My family celebrated Thanksgiving this past weekend with our out-of-town relatives. After my Aunt had finished carving the turkey, some helpful soul offered to take the turkey carcass out to the trash. “No!” she and I exclaimed, as we had planned to make turkey stock. I wrapped the turkey in foil, set it aside and took it home with a jar of the drippings that we had collected.
The turkey still had lots of meaty bits on it, and it was a large turkey – 17 pounds. I divided it in half and put on half in the slow cooker, with some onions, carrots, fennel, fronds and all, garlic, fresh celery, thyme, rosemary, bay leaves and marjoram from my garden, and some salt, and set it on high.
The other half got the same treatment, but went into a stock pot which I brought to a simmer.
Once the slow cooker got to a simmer, I skewed the lid a little to let some steam out, so that the stock would reduce, thus concentrating the flavor. I left both on simmer for 6 hours until each had reduced a by several inches in their respective pots.
I tasted the stock, and determined the the flavor was concentrated enough, so I set up my strainer, which consisted of a large stainless bowl, with a strainer set inside, with a thin cloth to catch the bones, particles and most of the grease.
After first discarding the larger bones, vegetables and whatnot that I could scoop out. I poured the stock through the cloth, the transferred into quart sized jars for freezing. I allowed the stock to cool off, before putting on the lids and transferring to the freezer.
Once cooled, I labeled the jars, for future reference, and transferred the stock to my chest freezer.
One 17 pound turkey, provided 10 quarts of stock, which I divided with my aunt.
For dinner last night, I made a leftover turkey soup, with some stock, turkey chopped into chunks, 1 jalapeno, avocado, tortilla chips, and some grated Full Quiver Cheese and garden cilantro for garnish. My garnishes sunk before I could get a good picture, but the soup was hearty, hot and delicious.
Once your Thanksgiving is over, don’t throw out that turkey carcass, make stock! Use it as you would any broth or stock from the store; as a base for soups, for rice dishes, paella and stews. A good stock adds an amazing depth of flavor to anything you use it in. You’ll have total control of the ingredients, and the flavor profile you want it to take. There really is no recipe. Sometimes I add spicy, smokey pepper flakes, sometimes black pepper, sometimes Mexican Mint Marigold.
A popular store bought variety of Chicken Broth lists its ingredients as:
Chicken broth, salt, monosodium glutamate, dextrose, yeast extract, chicken flavor, flavoring, corn syrup solids, autolyzed yeast extract, chicken fat, hydrolyzed soy protein, chicken broth powder.
I don’t know what most of those ingredients are, and don’t need corn syrup, so I’m sticking with my homemade stock. Once you’ve had your homemade stock, you’ll never go back to store bought again.