We love Holiday leftovers. Not just a little. In all honesty, we’ve been known to buy two, and even three turkeys around Thanksgiving and Christmas just so we can have more leftovers. (It’s a sickness. I know.)
But having said that, there are only so many times you can eat a turkey sandwich or make a stew. You have to keep getting creative with those leftovers. Trust me folks our leftover turkey ramen will give your tired leftovers a whole new take on life.
I’m not just talking about adding chunks of turkey to a bowl of instant noodles here, either. We’re talking real-deal, takes hours, is totally worth it and will change your life ramen.
I call this ramen because I had ramen noodles, but it could easily be made with soba, somen, or even angel hair pasta. It’s less about the noodle than it is about the soup broth, which is rich, savory, warm, and comforting in all the right ways.
Also, because this is designed to use up the last bits of your leftover turkey, I topped the leftover turkey ramen with finely sliced celery instead of the more traditional green onions. The celery adds a welcome crunch to the meal, and a light, fresh flavor to an otherwise straightforward dish.
Guys. This is good. Seriously, ridiculously, fantastically good.
The only thing that might have made it better would have been a soft-boiled egg. But there were absolutely no complaints from anyone at the table this night.
Let’s make some leftover turkey ramen!
We’re going to assume you’re down to a pretty picked-over bird, so break down the carcass into chunks that will fit in a Large dutch oven, sprinkle with a generous amount of salt, then toss in a carrot and a stalk or two of celery.
Cover with water, bring to a boil and immediately reduce the heat to a simmer. (Don’t forget about it like I did and cover your stove in boiling water!)
Let it simmer for an hour or two, or until everything is falling apart on its own. Honestly, the longer you simmer it the better, but 1 to 2 hours will do.
Strain all that gorgeous broth with a large strainer or a colander lined with cheesecloth. Just let it hang out until the turkey is cool enough to handle.
Once you can comfortably handle the turkey, pull off all the meat. Since we’re making leftover turkey ramen here, I tend to try to leave it in chopstick-friendly strips. But if you’re not into chopsticks, just get all the meat off that you can.
Let’s get busy, shall we?
Toss the turkey meat into a small skillet or saucepan. Add a little curry, some sage, salt, mirin, and soy sauce. Pour in enough of the reserved turkey stock to just about cover it.
Heat all of that through on medium low heat, stirring gently until it’s all steamy and gorgeous. Try not to break up the meat too much. This will make your leftover turkey ramen absolutely flavorful and keep the turkey from getting dry.
While that’s heating, finely slice a rib or two of fresh celery into bite-sized strips. (Remember, this is leftover turkey ramen. We’re still bringing in a little of the flavors and textures of the Holidays. I use this in place of green onions.) We’re going to add this to the top of the ramen, and it adds a wonderful textural component.
From there, pour a splash of soy sauce and just a bit of mirin into the bottom of some bowls. Cook your noodles according to package directions (If there are flavor packets, toss them!) If necessary, heat the turkey broth back up over medium heat until steaming.
Once the noodles are done, distribute them to all your bowls, pour that gorgeous stock over the top and add a little turkey and celery.
Boom. you’re done. Eat up!
The only thing I can think of that would make this better would be a soft-boiled egg. But even without it, leftover turkey ramen is seriously good, guys. You have to try this out for yourselves.
And now for the printable recipe.
- 1 turkey carcass plus whatever little bits and bobs you have left over
- 1 carrot
- 1 stalk celery
- Salt, to taste
- Water, to cover
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1 teaspoon dried sage
- 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon mirin, or other sweet white wine
- Ramen noodles, Somen noodles, or Udon noodles
- 1 stalk celery, cut into 1-inch pieces, then into paper thin strips
- place turkey carcass in a large dutch oven or stock pot. Add 1 carrot and 1 stalk celery. cover with water and season well with salt. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer.
- Cook for 1 to 5 hours, adding water as necessary to keep ingredients submerged.
- Remove from heat and strain turkey stock from solids using a mesh strainer or a colander lined with cheesecloth. Reserve broth and turkey.
- Remove remaining turkey from bones in strips, if possible. Set aside.
- Pour turkey stock into a large pot and place over low heat.
- Take the leftover turkey and place in a small skillet or saucepan. add curry powder, sage, mirin, soy, and enough of the turkey stock to nearly cover. cook on medium low heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through.
- Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain.
- Add 1 Tablespoon soy sauce and 1 teaspoon mirin to the bottom of soup bowls. Add noodles, pour over turkey broth. Add 1/4 of remaining turkey and 1/4 of the celery to each bowl.
- Serve hot.
What I would have done differently
My friends, this is a glorious ramen. It could perhaps benefit from some green onions or a ramen egg. But honestly, it doesn’t need these things. Because the base is a traditional American holiday dinner, I tried to keep those flavors working in the dish. I’m confident that was exactly the right choice.
Other great holiday leftover recipes
- Thai Peanut Turkey and Noodles – A Leftover Turkey Recipe Revolution
- Turkey Chili (with Leftover Turkey) – From Elise at Simply Recipes
- Leftover Turkey Tacos
- LEFTOVER TURKEY AND SWEET POTATO FRITTATA, from Skinny Taste
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