Bowl of the Wife of Kit Carson (Turkey Leg Soup With Chickpeas)

Total Time
14hrs 30mins
Prep 12 hrs
Cook 2 hrs 30 mins

This is the original, from-scratch recipe from Kit Carson's granddaughter, as given to Sam Arnold, original owner of the Fort Restaurant in Denver, Colorado. Adapted from Time-Life Foods of the World. Although there are many versions using cooked chicken and prepared broth, the original uses raw turkey legs and cooks them in seasoned water to make a savory soup. The avocado slices are Arnold's addition, so I have made them optional. If using frozen turkey, defrost thoroughly before cooking. Prep time includes time to soak the chickpeas (garbanzos). Carson City, the capital of Nevada, is named in Kit Carson's honor.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Drain garbanzos well. Do not save water.
  2. Place garbanzos in a large pot or Dutch oven.
  3. Add the 2 quarts water.
  4. Bring to a boil over high heat.
  5. Reduce heat to low, partially cover, and simmer until garbanzos are tender, about 1 hour.
  6. Remove garbanzos with a slotted spoon and set aside, reserving water.
  7. Add turkey legs to the cooking water. If there is not enough liquid to cover, add a little water.
  8. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil, skimming any foam that forms on top.
  9. Add onion, bay leaf, salt and peppercorns.
  10. Reduce heat to low, partially cover, and simmer until turkey is cooked and tender, about 45 minutes.
  11. Remove turkey legs and set aside.
  12. Strain and reserve liquid. Discard solids.
  13. Remove meat from turkey legs, cut into 1" cubes, and set aside. Discard skin and bones.
  14. Bring liquid to a boil over high heat.
  15. Stir in rice and oregano, and reduce heat to low.
  16. Cover tightly and simmer until rice is tender, about 20 minutes.
  17. Stir in garbanzos, turkey and chilies.
  18. Simmer just until all ingredients are heated through, 4-5 minutes.
  19. Ladle into a serving bowl and top with cheese and parsley.
  20. If using avocados, arrange on top.
  21. Serve hot.


Most Helpful

My favorite dish at the Fort outside Denver. Have looked for the recipe for years. It's truly wonderful. Thanks whom ever posted it.


Pachon'skitchen February 05, 2013

Soup is very good *but* labor-intensive.

I followed the recipe except added 1 cup of dried shiitake mushrooms (with extra water) to help flavor the broth because I didn't have bean water (I substituted a 15-oz can of garbanzos). Also, I suspect that the calorie count is off. A large turkey leg is supposed to have about 600 calories (so 1200 for two), and 8 oz of MJ cheese is 880. Yet, 1 of the 6 servings is supposed to have 717 calories? Oops, almost forgot. Used the whole bunch of parsley: chopped and added to the soup after the cooking was complete. The green looks pretty in there.

CooksWithPizazz November 06, 2012

Oh my, this was better than I expected. It was a lot of work, especially getting the meat off the bones but I think it was really worth it. It is one of the best stews I have ever had with poultry. The only thing I changed was the soaking time for the chickpeas because I know from experience the variety I bought doesn't need that long to soak and no avocado because they didn't have any at the supermarket that would be ripe for several days. I used Muenster because you can't jack cheese here. I will be used again for sure, it is a very cheap and tasty meal. Made for ZWT 8.

Tea Girl August 01, 2012

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