Turkey Barley Soup

Winter’s approach means soup time! Served with warm bread and a crisp salad, I could live on soup all winter.

This soup was tweaked just a tad because it assumed you had leftover turkey from Thanksgiving and since we didn’t have to cook for Thanksgiving we had no leftovers.

If you have leftover turkey, great! Otherwise, I have a workaround for you to try. Oh — I highly recommend getting a meat thermometer so that you know when to take the meat out of the oven without it being overcooked and tough. My sister-in-law gave me one a few years back that has worked great. Click here to see one that’s similar.

Oneida Digital Probe Thermometer

Okay then — onward and upward!

First, let’s work on getting some turkey ready for this soup. I bought 2 large turkey thighs and baked them for an hour and a half at 350° Fahrenheit. I used my thermometer and made sure that the inside temperature was no less than 165 before I took it out of the oven.

Uncooked Turkey Thighs

Here they are all baked and pretty looking …

Baked Turkey Thighs

I let the thighs cool for a bit and literally tore the meat off of it with my hands. How’s that for heading back to caveman, uh, woman, days? The meat pulled off pretty easy and I tore it into small pieces.

Okay then! Now onward to the soup!


  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped finely
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon (original recipe calls for a full lemon but that was too much so add a little at a time and taste it as you go along)
  • Strips of lemon zest, from one lemon (make them large so you can take them out later)
  • 6 cups turkey or chicken stock (I used chicken) plus the drippings from the baked turkey
  •  1/2 cup to 1 cup barley (more barley will yield a thicker soup)
  • 2 cups chopped turkey
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley or 2 tablespoons dried
  1. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a heavy pot.
  2. Add the onion and cook until the onion is translucent, about 3 minutes.
  3. Stir in the chopped garlic and cook another minute.
  4. Mix in the turmeric, cumin, ground ginger and salt (to your taste).
  5. Add the lemon juice, turkey stock and the strips of lemon zest.
  6. Bring to a simmer then add the barley.
  7. Simmer gently until the barley is cooked, about 20-30 minutes.
  8. When the barley is cooked through, add the chopped turkey and the parsley plus the salt and pepper (to your taste).
  9. Cook gently until the turkey is warmed through, about 5 minutes.
  10. Remove the lemon zest strips before serving.
This soup was very good (although I should have used less lemon than the original recipe called for). It’s nice ‘n thick also (for those people — like my husband — who don’t like pureed type soups).
Add onion, garlic, turmeric, cumin, ground ginger and salt then stir all.
I used a reamer to get the juice out of the lemon.
And a zester to get the lemon strips.
Lemon Zester
Chop or hand “rip” the turkey into small pieces
Cook soup through til turkey is warm
 Ahhh … now, this is one good soup!
Turkey Barley Soup
 Get yourself some fresh bread and it’s really all you need. I didn’t serve a salad with this soup as it was substantial enough with the barley and turkey.


[amazon_link id=”B00004OCJO” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]OXO Good Grips Lemon Zester[/amazon_link]
[amazon_link id=”B006CFQ9FC” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Fox Run Lemon Reamer, Wooden[/amazon_link]

[amazon_link id=”B00004XSC5″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Taylor 1470 Digital Cooking Thermometer/Timer[/amazon_link]


Special thanks to simplyrecipes for this soup.



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