Recipe: Dandelion Split Pea Soup (aka What to do with Turkey Backs)

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I'm such a sucker for a good deal. I came home yesterday with this package of free range turkey backs. It was just a little over two dollars. Such a steal. Of, course I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do with it. 

But, this is what came of it: "Dandelion Split Pea Soup". And it was, in the words of my husband-a man who doesn't give compliments lightly- "Amazing!". 

To make this delicious soup for dinner start preparing in the morning. 

You Will Need:

  • Two turkey backs (approximately 1 lb. each)
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 green cardamom pods
  • 6 coriander seeds
  • 2 cups split peas
  • 3 tbs. fat of choice (I used beef tallow)
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 yellow onion (I used two small, garden onions)
  • One bunch dandelion greens
  • Celtic sea salt
  • Water (filtered is preferred)

Makes approximately 4 quarts of soup.

To start, place turkey backs in large stockpot on the stove. Add vinegar. Fill stockpot most of the way with water. Let stand 30 minutes. (Adding an acidic agent during cooking helps draw out minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium from the turkey carcass.)

While you wait, soak split peas in water. Set aside. Let soak for six hours. (This neutralizes phytic acid, breaks down complex sugars and enzyme inhibitors, making the peas easier to digest.)

After the turkey backs have sat for 30 minutes in the vinegar and water, add black peppercorns, bay leaf, coriander, cloves and cardamom to stockpot. Bring to a boil. Skim. Allow to simmer for 5-6 hours (while he peas are soaking). Continued to add water to the broth as it boils down. 

Do whatever you want for the next 5 1/2 hours while the turkey broth cooks and the peas soak (continuing to add water occasionally to the simmering broth). When you are done enjoying that time, gather the carrots, onions and dandelion greens. 

Next, place fat in another large stockpot over low heat. Allow to melt. 

Meanwhile chop carrots and onions. 

Add to the melted fat. Allow to cook until carrots are tender. (Approximately 10-15 minutes.)

Next, add 1 tbs Celtic sea salt.

Finely chop dandelion greens.

Add to carrots and onions. Stir occasionally.

Next strain and rinse split peas in a colander. 

Now comes the fun part. Pour the turkey broth through a separate colander into a clean, heat resistant bowl. Set aside the colander with the meat, bones and gristle.


Add split peas and three quarts (save the rest for a later use) of turkey broth to carrots, onions, and dandelion greens. Bring to a boil. Scum from the peas will rise to the top. Skim as best you can. Reduce heat. Allow to simmer until peas are tender. (Approximately 30-45 minutes.)

While you wait, separate turkey meat from bones and gristle. (Make sure you get all the bones!) I got around two cups of meat.

When peas are tender, add in the turkey meat. You can eat it as is. Or, if you like creamy soups like me, blend with a handheld blender.  

Serve with optional garnish of sour cream, avocado, and fresh parsley. Add Celtic sea salt to taste. Voila! Dinner is served. 

Like soup? Wanting to learn more about broth? 

Check out these books I use and love!

Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons by Kimberly Harris is by far one of the most used books in my kitchen. This book has recipes for every kind of soup imaginable, plus a million more. I honestly cannot recommend it enough. My copy is pretty dinged up because I use it ALL the time. Every recipe I've tried from it is amazing, and every recipe contains only real, nourishing ingredients. Nothing from a can, ever, but all super simple to make. 

Nourishing Broth: An Old-Fashioned Remedy for the Modern World by Sally Follow Morell ad Kayla T. Daniel only recently hit the shelves. I've been enjoying this new book so much! It contains a lot of fascinating information about the history of soup, broth and traditional cooking, as well as a huge collection of easy to follow recipes. Definitely a keeper!

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  1. Hi Jackie,
    Your dandelion Split Pea Soup looks delicious. I just love the flavor combination and can't wait to try it. Enjoy your weekend and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

    1. Thanks so much! Let me know what you think if you make it.

  2. This looks amazing! I have some turky backs in the freezer right now... I will have to try it!

    1. Thanks, Amanda! Let me know what you think.

  3. This looks fantastic!! Great use of the turkey backs! Thanks for sharing at Foodtastic Friday!

  4. Where did you get turkey backs! I never heard of buying those, but I totally would at that price.

    Thanks for linking to Healthy 2day Wednesday. Hope to see you back this week!

    1. I got them at my local grocery- Market of Choice. See you Wednesday

  5. Fabulous recipe! Dandelion greens are so amazing for you and yet I can never get my kids to eat them. This recipe might be perfect for them and reduce the normal bitterness they have. Thank you for sharing with us on Allergy-Free Wednesdays! As a reminder, in order to be featured, please provide a link back to one of the AFW Hostesses. Have a lovely week!

    1. Hey! Thanks for stopping in. I linked up to AFW's DomesticDiva. Was I suppose to do something different? Let me know. I do want to follow the guidelines because I would love to be featured!

  6. The recipe looks delicious Jacquelyn - I've been wanting to try cooking some dandelion greens :)

  7. Hi, do you think this can be done in the turkey broth step could be done for 9 ish hours in the crock pot on low instead of in the stove?


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