Traditionally my family makes turkey soup from the carcass and left over turkey bones. I am personally not a fan of turkey soup — or for that matter turkey noodle casserole, but that’s for another post. Cooking school and a desire not to be wasteful prevents me from just throwing it all away, so I make stock.
Cooking terms lesson of the day: Stock is made by simmering bones and vegetables in a liquid (usually water). Stocks are the bases for soups and sauces and therefore should be lightly seasoned and, in my opinion, unsalted. Broth is very similar to stock except it derives it’s flavor from meat and vegetables rather than bones.
After making turkey or any other kind of stock, I usually divide it into 16-ounce deli containers and freeze it to use later as a base for soups (other than turkey) and in other dishes in place of chicken stock. I mean com’on… it’s easy to do, although a little time consuming, and virtually free! There is no real need to follow technique here and make sachets or bouquet garni, peel vegetables, etc. — it’s all gonna get strained out at the end.
Simple Turkey Stock
Turkey carcass, bones, wings, neck – meat removed
2 medium brown onions
3 celery ribs
2 large carrots
1 head garlic
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
12 springs fresh Parsley
A lot of ice
Cut carcass into 4 or 5 pieces and add to an 8- to 12-quart stock pot. Trim the root end off onions and quarter leaving the skins on. Scrub celery ribs and carrots and cut into chunks. Cut garlic clove in half horizontally (through the cloves). Add cut vegetables and remaining ingredients, except ice, to the pot. Cover with water; about 16 cups.
Over high heat, bring stock to a simmer, but not a full boil. Adjust heat and continue simmering for 3 to 4 hours. Every hour or so skim the impurities that have come to the surface and check to see that the water hasn’t evaporated too much – if it has, boil water in a kettle and add to the stock. Do not add cold water. Here you need to make a decision; if you want more of a lighter flavored stock – keep the water liquid level close to where it began. If you would like less of a richer flavored stock, then don’t keep adding so much boiling water and just let it reduce (my preference).
Once the stock is finished strain into another pot through a colander that has been lined with a couple layers of cheese cloth. If you don’t have cheese cloth on hand, then strain through the colander and then through a fine mesh strainer.
Important: To keep your stock safe from bacteria, it must be cooled quickly and properly. Put a stopper into the drain of your sink. Set the pot of strained stock into the sink and surround pot with ice. Fill sink with just enough water to come to the height of the stock in the pot. Stir the stock occasionally until cool. Transfer to the refrigerator to cool completely.
When you go to use it the stock, you may notice flecks of fat that, if you are a low-fat freak, you can remove with a spoon. However, DO NOT remove the gelatin like stuff that has congealed in the stock. This is the collagen that has been simmered from the bone and gives the stock it’s luscious body. The stock will last in the fridge for up to a week. If you are not going to use it in that time, it freezes really well for 3 or 4 months.
Peace – J
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