Make Your Own Turkey Stock

Making your own turkey stock can be fun, and your home made stock will be full of flavors that can be incorporated into many delicious dishes. This is my traditional activity for the day after cooking a turkey, after having eaten dinner and slept overnight, upon facing the new day and the need to secure the turkey leftovers.

Check here if you're interested in my tips on how to cook your turkey.

1 turkey carcass
1 medium onion, chopped
5-6 ribs celery, julienned
5-6 sprigs parsley
1 large or 2 small carrots, julienned
2 large or 3 small bay leaves
1 dozen peppercorns
1-2 t. thyme
8-12 qt. water, as required

The only essential ingredients are the turkey carcass and the water. It's perfectly acceptable to use more or less of any of the remaining ingredients depending on preference and availability, or leave them out entirely. The onion, celery, carrots, bay leaves and peppercorns are important.

A 12 quart stock pan (or larger) is ideal for making stock but any large pot that can be loosely covered will suffice. After you have carved the turkey and removed all the edible meat, break apart and disjoint the rest of the turkey including all skin, bones, tendon and anything else you won't eat including the Pope's nose! Place the turkey parts plus the remaining ingredients in the stock pot and cover with cold water. Some advise blanching the turkey parts and then discarding the water before continuing, but I've never done that and I still achieve good results.

Heat the pot over a medium flame until the contents reach a brisk simmer, then cover loosely and reduce the heat to low. Ideally the surface should be barely disturbed by simmering and a small amount of steam may be visible. Check the pot every hour or so and continue to simmer for 4 to 16 hours, adding additional water if necessary to keep the solid contents covered. I sometimes simmer it overnight if I've started late in the day. Just make sure there is sufficient water so that it won't boil dry.

When you feel you have simmered the stock sufficiently, remove it from the heat and allow it to cool, uncovered, and then using tongs and a strainer remove and discard as much of the solid material as possible. It's okay if you want to nibble some of the meat or vegetables, I do that too! :-)

Once all of the large pieces are discarded, pour the liquid through a strainer into another container. If you would like the stock stronger, return the liquid to the pot and simmer over a low flame until the contents are reduced to your satisfaction. When the stock is cooled to room temperature, cover it and store overnight in the refrigerator.

The next day take it out of the refrigerator and skim off any fat on the surface using a spoon, strainer or both. I sometimes heat it again, let it cool and refrigerate it overnight again, and then repeat the skimming process to remove more fat. At cold temperatures the stock will be gelled particularly if you reduced it a fair amount. Heat it slightly until it pours easily and then divide it into individual containers for storage.

Stock will keep for about 5 days to a week in the refrigerator, or indefinitely if frozen.

Credit: My own recipe inspired by Joy of Cooking cookbook.

Filed under Poultry   Tagged sauces, turkey