Soups Tex-Mex

Turkey enchilada verde soup

turkey enchilada verde soup | Homesick Texan

Three weeks ago on a Friday, I found myself back in Texas so I could give my talk at the University of Texas at Arlington. It went well and the students seemed to enjoy the subject matter—though who doesn’t enjoy talking about cheese enchiladas, old friends, grandparents and recipes? In any case, because I’d been a nervous wreck leading up to the talk, I hadn’t spent much time focusing on anything else that was going on in the world.

So imagine my surprise when I woke up on Saturday to the news that a big storm was heading to New York City. The reports coming from the East Coast were full of panic and fear—I began to worry. There was talk of high winds breaking windows, power outages, and more. What should I do? My flight back to New York wasn’t planned for Sunday but I considered changing it so I could return to New York and guard my apartment against destruction. Of course, this was foolish thinking and when the mayor announced areas of my neighborhood would be evacuated, I decided to spend a week in Texas until the storm passed. It was an excellent decision.

As it happened, my apartment was without power for four days, which would not have been fun. If you’re from Houston, you’ve probably been there before and know that eating peanut butter and playing board games gets old after a while. That said, no power would have been the worst of the storm for me, as so many others have suffered much, much more.

turkey enchilada verde soup | Homesick Texan

There are still plenty of people without electricity, without running water, without heat, and without homes—it’s devastating to hear the news. You try to help in whatever way that you can, but you may feel that it’s not enough. It’s at this point that I sit back and just feel grateful for the ability to do something—no matter how small or how grand the gesture may be.

How appropriate, then, our national holiday of giving thanks is in a few days. While most of us will spend this week preparing for a big meal, I think the key to a truly happy Thanksgiving is simply enjoying the company you’re with and being grateful for what you do have. The holiday is called Thanksgiving, after all!

Now, I have many recipes that are appropriate for the feast—lots of starters, desserts and sides. My plan had been to show you my favorite turkey recipe, but that just didn’t happen—perhaps next year instead. But in the spirit of sharing food and cleaning out the refrigerator, I do have a day-after-Thanksgiving turkey enchilada verde soup that I think you’ll appreciate come this weekend.

There are countless ways to use up your Thanksgiving leftovers, but this quick and easy soup is one of my favorites, as the flavors are lively and probably very different from what you ate the day before. It’s a good change of pace. To make the soup, you whip up a quick salsa verde (though if you wanted to use a pre-made salsa verde that’s totally fine, too) and then add turkey or chicken broth, leftover turkey, black beans, cheese and tortilla chips. For the finishing touch, I doll it up with sour cream, cilantro and avocado.

turkey enchilada verde soup | Homesick Texan

Of course, this soup doesn’t have to be eaten the day after Thanksgiving and can easily be made with chicken if you have that on hand instead. But I do recommend you eat it with loved ones and give thanks that you’re together, as that’s the most important thing of all.

turkey enchilada verde soup | Homesick Texan
5 from 1 vote

Turkey enchilada verde soup

Servings 8
Author Lisa Fain


Ingredients for the salsa verde:

  • 1/2 pound fresh tomatillos, husked, or 1 (10-ounce) can of tomatillos
  • 1/4 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 jalapeños, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Ingredients for the soup::

  • 4 cups turkey or chicken broth
  • 4 cups diced cooked turkey, white and/or dark meat, diced
  • 1 (15-ounce ) can black beans, drained or 2 cups cooked black beans, drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, plus more for serving
  • 1 cup 4 ounces Monterey Jack, shredded, plus more for serving
  • 1/2 cup crushed tortilla chips
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Salt
  • Sour cream, for serving
  • 1 avocado peeled, pitted, and cut into wedges, for serving


  1. First make the salsa verde. If using fresh tomatillos, place them in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and then simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. They should be softened and a lighter green. Turn off the heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes. If using canned tomatillos, skip this step.

  2. Place the tomatillos in a blender, along with either 1 cup of the cooking water or 1 cup of the canned tomatillos’ liquid. Add to the blender the onion, garlic, jalapeños and cilantro. Blend until smooth. You should have about 2 cups.

