Wild Rice & Smoked Turkey Chowder

Wild Rice & Smoked Turkey Chowder

Wild Rice & Smoked Turkey Chowder - so healthy & so good an absolute family favorite!

How to describe this incredible, unusual chowder? Kind of a blend between Southwestern and “Up North,” this hearty, creamy delectable meal in a bowl is a family favorite. A quick note: while it’s wonderful with smoked turkey, I often use left over turkey or chicken in this soup and it is every bit as good.

When my son was small, he didn’t want to try this – he didn’t like “soup.”  I explained this was not a soup, but a chowder, and he fell in love with it. Imagine how happy I was to get all these vegetables into him from this wonderfully healthy soup.

Smoked Wild Rice Turkey chowder has just a bit of a “bite” from the small bit of jalapeno, just a little “sumpin sumpin” that makes you want to come back for more. If you’re in doubt, leave it out, but if you love heat, by all means feel free to increase. We love this soup, too, with a small drizzle of balsamic vinegar – the good stuff.

This is an easy soup to make, but there are a couple of steps involved, the longest being the cooking (45 to 55 minutes) of the wild rice. I maximize my efforts by making the most of my time in the kitchen:

  • I double or even triple the recipe and freeze part of the Wild Rice Smoked Turkey Chowder for another meal. We really like it that much!
  • I usually cook the whole bag of wild rice at one time and freeze it in portions, small ones for side dishes at a later time and some portioned to make this soup.
  • I make extra of the sweet potato, bell pepper and corn sauté and use it for a lovely side dish, with or without wild rice. It’s wonderful with a little balsamic.
  • I often make this with left over turkey from our Thanksgiving meal: I’ll think about it while I’m cooking and chop a little extra celery when I make my stuffing, cook a little extra wild rice when I make my wild rice side dish, buy a little extra corn, peel and dice some sweet potato for this while I’m making my sweet potato casserole, and so on.

Because of the low-cost, there is certainly money left over for a crunchy baguette along side. Using my strategies, I made this hearty soup for a little under four dollars, check below to see how I did it.

Vegetables for Wild Rice & Smoked Turkey Chowder

Wild Rice & Smoked Turkey Chowder

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 2 parsnips, peeled & roughly chopped
  • 1 large russet potato, roughly chopped, no need to peel
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 small seeded Jalapeno
  • 4 cups chicken broth, or turkey broth
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper, set aside a very small bit for garnish
  • 1 small sweet potato, finely diced, about 3/4 cup; this, to us, has a strong taste in the soup, and we add a bit less
  • 1/2 cup celery, finely diced
  • 3/4 cup corn
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked wild rice, save a bit for garnish
  • 1 cup smoked turkey breast or chicken, or left over turkey or chicken. If not using a smoked poultry, add a few drops of Liquid Smoke to the soup. About 6 to 8 ounces.
  • Worcestershire sauce, to taste, about 1/2 teaspoon

Start your wild rice, unless it’s already precooked – it will take 45 to 55 minutes start to finish.

To cook wild rice, use 2x the water as the rice. Bring the water to a boil, add rice, bring back up to a boil. Lid, and turn down to a simmer. Cook about 45 – 55 minutes. When finished, there should be a good chew to the wild rice, and very few should have broken open and curled. You may have to strain excess liquid. (I save this liquid, see notes below under strategies.)

While the rice is cooking, add parsnips, potatoes, onion, garlic, jalapeno and chicken broth to a large pot and simmer 30 minutes till tender, then puree. If it’s very fibrous, strain, but I’ve never run into this problem. I imagine you might find this with large, older parsnips, and if that’s the case, just chop them smaller before putting them in the pot.

Wipe the pot clean and return the pureed vegetable/stock mixture to the pot after it is blended.

While you’re cooking the above, heat butter and saute celery, peppers, sweet potato and corn, about 10 minutes on each side. The vegetables, when done, should be soft and slightly browned in spots. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add to the vegetable/stock mixture.

Add the rest of ingredients: milk, chicken or turkey, cooked wild rice, Worcestershire, salt and pepper to taste, and simmer a few minutes to blend flavors. Do not boil. Remember to set aside a small bit of wild rice if you’d like to garnish.

