Thanksgiving Leftovers: Turkey Stock
More Thanksgiving leftover ideas!
Have you ever made your own stock? My husband and I started doing it a couple of years ago. Before, we’d throw away the bones of roast chicken or have that one stray chicken wing we didn’t know what to do with. We decided to start making homemade stock every once in awhile with those remnants and it was so good! I like using stock, homemade or otherwise, for all kinds of things. It adds an extra oomph of flavor to rice, you just substitute for the water. It’s also useful when making gravy and then of course as a base for soups (I’ll be sharing a soup recipe later in the week). It also freezes well, so you can make a big batch on a day when you’re home for awhile and then freeze it to use later!
Last year we made turkey stock for the first time. Between our Friendsgiving and regular Thanksgiving, we had a lot of turkey bones and stray pieces of meat. It seemed a shame to waste it! I also like making stock because it’s a good way to clear out the ole vegetable drawer. If you’re wondering what to do with that stray half of an onion sitting in the fridge, or that leek you never used for anything, stock is it!
So let’s get to it!
Start by breaking down your turkey bones into pieces small enough to fit into a stockpot or Dutch oven that holds at least 6 quarts. If you have some bones with a little meat left on them, that’s even better! Peel off any skin you can, that’s just going to make the stock greasy. Once all of your bones and meat have been added, fill in the crevices with your veggies, herbs, garlic and salt. Feel free to mix it up by using different herbs or onions. We had a leek in the fridge that we had no plans for, so I used that instead of one of the onions, this is a great place to get creative. If you knew you’d be using the stock as the basis for an Italian soup, you might want to add more Bay leaf and maybe some oregano and marjoram. If it’s going to be used in a Mexican soup, maybe add more garlic and some cumin. The recipe I give is just a starting point. Just make sure you don’t skimp on the amount of meat and veggies used. If you have juices left from the turkey (not fat, but juices), throw that in. Now pour over the water and put your pot on the stove over medium heat.
Bring it to a simmer and then cover and turn down the heat to low.
Let it slowly simmer for at least 3 hours. At that point, give it a taste. If it already has a flavor you like, take it off the heat. If not, let it go for more time, the flavor will get more intense the longer it simmers. Since we were home all day, I just let ours simmer for 5 hours and it was really flavorful by the end!
Now you can toss the big pieces and strain the broth. Let it sit at room temperature to cool. Then skim off any fat. If you’re not going to use it right away, go ahead and put it in the fridge once it’s to room temp. After a few hours, the fat will solidify and you can easily scrap it off the top. This broth will keep in the fridge for about 1 week and in the freezer for at least 2 months.
Because bones were used to the make the broth, it will become gelatinous once it’s chilled. Have no fear, it will liquefy once it’s reheated.
Have you made stock before? What do you like to use it for?
- 5-6 pounds turkey bones and meat scraps
- 2 large carrots cut into 2" chunks
- 2 stalks celery, cut into 2" chunks
- 2 medium onions halved
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 sprig of sage
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 quarts water
- Break down the turkey bones into pieces small enough to fit into a stockpot or Dutch oven that holds at least 6 quarts.
- Add the veggies, herbs, garlic and salt.
- Pour over the water and put over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and then cover and turn down the heat to low. Let it slowly simmer for at least 3 hours.
- At that point, give it a taste. If it already has a flavor you like, take it off the heat. If not, let it go for more time.
- Toss the big pieces and strain the broth. Let it sit at room temperature to cool. Skim off any fat. This broth will keep in the fridge for about 1 week and in the freezer for at least 2 months.