been removed) and lots of water -broth would have been be better but I didn’t have any- with salt, pepper, bay leaves, star anise and two inches of fresh ginger (peeled). It boiled for a while. I let it cool overnight.
This morning, I skimmed the surface to remove the thin layer of fat as well as all the hazelnut bits (from the barley stuffing) which had floated to the surface and will be put to another use. We had a bowl for lunch (with fresh baby spinach leaves just dropped into the hot soup) and the rest has been frozen by portions.
Anything can go into the making of this hearty soup. If you don’t have leftover barley, throw some pearled barley (or a cooked grain) into the pot or put some cubed slices of sourdough bread in the bowls and pour the soup over it when ready. Use whatever herb or spices you have on hand, add some other stuff from the refrigerator.
One of the best soups I ever made is one I will never be able to reproduce as I can’t remember what went into it, except the whole (rather meager) contents of my fridge that night (save for the baking soda, the mustard and the milk!) and that included leftover stew and pain d’épices (gingerbread). Needless to say, that soup has acquired a fame of legendary proportions in my kids’ minds with the passing years and they still long for it…