Keep the Carcass for Savory Goodness
It's tempting to simply toss the turkey carcass in the trash after you and your family finish eating the bird. But making stock takes only one pot and a small of amount of effort. Save the task for a weekend when you have time at home and you'll be rewarded with a flavorful broth you can use later for delicious soups and stews. The broth stays good in the fridge for three to four days and keeps its flavor in the freezer for two to three months.
The stock recipe here calls for very little seasoning. As a result, you can use the stock freely, adding spices specific to the recipe it's later used for. If desired, add a few cups of roughly chopped celery, a cup of parsley stems and leaves or a few sprigs of fresh thyme. These ingredients enrich the stock but are not necessary for savory flavor.
Total Time: 2 to 3 hours | Prep Time: 5 minutes | Yields: 6 to 8 cups
- 1 turkey carcass, including skin and other bones
- 1 onion, peeled and quartered
1 cup carrots, roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
- Place all the ingredients in a large pot and cover them with about 1 inch of water. Cover the pot and bring the stock to a boil over high heat.
- After the water boils, reduce the heat to a very low simmer and cook the stock for 2 to 3 hours until the vegetables are completely soft and the meat has slipped off the bone. Check the water every so often to ensure it is covering the ingredients.
- Using a large spoon, skim off any accumulated foam from the pot every half hour if you want a clear stock. This foam, or scum, is protein from the turkey meat. It doesn't affect the taste of the stock, but it does make the liquid more cloudy than it would be without skimming.
- Set a large strainer into a bowl big enough to contain it and all of the stock, and then pour the broth through the strainer. Press lightly on the vegetables with the back of a spoon to extract more liquid. Let the stock cool for 30 minutes on the counter. Discard the solids, or pick off bits of turkey meat to use in enchiladas or turkey soup.
- Using a ladle or cup, transfer the stock into containers to refrigerate or freeze. Skim off the layer of fat that forms at the top of the stock after it has been in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours or overnight.
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Susan Lundman began writing about her love of cooking, ingredient choices, menu planning and healthy eating after working for 20 years on children's issues at a nonprofit organization. She has written about food online professionally for ten years on numerous websites, and has provided family and friends with homemade recipes and stories about culinary adventures. Lundman received her M.A. from Stanford University.