You have the remnants of a turkey; you may as well get some good stock out of it. It’s easier to do than you might think, and doesn’t require hours of simmering on the stove. For a quick, basic stock, all you need to do is cover your stripped turkey carcass with water in a big pot, add a halved onion and carrot if you like, bring it to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes or so, then cool and strain; but there are plenty of easy ways to get a richer, darker, more flavorful stock with little effort. Roasting or browning any type of meat improves its flavor, so roasting the meaty bones before you make stock intensifies the flavor and creates a deeper, richer color. With a whole turkey carcass to start with, you’ll wind up with enough to build a good stash in the freezer to use in recipes all winter.
Here are a few tips for a rich, yet simple turkey stock:
- for a richer flavour and colour, roast your stripped turkey carcass in the oven until browned
- onion skins and celery leaves make a great stock – throw an unpeeled quartered onion (or just the trimmings left over from the stuffing) and
- the inside stalks of celery that tend to get thrown out into your pot with the carcass
- cover the carcass with cool water and bring the whole thing to a boil; let it simmer for about 20 minutes and then turn the heat off and let it cool, steeping as it does – there is no need to boil it for hours
- once cool enough to handle, pull out the bones and strip off any remaining meat into the stock; chill
- don’t be freaked out when it turns into gel; how do you think they make gelatin anyway?
- any fat can be plucked off the top once it has risen and solidified in the fridge
- if you freeze it in glass jars, make sure you leave plenty of room for expansion so that the glass doesn’t break (this may seem obvious, but I’ve done it myself far too many times)
- I like to strain off the pure stock, then turn what’s left in the bottom of the pot – stock with chunks of turkey that have been coaxed off the bone – into chunky turkey soup for dinner.
For more leftover turkey recipes, check out the slideshow!