Less than 24 hours ago, the leftovers were on their way the fridge and the turkey carcass was destined to be garbage. I intervened. Never mind that I had never made stock of any kind before; never mind that I didn’t even know if turkey stock was any good. I’d try, at least, to get just one more meal out of that turkey.
It worked! I now have half a dozen large containers of turkey stock (delicious – I tried it). I’ll bring one back to my parents, who were kind enough to give me the turkey bones in the first place, and try to rearrange the bread and milk and leftover mashed potatoes in the fridge until the remaining five find a home. We’ll have to start eating to clear out the freezer so I can save some stock for the cold winter months.
Making stock was much easier than I thought. The basic directions are:
- Throw turkey carcass, seasonings, and vegetables into a large stock pot; cover with 1″ cold water.
- Simmer for 4 hours.
If you want a few more details, though (and who can blame you), you can follow the recipe below. The only tip I’d add comes to straining at the end. I first used a set of tongs to remove bones and large vegetable pieces. I found it easiest to place my containers, one at a time, in the sink and set a mesh strainer on top. I then used a 1-quart measuring cup to transfer the stock through the strainer and into the container. This process worked really well for me. Another commenter suggested removing large pieces first and then letting the stock settle. After pouring the clear liquid into another container, let it settle again and pour it back into the first container. I had way too much liquid for this method, but if you had a smaller bird it would work well.
Adapted from Simply Recipes
- Remove all the usable turkey meat from the turkey carcass to save for making sandwiches later or for adding to the soup.
- Break up the leftover bones of the carcass a bit, so they don’t take up as much room in the pot. Put the leftover bones and skin into a large stock pot and cover with cold water by an inch. Add any drippings that weren’t used to make gravy, and any giblets (except liver) that haven’t been used already.
- Add a yellow onion that has been quartered, some chopped carrots, parsley, thyme, a bay leaf, celery tops, and some peppercorns.
- Bring to a boil and immediately reduce heat to bring the stock to a bare simmer. Skim off any foam that may float to the surface of the stock.
- Add salt and pepper. Don’t overdo it – you can always add salt to your soup later.
- Cook for at least 4 hours, uncovered, occasionally skimming off any foam that comes to the surface. Alternately, cook the stock in a 180-200°F oven.
- Remove the bones and veggies and strain the stock, ideally through a very fine mesh strainer.