Turkey Pozole Rojo

turkey pozole rojo in brown bowl topped with cilantro, radish slices and shredded cabbage
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If you’ve ever stared into your jam-packed fridge, and wondered what to do with leftover turkey, know two things: first, you’re not alone. Second, the best thing you can possibly do with all that leftover turkey is make turkey soup—specifically, this pozole rojo. 

Turkey Pozole Rojo: The Undisputed Best Leftover Turkey Recipe, Ever. 

We love a good mayo-slathered cold turkey sandwich as much as the next person—making one and eating it in a quiet, peaceful house on the day after Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season and is as much a part of the Thanksgiving ritual as cracking the wishbone. After that one last Thanksgiving moment, though, we’re ready for a change—and we don’t just mean hauling the Christmas decorations out of the basement. Blame all of the butter from the night before, the tryptophan in the turkey, or all of the sodium that surely passed our lips during that feast day of feast days—but we’re usually just kind of “over” all of the leftovers that fill our fridge. The flavors that we couldn’t get enough of the night before have lost their appeal. 

But, of course, we’re waste-not-want-not kind of folks here at TMP! So this year, we’ll be repurposing that delicious bird into a tomato-red, spicy, Mexican-inspired bowl of turkey pozole rojo. Cozy, easy, and warming, it’s just the palate-awakener that we all need as we head into the darkest, dreariest days of the year. 

ingredients for turkey pozole rojo in small bowls

What is Pozole Rojo? 

Pozole is a bit of an umbrella term that broadly refers to a type of Mexican soup made with hominy, and usually poultry (in this case, turkey!) or pork. “Pozole rojo” simply means “red pozole”, referring to our pozole recipe’s tomato-y base. Some pozole recipes are green or “verde”, with bright, light tangy flavors of tomatillo and lime. This time of year, though, the deeper, darker, richer flavors of pozole rojo call to us. Crushed tomatoes, a can of tomato sauce and a jar of salsa all team up to make our easy pozole recipe velvety red and full of umami. 

Two Birds, One Stone: How to Make Pozole and Use Up Leftover Turkey, All at the Same Time

This Mexican-inspired turkey soup recipe is everything you want a day-after-Thanksgiving recipe to be—easy, fast, one-pot and a complete 180 from the flavors of Thanksgiving Day. 

  1. Sauté onions and garlic in oil. 
  2. Grab your can opener, and open a bunch of cans and jars! Dump the contents, along with some stock and a dash of Worcestershire into your favorite soup pot
  3. Simmer! And while the soup simmers, whip up the cabbage slaw (if you're so inclined—it's not a must, but it is a nice-to-have.) This is also a good moment to shred your leftover turkey. Use dark meat, light meat—whatever is left! If you're not using leftover turkey, you can also just use shredded chicken—either way, this soup will be delicious. 
  4. Add the leftover turkey meat (or chicken) and some carrots, and simmer a little longer. 
  5. Serve! 
  6. P.S. If you'd like to make this easy pozole even easier, you can make this recipe using a slow-cooker. Just toss everything to your Crock-Pot and cook on high for three hours. 
turkey pozole rojo in a bowl next to a bowl of shredded cabbage and a pot of pozole

Hang On—Is It Posole or Pozole? 

The name of this classic Mexican soup can be spelled either way. “Posole” seems to be the more popular spelling here in the U.S., while “pozole” seems to be more commonly used in Mexico. Call it posole or call it pozole—either way, the meaning is the same! A spicy, warming soup, rich with Mexican flavors. And—in this case—it also means a spicy, warming, delicious way to use up leftover turkey!  

Tools You’ll Need: 

Thanksgiving Leftovers: The Best Problem of the Year. 

We’re going to let you in on a little secret: you can use leftover turkey in pretty much the same way you’d use chicken! But our very favorite way to use it is in turkey soup. Soup is easy, it’s made in one pot, and it’s inherent simplicity just feels right after the marathon of Thanksgiving. In light of that, here are four of our favorite soups to make with leftover turkey: 

Bring On Those Silver Bells

And, now that we’ve helped you answer the age-old “what to do with leftover turkey” question, you can move on to overloading on Christmas music and candy canes with a clear head and a clean fridge! Let us know how our pozole rojo recipe worked out for you! Snap a photo of your pozole soup, and tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper. Happy eating!

side profile of avocado and shredded cabbage on top of turkey pozole rojo recipe

Turkey Pozole Rojo

Serves 8

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 29 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 29 oz can tomato sauce
1 29 oz can Mexican hominy
1 8 oz can green chiles diced
1 1/2 cups sweet salsa (like mango or pineapple)
4 cups chicken stock
3 tbsp worcestershire
1 tsp sea salt
generous amount of freshly ground black pepper
4-6 cups shredded cooked turkey (or chicken or pork)
2 cups shredded carrots
seasoned cabbage
avocado
cilantro
radishes
limes

Seasoned Cabbage

3 cups cabbage finely shredded
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp white vinegar
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Method

  1. In a large pot heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add garlic and cook for two more minutes.
  2. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, hominy, green chiles, sweet salsa, chicken stock, Worcestershire and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper and allow to simmer for 30 -45 min covered.
  3. In a small bowl together cabbage, olive oil, vinegar salt and pepper and toss until combined. Set aside.
  4. Add the cooked turkey to the pot along with the carrots and allow to cook for an additional 30 minutes. Adjust taste as needed. Serve hot with seasoned cabbage, avocado, cilantro and limes.

*If you would like to use a crock pot for this recipe, just use raw meat cubed instead of already cooked. Add everything to the crock pot and cook on high for 3 hours.