Leftovers Soup

So. Christmas. It didn’t wind up being the healthiest holiday season. I thought I’d be back with too many photos to sort on Boxing Day – but as it turns out there hasn’t been much food to report. On Friday morning (our anniversary!) on which day we planned to head downtown and walk, do the last of our Christmas shopping, have a fancy coffee, then go for dinner and wrap presents, I walked in the door from my early morning BT spot feeling a little woozy. I spent the day in bed and the bathroom, and W joined in that evening – luckily I already had a barf bucket at the ready by the couch. We spent our anniversary evening mopping the floor, doing laundry, cuddling W and watching old episodes of Arrested Development. It wasn’t bad, actually, but no food to report.

Saturday we had Christmas at my parents’ house, and the big turkey dinner. It was beautiful – the setting and the meal, which featured a 20 lb organic free range heritage breed turkey from Winter’s that we went over to put in the oven that morning. The boys (five of them under 8 ) were over the top excited, building their Lego and popping crackers. Mike tracked Santa on his iPad. My sister made a killer chocolate cheesecake. I hadn’t at that point eaten since Thursday night, but as I was managing to keep sips of Coke down, I had high hopes. It didn’t go well.

On Christmas day I ate a cracker, and at dinner, with Mike’s mom and sister and half of my family over to our house this time for turkey part 2, I managed a Pillsbury crescent roll – perhaps the pouffiest, most refined food product available? And so on Boxing Day I thought I’d venture into real food territory. There were leftovers, of course, and so rather than take a stab at Turkey Dinner Part 3, or do something crazy like make turkey shepherd’s pie, I made soup.

There was mashed potatoes and peas, carrots and roasted sweet potatoes, so I made one pot of orange-red and another of green. (In keeping with the colours of the season, of course.)

You don’t need a formula to make soup. I’m not sure how many people realize this. I’m going to resist writing a recipe here, because that goes against the whole point of transforming whatever it is you have on hand into a pot soup.

So here’s what you do: put a pot on the stove, drizzle some oil in the bottom and add a dab of butter. Chop an onion and throw it in. A clove or three of garlic, too. I just slice mine, so that it doesn’t burn – we’re going to puree the lot, anyway.

Give them a few minutes to soften, then throw in your leftover veggies. In one pot I scraped in the last of the mashed potatoes – about a cup and a half? – and the peas – maybe 3/4 of a cup. Not that it matters. add however much you have. Broccoli would do well, or spinach, kale, asparagus, even roasted Brussels sprouts. In the other pot I put a spoonful of curry paste, the carrots and roasted sweet potatoes. Squash would have been perfect, too.

Add some stock to cover and bring to a simmer. (If you’re really on the ball, you may have some turkey stock already – I always keep those tetra packs of chicken stock in the pantry.) Cook for 10-20-30 minutes, or until everything is soft. Puree with a hand-held immersion blender. Add more stock or water if it’s too thick, or simmer a bit longer if it seems too brothy. You could add a splash of cream, but neither needed it. At its best, soup is simple. Any veggie dish – even just boiled or steamed veg – are delicious simmered with stock and pureed. And if you’re not in the mood for soup, it’s a great way to freeze leftovers – in soup form. Happy holidays, everyone!


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16 comments on “Leftovers Soup

  1. Melanie
    December 27, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    I never know whether it is a blessing or a curse to be sick over the holidays… But I send my sympathies as we had it at our house as well (but the week before Christmas instead). I hope you have a happier new year!!!

  2. Vincci
    December 27, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    Poor Julie – I hope you’ll be back on your feet soon! The Leftovers Soup is a great idea, especially since my siblings both love soup! I can’t try it though because I didn’t make Christmas dinner this year, but B.’s mom makes a mean Turkey Pie and Turkey Congee!

  3. Jennifer Jo
    December 27, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    I always kind of expect that someone will get sick over the holidays (it was almost a tradition, back when I was a kid), but no one did this time around—a pleasant surprise. May you get better soon!

  4. Natalie
    December 27, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    Wow – you have had your share of illness/pains this winter! Hope you have a healthy start to the new year! Happy Holidays. I am also glad you decided to keep your blog up after the 365th day! It has been awhile! Look at all the recipes posted. Amazing ~ like you!

  5. Natalie
    December 27, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    Wow – you have had your share of illness/pains this winter! Hope you have a healthy start to the new year! Happy Holidays. I am also glad you decided to keep your blog up after the 365th day! It has been awhile! Look at all the recipes posted. Amazing ~

  6. Laurie from Burnaby
    December 27, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    So sorry to hear you were sick. Next year you’ll have a good one. Take care

  7. Bedardft
    December 28, 2011 at 4:08 am

    Thankfully, we were not sick over Christmas. However on Christmas eve around 5 pm, our water pump blew and we were sans eau from then until Tuesday. Very tough with 3 kiddies and major food to cook. I put the whole meat on pause and cooked a lovely bird late yesterday. The stock is simmering now and I can’t wait to make leftover soup!

  8. Evelyn
    December 28, 2011 at 10:57 am

    I’ve been there…
    My (now adult) children still remember the Christmas Day that I spent in bed. Hubby came into the bedroom around 5:00 and asked if I was going to try to cook dinner. I told him to find a can of tomato soup, and dig through the deep freezer for some hotdogs.
    Boxing Day, however, we ate like kings!

  9. Kitchen Ninja
    December 28, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    Leftovers = soup? YOU ARE AWESOME!

  10. molly
    December 28, 2011 at 9:16 pm

    oh, you poor girl!

    here’s to soup, cure-all, balm, blanket 🙂

    a very merry new year to you, julie!

  11. rose
    December 29, 2011 at 12:21 am

    Oh! I feel quite pleased as this is exactly what I did with my leftovers today. Turned out very nicely.

    All the best to you and your family in 2012!

    p.s. who won the beautiful blender?

  12. mamamia42
    December 29, 2011 at 9:30 am

    hi Julie,
    I’m sorry to hear about your illness over the holidays. I feel like everyone I know was sick or someone in their family was.
    I am a loyal fan who checks your blog daily and gets a little excited when I see a new posting.
    Keep up the good work and I wish you and your family a healthy new year.

  13. wendy
    January 1, 2012 at 8:33 am

    I forgot how much I love this blog. I crave soup… and stupidly threw out my leftovers this year. I’ll not make that mistake again. And I have reorganized my bookmarks with you ON TOP! (and put your book on hold at the library 🙂

  14. Ashley
    January 4, 2012 at 7:19 am

    A belated merry Christmas and happy new year! 🙂 I hope you weren’t sick for too long. Love the idea of this leftover soup without a recipe.

  15. Emily Arnold
    August 31, 2014 at 9:29 pm

    Hi! Love your lefover ideas. I’ve got one too: I had extensive dental work done, started about six months ago. This included oral surgery. Well, I was getting pretty hungry about then because I couldn’t eat most things, well, maybe you get the picture. So we went to a public indoor gathering at a Club. This was a memorial for a well-known individual. The Club provided lots of food that I couldn’t eat. I asked for and received a large styrofoam container. Into it at the food table I put potatoes and stew stuff, not much juice left, different veggies, even some of the delicious meat. There were a few other things that I dumped into my container. Well, I took it home and by that time I was really hungry having eaten next to nothing at the Club. I took some of this paste-type beef bouillon (delicious), some canned broth, and mixed it in with all the other stuff. Into the blender it went, and I’ve not had such good soup in a long time. So I did that on purpose since then, using leftovers. I told my daughters and they do it too. Yum!

    • Julie
      September 3, 2014 at 7:55 pm

      Wow, that’s a great story Emily! And great advice!

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