Cooking For One: Turkey Soup Two Ways

DISH: My Mother’s Garlic Soup
TYPE: Repurposing Leftovers, Single Pot, Good for Several Weeks

Unlike Cara, I’m constantly trying to find ways to put a carnivorous spin on my everyday meals without having to go to the grocery store to pick up a package of chicken thighs every time I want to whip up dinner. What I find myself coming back to again and again at the beginning of a long week: soup. You’ll be hearing us sing the praises of this one-pot wonder quite often as a solution to single living: Easy. Cheap. Comforting. Pantry friendly.

The following recipe can be made with chicken instead of turkey and any type of sausage you have on hand.

From my small, meat-filled kitchen to yours,



My Mother’s Garlic Soup
Makes 4 servings

While most mothers stuck with the more traditional variations of chicken noodle, my memories of sick days home from school include two very important remedies: garlic soup and The Price is Right. The latter may now conflict with my life as a big girl, but when I’m feeling under the weather—however achy, painy, vomity—I still find comfort in making this soup for myself.

My mother’s original version contained no meat, but after Thanksgiving this year, she whipped up a batch using leftover roast turkey. And without any ail besides an unhealthy case of stomach expansion, I felt all the comfort of my days being doted on in front of the television come back, even without Bob Barker.

1 whole head of garlic
1 egg yolk
1 ½ quarts chicken stock
1/2 cup brown rice
1 cup roast turkey, roughly torn or chopped
Juice of half a lemon
Pinch of cayenne (optional)
½ tbsp rosemary or thyme, finely chopped (optional)

In a small saucepan, bring 1½ cups of water to a boil. With the back of your knife, crush the head of garlic so the cloves separate from the base. Add to the boiling water and blanch for 2 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the garlic, and let rest on the cutting board until cool enough to touch. The skin will come off extremely easily.

In a medium casserole or soup pot, bring the chicken stock and the garlic cooking water to a boil. Add the brown rice, garlic cloves, herbs, and a pinch of cayenne. Simmer over medium heat with the lid on for 40 – 45 minutes, or until the rice is cooked. Take the soup off the heat.

In a shallow bowl, beat the egg yolk. Slowly whisk in a ladle of the broth to temper it. Make sure to add a very small amount at a time as to not cook the egg. Once fully incorporated, add to the soup with the lemon juice. The egg yolk should give the soup a subtle, silky quality, while the lemon adds brightness to the rich, sweet aroma of boiled garlic.

My life elixir
Posted in: Single Serving
  • CBE

    wait so do you put the boiled garlic back into the soup once you’ve taken the skin off it?

  • Phoebe and Cara, The Quarter-Life Cooks

    you got it!

    The first step of boiling the cloves just gives the garlic a head start. It softens surprisingly fast and cuts down on the time it would take you to remove all the skins.

    Just add it back in with the remaining ingredients once the stock has come to a boil.

    Hope this helps!

  • zedge

    Super awesome soup! Just made it – followed the recipe exactly. Tasty. Thanks!

  • Rhiann

    I made this without the turkey like in the book and it’s great! I can’t wait to try with left over turkey for sure!

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