Turkey stock. Easy as pie.

November 26, 2010 · 9 comments

Maybe even a little easier than pie. Depending on whether you made your own crust or not. And whether, like me, you realized that foregoing the canned evaporated milk in favor of making your own creme fraiche for the first time (note: it doesn’t really work when your kitchen’s average temperature is 68º) to make the ONE Thanksgiving pie was, maybe, not such a great idea. (In the end, the pie was delicious. But let’s just say the panic that ensued en route did not leave me thinking the old saying had much validity.

I make this stock every year, and more than one time that involved my wrapping up the bones in either Mississippi or Pennsylvania and driving them 8-10 hours in a styrofoam cooler back to Georgia. I talk about that a little more at this post, where you can also find my recipe for Turkey Gumbo, the ultimate goal for this stock each year. But even if you don’t make the gumbo, you should use these bones for stock. You get a ton of bang for your turkey buck — the large size of the bird means you get a LOT of stock. Probably around 6 quarts, depending on the size of your stockpot.

You really have no excuse — other than maybe not having a pot big enough (though I’ll bet you could run out right now and find one on sale). If you made dressing yesterday, you probably already have everything on hand. And if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it an annoying number of times: there is nothing like using homemade stock in soups, sauces, and cooked grains. It makes everything richer, fresher, brighter, and much more nourishing. So, use what’s left of your Black Friday, and get to the stove.

Turkey Stock

  • large stock pot or dutch oven (at least 5-quart capacity, preferably 8 quarts or larger)
  • all the bones from yesterday’s turkey, meat removed and reserved
  • 1 large yellow onion, quartered (no need to peel)
  • 2 medium carrots, well-scrubbed and chopped into 2-inch rough pieces
  • 2 medium stalks celery, well-scrubbed, with leaves if possible, chopped into rough pieces
  • 2 dried bay leaves (optional)
  • a few sprigs fresh parsley (optional)
  • a Tbsp of black peppercorns (optional)

Place turkey bones in stockpot, breaking apart if necessary so they’ll fit. Fill pot with water (filtered if possible), and add the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to a very low simmer. Let cook for about 3 hours, adding water if necessary to keep level close to top of pot.

Strain broth, discarding vegetables and bones. Cool over an ice bath, then refrigerate overnight. Once cool, skim the fat from the surface (freeze for future use or discard). Freeze stock in pre-measured amounts in quart-sized freezer bags. Or use immediately in your favorite soup recipe.

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{ 9 comments }

FarmgirlCyn (Cindy) November 26, 2010 at 7:18 pm

This is exactly what I had planned on doing tomorrow. There is nothing like homemade stock!

katy November 28, 2010 at 6:49 pm

So glad to hear it. Another turkey carcass goes un-wasted!

Elizabeth D. Wiley November 27, 2010 at 7:31 am

Will do this! Thanks.

katy November 28, 2010 at 6:50 pm

how’s that immersion blender workin’ for ya?

Liz Wiley November 28, 2010 at 9:45 pm

love it! Before we left for T-giving, I think my meal planning was based on how many ways I could come up with to use my immersion blender. Thanks again.

Angie @ Just Like The Number November 27, 2010 at 6:49 pm

I’ve only cooked 2 turkeys in my lifetime, so I rarely end up with the turkey carcass. And my mother – who cooks our turkeys 90% of the time – never wastes a single thing. Meaning that carcass is hers and hers alone. So imagine my surprise when my sister, who didn’t even eat Thanksgiving dinner with us(!), was gifted the carcass by my mother. It was enough for the rest of us to eye her over suspiciously and ask, “How’d you get to be the favorite child all of a sudden?”

katy November 27, 2010 at 10:03 pm

Girl, you’ve gotta get in on that early next year (or figure out how to become the New Favorite Daughter). I was at the farmer’s mkt this morning, and someone said they just threw out the carcass of their pastured bird. It caused me physical pain.

Sacha November 28, 2010 at 6:21 pm

I’m going to try this in the slow cooker. Should work, I think.

katy November 28, 2010 at 6:46 pm

Sacha, it works great in the slow-cooker. The only drawback is that, depending on the size of your turkey, you might not be able to fit all of the “frame” (as I recently heard a farmer refer to the carcass) into the pot. No worries, though: if it doesn’t all fit, just make two batches of stock ; )

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