Turkey Lemon Barley Soup- Thanksgiving leftovers reinvented

I hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Now that Black Friday has arrived, you have two questions to ask yourself: where should I going shopping to get the best deals and what can I do with all these leftovers?

Well, I can help answer the second question.  You can make soup!  In years past, I would make the traditional turkey noodle soup, but this year I wanted something different.  This turkey lemon barley soup has warm Middle Eastern flavors like turmeric, cumin, and ginger along with a brightness from the lemon juice.  The intense yellow color of the soup is like having a little bit of sunshine in a bowl.  The barley and pieces of turkey really make this soup a satisfying meal.  I used freshly made turkey stock, but feel free to use premade low sodium chicken or vegetable stock.  I made an impromptu change to the original recipe by adding grated carrot.  The subtle sweetness of the carrot was a pleasant addition to the soup.  This recipe makes 6-8 servings, so depending on your family's size, you can eat some now and freeze some for later.  Here's to good food and gladness!

CLICK HERE for a printer friendly recipe.  Recipe adapted from SimpleRecipes.com. 

Ingredients for Turkey Lemon Barley Soup

  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow or white onion, minced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp to 1 Tbsp coarse salt
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 3 Tbsp of freshly squeezed lemon (about half of a large lemon)
  • 3 strips of lemon zest- Remove zest from the lemon with a vegetable peeler or paring knife.  Avoid keeping the white pith on the inside of the strips because it will cause bitterness.
  • 1 cup of barley
  • 6 cups of turkey stock
  • 2 cups of cooked, diced turkey
  • 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped

Directions for Turkey Lemon Barley Soup

  1. In a heavy stockpot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and cook about 3 minutes or until translucent.  Add the garlic and carrot and cook an additional minute.  Add the spices and salt, then stir together.
  2. Pour in the lemon juice and turkey stock.  Bring to a simmer.  Add the strips of lemon and barley.  Reduce the heat to low.  Cook at a gently simmer for 20-30 minutes until the barley is tender.
  3. Once the barley is cooked, add the diced turkey, parsley, and cilantro.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Cook until turkey is warmed through, about 5 minutes.
  4. Remove the strips of lemon prior to serving.