Garnish with a small bit of the wild rice and red pepper, if desired.


  • During the cooking process, you may be doubtful as you smell the onion, potato, parsnip, and jalapenos cooking – soldier on, it will be wonderful in the end.
  • If you don’t have already cooked turkey or chicken, cook it in the chicken broth along with the parsnips, potatoes, garlic and onion. Of course, remove before blending!
  • There have been times when I’ve smoked my turkey or chicken for this Smoked Turkey & Wild Rice Chowder, and times I’ve used left over smoked turkey or chicken, and it lends a wonderful flavor.
  • I’ve also gone to the the deli and asked them to cut me a slice about a 1/2 inch thick, then diced it and used it. Make sure it’s on sale – deli meat is pricey.
  • I often make Wild Rice and Smoked Turkey Chowder with regular turkey or chicken and added just two or three drops of liquid smoke (an all natural ingredient.) I do really like to keep it on hand for recipes like this or for recipes like bean soups when I’m using smoked meat.
  • I don’t like to substitute regular rice in this soup: it get’s gummy and strange left over.

Let’s talk about how to save money/time on this recipe:

  • Read {Strategies Applied} for additional tips as well as throughout the recipe, for saving time/money and managing This recipe.
  • Follow my 12 Strategies – You’ll see them on the upper drop down menu of every page and how I apply them, below.
  • Don’t get discouraged if your prices don’t match mine! Keep shopping at the best prices and your fridge/freezer and pantry will be stocked with sales priced ingredients.
  • Use a coupon matching site! Do not discount the savings! I check every week, even if I don’t “need” to go to the store and often find bargains I can’t pass up.
Takes a long time to cook, cook & portion

Takes a long time to cook, cook & portion for recipes


This is just chock full of vitamins, calcium, antioxidents and fiber – it’s hard to find a better meal.

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 303 Calories; 9g Fat (25.9% calories from fat); 19g Protein; 38g Carbohydrate; 7g Dietary Fiber; 40mg Cholesterol; 606mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 2 Grain(Starch); 2 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 0 Non-Fat Milk; 1 Fat.

Put Your own Spin on It: 

  • Try serving this with a crusty baguette on the side, or if you’re a baker, wild rice parmesan bread sticks would be fantastic.
  • A swirl of balsamic on the top would be interesting.
  • You could certainly vary any vegetables you’d like – it you’ve never tried parsnips, this is a great way to introduce them.

My Pay Off:

  • When I double this soup and the vegetables, I get two soups, one for the freezer and one to eat. If you’ve cooked the whole bag of wild rice, don’t forget the precooked wild rice packets you’ve frozen as well as the lovely broth it leaves behind (about 2 cups or so – reduced down to about 1/2 cup so it fits in the freezer.) And if you doubled your sweet corn, sweet potato, pepper and celery portion of the ingredients, you’ll have several sides to put in the freezer!
  • The best pay off?  This dish is incredibly healthy!
  • One hour and ten of cooking,- (Which I was doing, anyway) 2 meals, 2 sides, several packets of wild rice and a bit of that incredible broth, all ready to put away in fridge and freezer:

Wild Rice and Smoked Turkey Chowder made November, 2011 for $3.83; repriced February 2014 for $3.78.

Helpful Links

If you came to this recipe looking for a way to use leftover turkey or chicken, be sure to check out the link below for 12 Days of Turkey. You might want to see the sister post for 12 Days of Ham, too.

5 thoughts on “Wild Rice & Smoked Turkey Chowder

  1. This does sound good. I’ll be sure to use this one when I defrost the turkey. What’s the four ingredient? (One small seeded…)

    Yep! More Meta in the works, but I’ve got to keep the husband happy too!

        • Are you kidding, I LOVE it! I tried to get friends & family to check, make recipes and/or proof read, just for an an extra layer, but haven’t had much luck. So, please, if you see anything else, ever, feel free to point it out.

          I always say I’d rather feel like an idiot for a minute while someone corrects me than realize I’ve been an idiot for a long time and no one ever said anything!

  2. Pingback: The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Thanksgiving Leftovers Edition - The Simple Dollar

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