Let’s talk turkey. Turkey carcass, that is. No, don’t throw it away. Let’s use it. While I used to snicker when my aunt’s would decide who would bring home this year’s turkey bones or the ham bone at the holidays, I now understand. I get it. I have been enlightened. The power of making your own stock, your own broth may have been lost on me when I was 13 and had no time for such foolishness, but as I began to cook for my own family and not just my siblings while my mom worked night shifts as a Registered Nurse, I realized and understand what Laura Ingalls Wilder had taught me when I first read Little House in the Big Woods back in kindergarten. Use every last bit. Let nothing go to waste. Besides, it tastes better and is better for you than that sodium-packed, yellow dye no. 5 you can buy at the store. Oh, and it’s easy.
Take your turkey carcass and toss it in a stockpot. Mine happens to be an 8-quart. It’s about right for one average-sized bird carcass. If you had a larger bird (20 pounds or more), use a bigger pot. This is intuitive, right?
To my pot I added the end and tops of my celery stalk, a whole red onion, quartered with skins, a few shallots I had that had been sitting in the bottom of the veggie drawer too long, parsley from my herb pots and sage from my herb pots. You could add a bay leaf or two if you had them around. I did not, but I didn’t really miss them.
And fill with water until the turkey is completely covered and bring to a boil. After it comes to a boil, I keep my heat right below the “medium” level on my stove. Check on the pot every hour or so. If scum and foam starts to congregate on the top, just skim it off. If the bones start really sticking out of the water, you can add a bit more boiling water to the pot just so that they stay submerged.
After four or so hours, you’re ready to go. Fill the sink with ice, place another pot in it and a strainer on top. Pour your liquid through so the strainer catches all of your bones and vegetables.
Let the stock cool before moving it to a container to store it in. Remove any fat that may rise to the surface once the stock is refrigerated. Stock can be stored in the fridge for 2 or 3 days or in the freezer for a few months. It makes a wonderful soup or sauce base.
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