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Recipe for hurricane turkey "fridge dump" soup

Hurricane Sandy inspired this turkey fridge dump soup.

Here at the log house, my husband Ted and I prepared to face Hurricane Sandy and the sure-to-follow days without electricity. We loaded up on bottled water and batteries, cat food and cat litter. We brought the light-weight porch furniture indoors. We washed the laundry and ran the dishwasher, put the car in the barn, filled a large thermos with coffee, and charged cell phones and laptops. And I cooked, and cooked, and cooked, to turn as much perishable food as possible into freezer meals that could last a few days, even without power. This turkey soup began as an unpremeditated "fridge dump", but as I went along, I kept good notes. Thank heavens for that, because this is a soup I want to make again, deliberately, and often. (In fact, as soon as our power was restored, I made my second batch, just as good as the first.) I used my slow cooker, but you can make it in a Dutch oven on the stove-top; the recipe includes instructions for both cooking methods.

Turkey fridge dump soup, from The Perfect Pantry. Make ahead and freeze!

Hurricane turkey "fridge dump" soup

From the pantry, you'll need: ground turkey, chicken sausage, onion, garlic, thyme, oregano, bay leaf, canned chopped tomato, chicken broth (homemade or store-bought), Dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

Serves 6-8.


2 Tbsp olive oil
2-1/2 lbs ground turkey (I use 93% fat-free)
12 oz chicken sausage (I use sun-dried tomato and basil, or roasted garlic flavor), sliced
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp dried thyme leaf
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1 cup brown lentils
1 cup canned chopped tomato
3 cups chicken broth, homemade or low-sodium store-bought
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 cups spinach or chopped kale
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus extra for serving


In a large nonstick frying pan, heat the oil, and over medium heat cook the turkey until it is no longer pink. Add the sausage, and sauté until the sausage begins to brown. Stir in the onion, and cook until the onion is translucent, 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic, and sauté for 1 minute more.

Slow cooker method: Add the turkey mixture to a 5- or 6-quart slow cooker. Stir in the thyme, oregano, bay leaf, lentils, tomato, chicken broth and mustard. Set the cooker to LOW and cook for 6 hours.

Then, add the balsamic vinegar, spinach or kale, and 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese. Taste, and season with kosher salt and fresh black pepper, as needed.

Stove-top method: Transfer the turkey mixture to a heavy Dutch oven or stock pot. Stir in the thyme, oregano, bay leaf, lentils, tomato, chicken broth and mustard. Increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Then, reduce heat to simmer; cover the pot, and cook for 1 hour, checking every now and then to make sure there is enough liquid to keep the lentils from sticking. If you need more liquid, add water, 1/2 cup at a time.

When the lentils are cooked, add the balsamic vinegar, spinach or kale, and 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese. Taste, and season with salt and pepper, as needed.

Serve hot, garnished with additional cheese. If you wish, you can serve this soup over brown rice or pasta.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Turkey escarole soup
Slow cooker lentils with chicken sausage, spinach and feta cheese
Lentil noodle soup
Turkey and white bean chili
Greek lentil soup with red pepper and feta

Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Kicked up turkey meatloaf, from Eat Live Run
Lentil and sausage stew, from Budget Bytes
Lentil soup with Italian sausage and roasted red peppers, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Sausage and lentil slow cooker stew, from A Year of Slow Cooking
Moosewood's Turkish lentil and spinach soup, from Lisa's Kitchen

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


How long were you guys without power?? Glad you're OK. You really went to work to salvage food!

Nupur, we were very lucky, only 24 hours without power. I have a gas stove, and was able to heat this soup up for two meals. It freezes beautifully and was the perfect nourishment during the storm.

I find fridge(and freezer) dump soups to be some of the very best ones! I like the lentils, spinach, and balsamic vinegar in this recipe. In combination with the other ingredients, those sound wonderful!

I'm glad that you were not without power very long, Lydia. So many blessings to be counted by so many of us, and so many others still suffering. I wish I could make a pot of soup for some of the families in need right now. A charity soup "swap" with no swapping just giving, you know?


Shirley, I feel very fortunate. I wish I had a food truck...

is that what this is called "fridge dump"?
I make this all the time, calling it 'everyone in the pool'
we got very lucky this hurricane/storm, we only lost power for an hour at most? and just a couple trees down, not near the house.
the long term (10-20 years) say that the NE is only get more and more slammed with more rain while the west coast will get more droughts. to be honest, i'm scared to stay here with all these storms

Vanillasugar, climate change is happening everywhere, so our weather will become more extreme, for sure. We're all lucky to have heat and power. I feel for those in NY/NJ who are still without.

Lydia - I'm sitting in our local library right now still without power and no idea when it will be restored. I too was emptying my freezer little by little and cooking on my gas stove (thank goodness I have that!)until I could no more, and bringing all the food to friends' homes in exchange for a place to eat dinner. This sounds like a keeper and a nice warm meal. Stay well!

Jeanette, I am sending good thoughts -- we all are -- that your power is restored soon. I will happily bring you hot thermoses of soup, just say the word.

Wish you'd been at my house to direct the "fridge dump." Mine was not nearly as tasty or successful!

TW, sometimes I just get lucky. Hoping your power is restored soon and you can get back to cooking and baking in your kitchen.

I love these sort of "everything but the kitchen sink" recipes! Sending positive thoughts and prayers your way post-Sandy.

Kelly, thanks so much. We are well and most of our area had power restored before the cold weather set in. This soup was a happy outcome of what was a tragic event.

You are such a great example - and such a happy "accidental" recipe!

Donna, thanks so much. Accidental recipes are usually my favorites!

Hello- doing a little catchup reading... what a great soup! kinda of an Italian wedding ish?
hard to believe even now that folks are still struggling from the effects of this super storm - a shame.

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