Thanksgiving dinner was pleasant this year. I enjoyed the traditional fixings of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and broccoli casserole with Sean’s family. After dinner, I proceeded to seize the item in the kitchen that I had been eying all evening: the turkey carcass. I finessed this endeavor by simply being the only person that actually wanted it, of course. Since the cavity did not fit in a freezer sized zip lock bag, into a Glad garbage bag it went! Classy.
I won’t display the gory details of the turkey carcass, but it was essentially used to create my homemade stock. If you have never made homemade stock before, you’re missing out. Whether it is chicken, turkey, vegetable, or what have you, it is something I really enjoy making because the results are incomparable to what’s available at a grocery store. Even if it seems tedious to make, perhaps I can still change your position on the matter.
My obsession with homemade stock comes from my mother’s obsession (no surprise!). It is rooted from a combination of never letting things go to waste and producing the healthiest stock/broth without artificial flavors (e.g., MSG) or other unwanted ingredients. Another economical perk is that you get practically two or more meals for the price of one, assuming you have a whole chicken or turkey. The true cost? Time. It does take some nurturing on the stove top, simmering away for several hours, but once you get it set up, you can leave it alone to do its thing. It’s the ideal lazy Sunday afternoon activity when you are waiting for laundry, doing the dishes, or packing for my Monday morning travel adventure.
The stock enhancement add-ins:
Homemade Turkey Stock Recipe
Preparation Time: 4 hours and 15 minutes
Yield: Varies, approximately 2 quarts
- Turkey carcass/bones, plus giblets
- 2 carrots, halved
- 2 onions, halved
- 2 celery stalks, with leafy green tops (the best part!), coarsely chopped
- Handful of parsley, stems included
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- Optional: mushroom stems, Parmesan cheese rinds, other vegetable clippings (I usually collect and save these in a freezer zip-lock bag for the purpose of making stock)
- Water, enough to just cover turkey bones in the stock pot
- Salt and pepper
- Large stock pot
- Medium stock pot
- Chef knife and cutting board
- Mesh strainer or colander
- Place the first six ingredients in a large stockpot and fill with water until it barely covers the turkey bones. Don’t worry if some are not submerged yet; over time, they will loosen up and fall apart.
- Bring pot to a boil and immediately reduce the heat to a low simmer. Skim off any foam that rises to the surface. Simmer partially covered for four hours, stirring and breaking up ingredients once every hour. Skim fat and oil with a ladle. Remove from heat.
- Using a strainer, pour stock into an empty medium stock pot. Skim off additional fat if necessary. Season with salt and pepper as desired. Remember, be moderate with the salt because you can’t take it out once it’s too salty. It’s now ready to use or store in the freezer!
This same method works for other types of stock, too. If I don’t need all the stock at once, I measure one-cup portions into zip lock bags or small tupperware containers, and in the freezer they go.
The result: Rich, flavorful, soothing, and aromatic stock that fills the house with warm goodness. The vegetables truly add a deep flavor dimension to the stock, especially when there are mushroom stems and cheese rinds in there. Plus, stock is so versatile because it is used in countless recipes. It’s tough to beat when it’s homemade.