Cheers to a hot pot

Turkey soup for the soul-crushing future

I’ll eat a blistering hot bowl of soup on a 107 degree mid-July afternoon in Chico—that’s how much I love it. I enjoy making soup probably as much as I do eating it. It’s kinda like meditation—the world slows down ever so slightly, and all of the noise and negativity seems to dissipate into the warm, herb-scented air. Isn’t that nice?

I felt a special need for this ritual recently due to a couple of things: There was a fowl carcass from Thanksgiving taking up space in the fridge. And more important, there is a foul, bronzed buzzard about to take up space in the White House, and I needed an afternoon to put that fact out of my mind. To that, I said, “Soup’s on! And bottom’s up!”

Some of my favorite things to make involve a giant pot, or in this case, a Dutch oven. My favorite recipes also call for beer—for the dish, but mostly for my belly while cooking. I looked up at the clock. It was a little before noon. I proceeded to the fridge and pulled out the foil-covered tray with the turkey, as well as a cold bottle of Celebration Ale (tssst). Baby’s sleeping; no one will know except for me and this bird.

If you’re planning on preparing a turkey for your next holiday meal, then this recipe will come in handy. If not, it’ll work any time (even summer) with chicken or game hens, whether you cook them yourself or just buy ’em precooked—either way, it’s going to require getting your hands a little dirty. Makes me thirsty (tssst).

Normally, I’d put on a record that’s more in tune with the comforting nature of making a hearty pot of soup, but I needed something with a little more power. So I went with the record I’ve essentially been listening to nonstop since the election (tssst): Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols. It sounds as caustic and nihilistic as it did four decades ago, and it makes the idea of taking on the looming authoritarian regime sound like a good fuckin’ time. I’m in. Are you in? We better eat some soup first. And (tssst) have another beer.

Post-Traumatic, Post-Election, Post-Thanksgiving, Post-Punk Turkey Soup


Turkey carcass, carved and picked over

8-10 red potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

4 quarts low-sodium chicken broth

3 celery stalks, chopped

3 carrots, peeled and chopped

2 onions, one halved, one chopped

1 bay leaf

2 tablespoons garlic, crushed

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon cayenne

1 teaspoon thyme

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Carve and pull meat from turkey, and set aside. Place carcass into Dutch oven with 2-3 quarts of chicken broth, onion halves, 1 chopped carrot and 1 chopped celery stalk. Add salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon of garlic. Set to medium-high and bring to a boil; lower heat and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour. Strain, reserve broth and return it to Dutch oven over low heat.

In a medium saucepan, add butter and remaining onion, carrots and celery. Add salt, pepper and remaining garlic. Sautée on medium heat until vegetables are just starting to soften. Add remaining chicken broth to Dutch oven, bring back up to a boil and add cooked vegetables. Add thyme, cayenne, and salt and pepper to taste. Add potatoes and turkey meat and cook on low heat for 20-30 minutes. Serve with bread and beer (tssst).