Turkey Rice Soup; my triennual diet rant or the diet that works

There’s nothing like a hot bowl of soup on a cold winter day.

Besides being the perfect (in my opinion) comfort food it’s also a great diet food – if you believe in that sort of thing…. More on diets later.

First, the soup.

If I still lived in Minnesota I would probably use all wild rice but I haven’t found any here in France. So I used the rest of my stash from my last trip and Basmati rice.

I’ve decided I like the mix of the two.

The key to a rich stock is to let it simmer over very low heat for a very long time to let all of the goodness eke out of the bones.  It’s what gives a good stock a luscious ‘mouth-feel’.  Use a turkey carcass from a roasted bird or buy wings, necks, and/or legs for the stock.

I had a little gravy leftover from Christmas and I added that instead of the cornstarch.

Turkey Rice Soup

Total time: 3 hours


  • Stock:
  • turkey carcass and some leftover turkey meat or 2 – 3 turkey wings or 1 turkey leg and thigh
  • the tops from a bunch of celery or 2 ribs celery, cut into pieces
  • 1 carrot, cleaned and cut into chunks
  • 1 onion, peeled and quartered
  • bouquet garni
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 8 – 10 cups water
  • salt or 1 chicken base/stock cubes
  • Soup
  • 8 cups turkey stock
  • 2 – 3 cups turkey, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup Basmati rice
  • 1/2 cup wild rice
  • 4 carrots
  • 3 ribs celery
  • 1 large onion
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/4 cup Madeira or other sweet wine
  • 2 tbs cornstarch (maizena, corn flour)
  • 1/4 cup water

Turkey Rice Soup


  • Stock:
  • Put turkey, vegetables, herbs and water in soup pot or Dutch oven.  If you are using a turkey carcass you may need to break it up to get it in and covered with water – and you may need more water than 8 cups.  You can reduce it later.
  • Cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer over very low heat for several hours, the longer the better. There should be bubbles breaking the surface occasionally, not steadily.
  • When done, strain stock into another pot or large bowl, discarding vegetables, bones and skin.  Pick the turkey meat off the bones and reserve for soup.
  • If time allows, chill stock and remove fat. Refrigerate turkey if not making soup immediately.
  • Soup:
  • Bring stock to a boil over medium heat.
  • Lightly rinse the wild rice and add to stock.
  • Cut carrots in half, the long way then thinly slice. 1/8″ (3 cm).  Add to stock.
  • Thinly slice celery, add to stock.
  • Chop onion, add to stock.
  • Add paprika, mustard, Madeira to stock, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Add Basmati rice to soup and simmer 20 minutes longer.
  • Taste the soup, add salt, pepper, or a chicken stock cube/paste if needed.
  • Cut the turkey into small pieces and add to soup.
  • Dissolve cornstarch in water.
  • Increase heat under soup to a hard simmer. Add cornstarch mixture, stirring until it clears and thickens the soup slightly.

Note:  The cornstarch is meant to thicken it very slightly, you may not really notice it when it’s hot, but it makes it more unctuous.

Print Recipe

I’ve said all this before….

As I feel rather strongly about the subject, I thought I’d do a re-post for those who might have missed it the first time.

Obesity is a rapidly growing problem.

Diets, diet gurus and diet books are a rapidly growing industry.

The latter does not seem to be adequately solving the problem of the former.

With the coming of the New Year come all the resolutions: lose weight, exercise more, kick the bad habits and embrace the good habits.

If one of your goals for this year is to lose weight, let me save you lot of unnecessary frustration regarding which diet to try. Let me tell you about the one that actually works.

Eating less.

If you take a close look at all of those diet books, diet gurus, and no-fail diet regimens on the market they all have one thing in common: They make you eat less.

It may not be obvious…They may trick you into thinking that you can eat more because you are eliminating (choose one: fat, carbs, protein), but the truth is, you are eating less.

It’s simple math: 3,500 calories equals 1 pound.

If you eat 3,500 more calories than you burn you gain 1 pound.

If you eat 3,500 less calories than you burn you lose 1 pound.

The problem with most diets, regardless of type, is that they set the dieter up for failure (which, perhaps, allows them to sell more books)

One ‘goes on a diet’, eating certain foods, not eating others, carefully monitoring every morsel.