  3. To make the soup, pour the salsa verde into a large pot. Add the broth, turkey, black beans, cumin, oregano and cilantro. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 15 minutes. Add the shredded cheese and while occasionally stirring, continue to cook until the cheese has melted, about 5 minutes. Stir in the crushed tortilla chips and simmer for 5 more minutes. Add the lime juice and then adjust seasonings, adding salt to taste.

  4. To serve, top each bowl with shredded Monterey Jack, sour cream, avocado, and cilantro.

  1. Anonymous

    So glad you updated your blog. Was very concerned for your well-being due to Sandy!
    Lydia in Falcon, Colorado

  2. Lisa Fain

    Lydia–You're so sweet–thank you for thinking of me!

  3. Heidi in DF

    Like Lydia, I had been hoping you were weathering the storm and after effects well. Glad to hear that you got a longer visit to Texas out of the deal. Here's to being thankful for and enjoying our loved ones…best part of any holiday 🙂 (but that soup looks excellent, too!)

  4. Celeste

    This sounds like a something that would be nice and easy after cooking the big feast! I could even get it started ahead of time to enjoy after some Christmas shopping.

    Welcome home; I'm so glad it worked out for you to miss out on being in a hurricane.

  5. Julie @ Texan New Yorker

    So glad to hear you are okay after Sandy. The soup looks wonderful. Your post is very touching. The devastation here is so heart-breaking. I did some debris clean-up with a volunteer effort in Breezy Point last week and that just about did me in. But, makes me so grateful to be having a warm, healthy Thanksgiving in my intact apartment. It was humbling, for sure. Blessings to you this Thanksgiving, have a wonderful holiday!

  6. That is one tasty sounding soup!

  7. Gosh I love your blog. All your recipes look so delicious, my husband always gets excited when I tell him I'm trying a recipe from Homesick Texan!

  8. Anonymous

    This is great, thanks so much! As a Texan who was without power for 10 days after Ike in Houston, and without power for 6 days in the East Village after Sandy, I've had my fill of peanut butter and board games! I will point out that as unpleasant as it has been in NYC after the storm, at least we don't have to deal with food rotting in over 90 degree temperatures, I've never smelled anything worse than Houston in the week after Ike.

  9. This soup looks killer. Just put the recipe in my "to cook" folder.

  10. Novelismo

    That soup sounds great. I bet you could make it with fried potatoes instead of turkey leftovers, though a good turkey broth would be essential. I make yours next time I have turkey leftovers though.

  11. Lisa Fain

    Heidi–Yes, I can't complain about a longer trip to Texas!

    Celeste–It's very easy!

    Julie–The storm has been very humbling. Blessings to you, too!

  12. Lisa Fain

    Kevin–It is indeed!

    Tara–That's high praise. Thank you!

    Anon–There's nothing worse than the smell of rotting food.

    Mike–Great–I hope you enjoy it!

    Novelisimo–That's an interesting approach.

  13. Thanks for the update about the storm, having weathered a hurricane with no power since moving to TX my heart really goes out to everyone affected by Sandy. The fact that it happened during colder months to me just seems like a lot of the devastation from the storm would be harder to deal with.

  14. Lisa Fain

    Susan–The lack of heat for some had been hard, but every major hurricane has their challenges.

  15. Anonymous

    Our only child endured the hurricane from hell in brooklyn.She is okay, we will see her pretty your blog, good to get the recipe as we are having our meal on friday and will need some good soup recipes, I am spanish & I love some heat, I have some chilis from new mexico coming soon, will use your recipe, it sounds so delish, I always have avocados in our home, I have to have it lively here as we have almost203 days of inclement weather not like Texas at all, love love Texas visited it a lot when we lived in Colorado, oh, how we miss the west as we know it..happy thanksgiving day..god's blessings..

  16. Just made this tonight (with my leftover turkey) and this was a real winner. Cheated and used jarred salsa verde and it worked perfectly. Going to make the salsa verde in the next batch. Well done HomesickTexan.

