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Turkey Barley Soup Print E-mail

Our theme this month is easy, inexpensive meals that use the same three key ingredients: carrots, celery and onions.

We did our shopping at an ethnic grocery story and were able to get a bag of carrots for 69 cents, a bag of onions for $1.29 and a head of celery for $1.49. The way you cut the veggies and cook them makes all the difference in each recipe.

We started this recipe with the leftovers of a turkey breast we roasted. We got a dinner one day and sandwiches the next. What we were left with was the skeleton of the bird.

Don't go, "Eeeeww!" After all, you think skeletons are fun at Halloween. Besides, bones are essential for making a good stock. Ask Emeril or any great chef.

In this case, the bones are still attached to each other so the whole thing is called a carcass.

At a certain point, the carcass will have to be removed from the stock and cooled enough for the extra meat to be picked away.

{Makes 12 - 14 bowls of soup}

You'll need:

  • 1 turkey carcass
  • 2 large carrots - diced
  • 1 stalk of celery - diced
  • 1 onion - diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
  • 12 black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic
  • 3/4 cup pearl barley
  • 8 ounces of sliced mushrooms - optional
  • Water
  • Adult help


  • A large deep pot
  • A wooden spoon
  • A large spoon
  • Tongs
  • A fork
  • A colander
  • 2 large bowls
  • A fork
  1. Start by putting the turkey carcass into the pot and covering it with water.
  2. Add the carrots, celery, onions, all the spices, and garlic. Stir.
  3. Bring the soup to a boil then turn the heat down and simmer for about 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the meat comes away from the bones. Your adult helper may have to skim a little gray froth off the top of the soup from time to time. Dipping the large spoon just below the level of the liquid will allow Dad to get under the froth and lift it out.
  4. Put the colander into one of the large bowls and set the other large bowl next to it.
  5. Here where the adult help comes in. Ask Dad or whomever is helping to carefully lift the carcass and any other bones out of the pot and place them in the colander. Some of the veggies will probably come with it but don't worry. We'll put them back in the pot.
  6. Let the turkey cool just enough to be able to work with it. Ask Dad to please pick the meat away from the carcass. If you have permission, you can help, but use a fork because everything will be hot.
  7. Return the turkey meat to the pot.
  8. Next add a the barley and simmer for another 35-40 minutes until the barley is soft but still "al dente."
  9. If you like mushrooms, you can add them in for the last 20 minutes.
  10. Serve the soup with bread and cheese and you have a hearty meal! It will keep in the refrigerator for a couple days. Pack it in a Thermos for lunch at school. It also freezes well so you can plan an encore dinner in a couple weeks.