The Simple Art of Cooking with Silvia Lehrer: Super Soup

The Thanksgiving feast is over and you probably have lots of little containers of leftoversturkey slices and meaty portions of carcass? For openers, I strongly suggest that leftover turkey meat be carved off the bone and refrigerated promptly; the meat will keep better and the carcass, when combined with a couple of carrots, a rib or two of celery, an onion, parsley sprigs, some cloves and a few peppercorns, will make a fine turkey stock. Empty those leftover roast vegetables into the broth and voila—a vegetable soup. Think of it as a tasty way to recycle.

Another use for turkey stock is to prepare mulligatawny soup, a famous East Indian soup of meat and vegetables flavored with curry. There are dozens of different mulligatawnies, some calling for various meats, but the perennial favorite is fowl, especially when the soup is based on a rich and flavorful stock.

A crunchy, nutty wild rice salad with sweet red pepper dressed with mustardy vinaigrette goes great with leftover turkey sandwiches. Wild rice, in some circles, is thought of as a uniquely American food. [expand]


This soup takes its name from the dialects of Southern India and Northern Ceylon, meaning “pepper water.” It is famous as an East Indian soup of meat and vegetables flavored with curry.

Serves 6 to 8

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 carrots, peeled and diced
3 celery ribs, trimmed, rinsed and diced
2 Granny Smith apples, cored, peeled and diced
1 large boiling potato, peeled and diced
2 to 3 teaspoons quality curry powder
6 to 7 cups turkey or chicken stock
3 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 1/2 to 2 cups diced cooked turkey or chicken
2 to 3 tablespoons chopped parsley for serving

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery and sauté, tossing to coat in the oil for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the apple and potato and sauté 2 to 3 minutes longer. Stir in the curry powder; cook and stir a minute more. Cover the vegetables with a square of wax paper then cover the pot to “sweat” them for 6 to 7 minutes. Remove cover and discard wax paper.
Add the stock and tomatoes and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil then reduce heat. With cover slightly ajar, simmer the soup, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, about 25 to 30 minutes. Can be prepared ahead to this point.
When ready to serve, stir in the cooked turkey or chicken. Heat over medium heat and serve hot in warm bowls, sprinkled with parsley.


This crunchy, nutty salad is certain to star whenever you serve it.
Yield: 4 1/2 cups
1/2 pound wild rice
1 red pepper, cored and seeded and cut into tiny dice
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
2 tablespoons finely chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley

2 to 3 large shallots, finely chopped
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 1/2 to 3 tablespoons imported red wine vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
7 to 8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1. Place rice in a large, fine sieve and rinse under cold running water. Put rice in saucepan. Add fresh cold water to cover to a depth of about 1 inch (or up to the first knuckle on your thumb). Bring just to the edge of a boil over moderately high heat. Reduce heat, then cook, uncovered at a brisk simmer 18 to 20 minutes or until kernels have “blossomed,” adjusting heat as necessary. Remove from heat, cover tightly, and let stand 3 to 4 hours or overnight. Rice will have absorbed most of water and should be tender but crunchy. Drain in a fine sieve, transfer to a clean kitchen towel, and pat dry. Place in a mixing bowl with red pepper, scallions and parsley. Fluff with a fork as you gently toss to mix. Set aside.

2. Prepare vinaigrette: Place shallots in a mixing bowl. Add Dijon mustard, vinegar, salt, and pepper and stir to mix. Add oil in a slow steady stream and whisk until mixture is thoroughly blended. Pour dressing on rice and gently stir to combine thoroughly. Transfer to an attractive serving dish or bowl and serve at room temperature.

Follow steps 1 and 2 up to one week ahead. Refrigerate in a suitable container. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Reprinted from Silvia Lehrer’s Cooking At Cooktique, Doubleday.

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