Spice up your turkey and rice soup with curry and coconut milk for a delicious take on a classic, comforting soup. Made with bone broth, it works just as well with leftover chicken, too.
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I grew up watching people throw turkey bones out after Thanksgiving dinner. It's just what everyone I knew did.
I had no idea that what was being thrown out would one day become my favorite part of Thanksgiving.
When I got into cooking as an adult and realized you could simmer bones from roasting a turkey (or chicken) and use it to make a so-good-for-you bone broth that you could turn into soup, I was hooked. It's SO good!
Okay, I also grew up with canned soups, so maybe you can understand my excitement here - delicious soup from something you'd throw away!
Because I also now appreciate the health benefits of homemade bone broth, I'm always looking for more ways to use homemade broth in soups and stews.
In an effort to come up with something different, I decided to make a turkey and rice soup but flavor it with curry powder creamy with coconut milk.
It turned out to be incredibly flavorful and quickly became our family's favorite. In fact, it's really my go-to leftover turkey or chicken soup now - it's that good!
While I originally made this with our leftover turkey bones and turkey, it's obviously just as good with chicken, too, so you don't have to wait until Thanksgiving to make this soup!
Curried Turkey and Rice Soup (Or Chicken)
- turkey or chicken stock + cooked meat (you can make it like this from your leftover roasts or use canned/frozen broth and cooked poultry)
- butter or olive oil
- curry powder (hot or mild)
- white or brown rice (brown will take longer to cook)
- cooked chopped turkey or chicken
- canned coconut milk
- fresh or frozen spinach, chard, cabbage, or kale
Adding lots of vegetables to soups make them one-dish meals, always a goal around here as well as in your busy households, too, I'm sure.
If you don't have spinach or one of the other vegetables, feel free to substitute with red peppers, cauliflower, chard, kale, or even cabbage. Soup is forgiving that way.
This soup is a great option for those needing to be dairy free since the coconut milk adds the creaminess. While coconut milk is not normally combined with Indian curry, it works really well here.
Hot Curry or Not?
We like our food spicy so I always use a hot curry powder, but again, it's easy to customize this to your tastes by using mild curry or adding less.
- Cutting board and chef's knife
- 4-6 quart stock pot
If you already have bone broth and cooked turkey or chicken in the freezer, you can have this soup ready in 40-45 minutes.
Having a store of these in the freezer is one of the reasons I like to roast a bird and make a big batch of broth when I can - this waste-not meal prep goes a long way to easy weekday meals!
Once you have your broth and cooked poultry, the steps to make this yummy soup are pretty straight-forward:
- Heat butter or oil in a large soup pot and cook the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and curry powder, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes until vegetables are tender.
- Add stock/bone broth and rice, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the rice is done (15 minutes for white rice, 30-40 minutes for brown).
- Stir in chopped turkey or chicken, coconut milk and spinach. Bring to a simmer and cook until heated through, about 5 minutes more.
Turkey & Rice Soup FAQ
Turmeric is the main spice used, followed by a combination of coriander, cumin, ginger, chili peppers (cayenne), black pepper, and sometimes fenugreek. You can find it spiced either mild, medium, or hot.
Thai cooking uses curry pastes, usually in red, yellow or green. They are made up of chilis and spices and vary in hotness. I like them all and usually buy a set of all three to have in the pantry for quick Thai style curry dishes like this one.
Curry powder is used in Indian cooking and the spices are the dry spice blend with turmeric usually as the main ingredient.
You can add either a flour-water or starch-water mixture to the soup towards the end of cooking if the soup is thinner than you'd like.
Mix 2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon of flour, cornstarch, or potato starch in a small bowl with 2-3 tablespoons of water. Add it to the soup as you stir the liquid, and continue to stir until the soup thickens.
The moral here?
Save your bones, make some broth, and you'll be rewarded with a soup so good it will have you practically licking the bowl!
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Curried Turkey and Rice Soup (or Chicken)
- Cutting board & chef's knife
- 4 to 6 quart stock pot
- 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
- 1 onion chopped
- 2 carrots peeled & chopped
- 2 stalks celery sliced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons curry powder, hot or mild, to taste
- 6 cups turkey or chicken stock, preferably homemade
- 1/2 cup long grain white or brown rice*
- 2 cups cooked turkey or chicken, chopped
- 1 13.66-ounce can coconut milk
- 1 10-ounce bag fresh or frozen spinach, or chard, cabbage, or kale
- Heat butter or oil in a large 4-6 quart soup pot over medium heat and add onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and curry powder. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes until vegetables are tender.
- Add stock and rice, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until rice is done - about 15 minutes for white rice, 30-40 minutes for brown.
- Stir in chopped turkey or chicken, coconut milk and spinach. Bring to a simmer and cook until heated through, 5-10 minutes more.