Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Confetti Soup or, How to Use up Thanksgiving leftovers

Despite the fact that there were only three of us for Thanksgiving this year, my kitchen pal and I still managed to cook up a storm! And thankfully I love leftovers. But almost a week after Thanksgiving, I was getting a little bored with eating turkey and stuffing, and most of the other dishes were already finished off. Plus, I will be honest and say I was scared to look into my fridge and pantry for fear of all the odds and ends that were left over. Things like that half a head of cauliflower since I halved my cauliflower dish, or the half a leek, or the all the potatoes and sweet potatoes because I bought too many, or the heavy cream carton which was too big but a smaller size would have been to small, you get the idea.

My advice to anyone who has lots of odds and ends: make a list. I have a white board in the kitchen and I wrote down everything perishable and then starred the most important items to use right away. I don't know why--perhaps its because I read so many recipes--but something about seeing the names of all the items in my fridge is just what I need for inspiration. It's like solving a math problem, but without those darned numbers! After staring for a few moments, an idea started emerging. Then it hit me like an epiphany: soup! A ton of these things I have leftover could be used to make soup! And if you know me well, you know I am totally in love with soup.

So without any further ado, here is my Thanksgiving leftover soup. Every ingredient was either a odd, and end, or a little something from the pantry. It's a little random, I confess, but its and honest to goodness reflection of the variety in my kitchen!

Confetti Soup


handful each green split peas and yellow split peas
half head of cauliflower
2 medium potatoes
1 medium sweet potato
1 carrot
half can of water chestnuts (yes, Kira, I even used your water chestnuts)
2 inch piece of Spanish chorizo, finely diced (trust me, a little goes a long way)
diced leftover turkey, your choice on the amount (dark meat)
chicken broth and water to cover everything so far
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 leak (white part only), thinly sliced
1 clove garlic (in retrospect may have doubled)
fresh parsley, rosemary, sage finely chopped, to taste
thyme (would have used fresh if I had it)
salt and pepper to taste
heavy cream (optional)

1. Start by simmering the peas in chicken broth and water for about 10 minutes. Then add the cauliflower, potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrot, water chestnuts, chorizo, and turkey. Add more liquid if necessary to cover vegetables. Simmer covered for 15 minutes or until the peas are done.
2. Meanwhile, saute the onions and leeks in olive oil over medium low heat until caramelized (about 20 minutes). Then add the herbs and garlic and cook for 30-60 seconds more and turn off heat.
3. When the vegetable/meat mixture is done, stir in the onion/herb mixture. Add a little heavy cream if you like to add a touch of richness and sweetness.

This ended up making a rather large pot of soup. And the good news is it tastes delicious!

The best thing I learned from this is that sweet potatoes and chorizo go beautifully together! There's something about the richness and spicyness of the chorizo that play just right against the earthy yet sweet qualities of the sweet potato. Now I'll have to think about other ways to combine the two. :)

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