One loses the intended weight.

One ‘goes off the diet’.

One starts eating all the banned food, reverting back to previous habits, and promptly regains all the lost weight… and, usually, a bit more.

And the cycle repeats.

My method gives you a much better chance of losing the weight for good.

It has two components: food and exercise.

Here’s how you can put them together for your own plan – to lose weight now and to keep it off forever.

Take an honest look at what you eat.  All of it, including the piece of candy you got at the bank and the bite of cake you had from your friend’s dessert at lunch.

Remember, this isn’t rocket science, it’s simple math.

Now that you know what you eat, decide on how much weight you would like to lose…. and be reasonable.  Don’t set yourself up for failure.

Let’s say you want to lose 15 pounds by April 15.  That’s a bit aggressive, but still reasonable.  Remember, you’re keeping it off so no need to rush it…. And you didn’t put it on overnight.

To lose a pound per week you have to reduce your daily intake by about 500 calories – or work it off.

  • Do you normally have 2 glasses of wine with dinner?  Eliminate 1 for 100 calories.
  • Do you normally put 2 oz of cheese in your omelet? Use 1 oz and save 100 calories.
  • Do you usually have 3 slices of pizza? Have 2 and save 300 calories.  Or have 2 1/2
  • Eliminate 1 tbs of butter or oil each day – 100 calories.
  • Having spaghetti?  Have 1.75 oz instead of 2 oz and save 60 calories
  • Eat some yogurt.  Buy plain yogurt and add your own fruit.  Studies have shown that eating yogurt helps digestion and can increase weight loss.
  • If you usually eat 6oz of whatever meat, eat 5oz… or even 5.5oz.

Measure your food…. 1/4 cup of Basmati rice doesn’t look like much for 1 person before it’s cooked.  But it is…. And the difference between 1/4 cup and 1/3 cup is about 60 calories.

Pay attention to what you eat.

Hungry for a snack?  Make yourself a cup of hot green tea while you think about it.

And buy a bag of almonds and walnuts in the shell. While your tea brews, crack a couple.  It’s a nice healthy snack and having to crack and pick out the nut meats keeps you from eating too many.

And don’t forget to have your treats…. Like that square of dark chocolate for dessert.

And now, the secret weapon: exercise.

Once again: don’t set yourself up for failure.

Don’t decide you’re going to the gym for an hour every day when you haven’t been in 3 years.  You won’t do it.

Instead, decide not to park so close to the office or mall or whatever.  A 10 minute walk will take care of 50 calories.  Do that twice and you’re down 100.

Decide to do some weight-training…. Muscle burns more calories than fat.

Put two people on the couch for a movie.  The one with more muscle will burn more calories just sitting there doing nothing.

You don’t have to go to the gym for that either.  In less than 10 minutes you could do 30 walking lunges for the lower body, 12 push-ups for the upper body and maybe some sit-ups for the old gut.  Do that 3 times a week….

You may not lose anything the first week…. Maybe not even the second.

But, you’ll start having more energy, the weight does start coming off, the clothes fit better….

You may even feel like going to the gym….

In doing all this you’re making small, but hopefully permanent lifestyle changes.

Try not to set yourself up to fail by pushing yourself to do what you know you won’t.

And eat soup.  It fills you up and it’s good for you.

(And, yes, I realize that it’s not quite that simple or easy for some people….
But it is for a lot of people.)

6 thoughts on “Turkey Rice Soup; my triennual diet rant or the diet that works”

  1. Chuck, my hubs is also a T1 diabetic. The soup made about 6 servings. He normally has 1/4 cup uncooked Basmati rice as a carb serving for a meal but half of that of wild rice so 1 serving of soup (out of 6) was about right for him..,, And then his usual yogurt. Does that help?

  2. That makes so much sense. I did WeightWatchers 2 years ago and lost a lot of weight but with a holiday and Christmas it’s started to creep back on. I know what to do, it’s the doing that’s the hard bit!

  3. You’re welcome, Chuck. Hope you like it.

    Nicola, it creeps back so quietly, doesn’t it? I monitor constantly, bit it’s easier in the summer LOL

    Thanks, Kate 😉

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