  17. BrendaB

    I made this tonight with jarred salsa verde (needed something easy), and it was even more delicious than I expected! My family loved it. Thanks!

  18. I'm so glad that you're OK. I was beginning to worry about you ( I hope I don't sound creepy) I'm glad you're back!

  19. Stacy Moore

    Made this the day after Thanksgivinbg for my daughter & her husband. It was WONDERFUL! The salsa verde was a breeze to whip together and everyone enjoyed it. We had none left at the end of the meal. Thank you for your blog. Texas is my adopeted home country (my brother & his family live there) but I actually live in Southern California & your blog makes me feel like I'm there. Especially when I make one of your recipes.

  20. This looks delicious and I'm glad that you came through it all and are alright.

  21. This looks amazing. Can't wait to make it! My family will love it!! Right up our alley!

  22. Catherine B

    Made this on Sunday after Thanksgiving. Sooooo good! I think I'll make it again tonight!

  23. Liza in Ann Arbor

    Mmmm…I'm always on the lookout for a new soup recipe. This looks like a great one to try!

  24. Jean |

    Lisa, we were all saddened by the devastation of the storm. I'm so glad you came through it okay. I was writing some articles for a magazine in Houston during Ike, and it was difficult just hearing the stories the people I was interviewing told.

    This soup sounds wonderful! Next time I roast a turkey I'll give it a try.

  25. Shelley

    How about some kind of "spicy rating" so we know how wild, or unwild, any given recipe is?

    Some stomachs are not as ironclad as others….

  26. Chelsea

    Made this on Sunday night and it was so so good. I made a double batch and it still disappeared completely!

  27. Lisa Fain

    Anon–I'm so glad your daugher's okay.

    Tony–So pleased you enjoyed it!

    BrendaB–Excellent news! I'm glad it made y'all happy.

    Jen123–Thank you for your concern–between the storm, the holidays and my new book, I've been very busy.

    Stacy Moore–Hurrah! And thank you for reading.

    Alicia–Thank you.

    Debroah–Yep, if you like salsa verde you can't go wrong with this. Hope they enjoy it.

    Catherine–Yay! I'm happy to hear it was a hit!

    Liza–I'm bised, of course, but it's quick and good.

    Jean–Yes, the stories have been sad. My heart goes out to all of those that were affected.

    Shelley–Hmmm, that's an interesting idea.

  28. I made this soup last Sunday night using spicy roast chicken thighs, but had to stop halfway through the recipe (at the oregano) because that's when I first tasted the soup and discovered it was so, so very good. I decided I didn't want to risk adding any more ingredients to it. this is/was really delicious, an instant crave for this winter. Thanks very much for sharing it! I can't wait to make this soup now again and again. Ann

  29. Linda Texas

    After Thanksgiving 2012, I gave my mom this recipe because we were left with an overwhelming amount of turkey. She made this soup for us and it is now a family favorite. She's made it at least a dozen other times since then, using not only turkey but rotisserie chicken, baked chicken, and even the red, marinated chicken from our local Mexican meat market. I have a large family and we all love this dish so much! Thanks!

  30. Jenniffier Kramer

    Thanks so much for this recipe. I just tried it tonight, but with smoked chicken (it was what we had on hand). It turned out fantastic and my husband and I have decided that it is a make again.

  31. Anonymous

    Hi, there! I somehow happened upon this recipe this week (Thanksgiving 2014) – I think a friend posted a link to this blog on Facebook. I just wanted to let you know that I made the soup today, and it's amazing! Thank you, and I hope you are well!

    -Jenn Dewhirst, Houston, TX

  32. Shasta Gaither

    Well this is Thanksgiving 2018 and I’m just seeing this recipe. I made it last night and it was phenominal!!! Makes me want to cook another Turkey so I can have leftovers and make this again! My 21 month old granddaughter asked for more!

    • Lisa Fain

      Shasta–I’m so glad y’all enjoyed it! And it’s always a good decision to make an extra turkey this time of year!

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