Mary Anne here. In years past, I haven’t had great luck when it came to preparing a homemade stock from the carcass of our Thanksgiving turkey. For whatever reason, my mom’s chicken stock (from her Matzo Ball Soup) works perfectly for chicken, but somehow does not translate when it comes to the mightier bird. I’ve followed many different recipes, but no matter the method, my turkey stock fell short and resembled something akin to dirty dishwater.
Given that Feast on the Cheap is dedicated to the tenet that no scrap go uneaten, I decided to try, just one more time and…eureka! Julia Child (my personal kitchen Goddess and go-to-gal (second to my mom) came to my rescue! As it turns out, there’s one little trick that absolutely, positively makes all the difference. As per Ms. Child’s instructions in The Way to Cook, browning the turkey bones and assorted vegetables prior to simmering the mix creates a stock both rich and rewarding.
I’m certain this method adds a bit more time to the equation, but the resulting stock is certainly worth the extra 30 minutes. I’ve added my own spin on Ms. Child’s basic recipe and while your own turkey carcass is long gone, tuck this recipe into the back of your file to use at Christmas or any other event that calls for a big, fat bird.
Rich Turkey Stock
Makes 4 quarts
Note: You will need your largest sauté pan for browning the bones and then a stockpot for simmering the broth.
To create a soup that keeps on giving, add 2 cups of cooked vegetables, such as carrots, peas, celery, onions or whatever you have on hand per 2 quarts of stock. Additionally, add either cooked brown rice or pasta (about 2 cups again) as well as leftover, shredded poultry. I used 2 quarts of stock for immediate use and froze the other 2 quarts for a snowy, sleepy day certain to arrive in January!
1 turkey carcass, cut or broken up into convenient sized pieces – stock
3 Tablespoons canola oil – stock
1 ½ cups chopped carrots – stock
1 ½ cups chopped onion – stock
1 cup chopped celery – stock
1 cup white wine or sherry – stock
2 cups low-sodium canned chicken broth – stock
water to cover
1 Bay leaf – stock
½ Teaspoon each of dried Savory, Sage, and Thyme – stock
1 ½ Teaspoons Kosher salt – stock
¾ Teaspoon pepper – stock
any leftover scraps of vegetables in the fridge or freezer as mentioned above (optional)
Grand Total Assuming Well-Stocked Pantry and a fridge full of leftover Christmas or Turkey Day veggies: $0.00
1. Cut or break up the bones to fit your sauté pan. Heat the oil in the pan and add the bones. Sauté the bones until brown on all sides, about 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a large stockpot.
2. Using the same sauté pan, cook the carrots and onion, stirring frequently, until pale gold, about 10 minutes. Add a bit more oil to the pan if necessary. Transfer the veggies to the same stockpot with the bones.
3. Pour off any accumulated fat from the sauté pan. Deglaze the pan by pouring in the wine or sherry; bring it to a low boil, scraping up all of the browned bits.
4. Pour the wine from the sauté pan into the stockpot. Add the chicken broth and enough water to cover the bones by about an inch. Cover and heat to a simmer.
5. Simmer for about 45 minutes. During this time, skim off the gray scum that rises to the top.
6. Add the seasonings and any other bits and scraps of leftover veggies that would otherwise go uneaten. Simmer, partly covered, for about 1½ hours.
7. Strain the soup into a clean vessel. Discard the bones and veggies. Place the stock in the freezer for up to 1 hour and then skim off any fat that has risen to the surface.