This is such an easy way to run through that half-gallon of turkey stock you have gelling in your fridge, and it’s a nice change of pace from the casseroles and sammiches. I’m sick of eating turkey, bread, mashed potatoes and gravy, and I’m sure you are too.
On Thanksgiving, we had a 16-pound turkey (for only 5 people), and I made 2 gallons of turkey stock from the carcass. This was way too much to store in my fridge or freezer, so I simmered the stock down to a scant 6 cups, and it really ended up with that velvety mouthfeel you normally associate with the unctuous oxtail broth typically used for phở. The large turkey also left us with a bag full of the confit legmeat and an entire roast breast with which to contend, and since turkey noodle soup is the third spoke of the Holy Trifecta of Thanksgiving Leftovers, I whipped up a version of phở gà, subbing turkey for chicken.
It takes a bit of time to prepare the broth, but it’s worth it just for the way your house smells while it’s simmering. Into a large pot, toss a few star anise pods, a 4″ cinnamon stick, some charred/roasted shallots and ginger, some peppercorns and a couple of cloves, and two or three bay leaves. Toast these quickly in the pot until fragrant, then dump in the turkey (or chicken) stock. Simmer over low heat for an hour or so, replacing the water that evaporates. I also squirt in a tablespoon or so of nước mắm, and add a good pinch of salt and sugar.
Fill a bowl with fresh rice noodles (dried ones should be reconstituted in hot water for a minute first) and a fat wad of turkey meat. Ladle in the boiling-hot broth – this will heat the turkey and noodles and result in the perfect soup-eating temperature. Serve with mung bean sprouts, Thai basil and cilantro, lime wedges and sliced jalapeño, and I like a little sriracha hot sauce or sambal oelek and hoisin sauce on mine. Bon appétit!