Get the most out of your Thanksgiving turkey by making a nutritious culinary basic — homemade turkey stock. The smell of simmering turkey stock reminds me of home; I love it almost as much as I like a simple turkey-noodle soup. For that recipe, cook a couple of chopped carrots in turkey stock, then add in some cooked noodles (I love homemade noodles), and some shredded turkey, and season. Et voila! A delicious, filling yet light meal.
- Carcass of one 15-18 pound turkey
- 2 medium yellow onions, quartered
- 4 celery ribs, cut in 2-inch chunks
- 4 carrots, cut in 2-inch chunks
- Water, to cover most of turkey
- 6 parsley stems (optional)
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 8 black peppercorns
- Cheesecloth and 6-inch piece of butcher’s twine
Place turkey carcass in a large stockpot; don't even bother stripping off any meat that remains, as it will flavor the stock. Add the vegetables to the pot. Cover with water by about 1–inch. Wrap the parsley stems, bay leaves, and peppercorns together in cheesecloth and tie with butcher’s twine. Add to the stock pot.
Place the pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Immediately lower to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 3–4 hours. Check the stock every once in a while, making sure the bird is mostly covered with water and that it is gently simmering, so as to extract as many nutrients from the bones as possible. Skim off any fat or foam that arises to the surface.
Once the stock has cooked, remove the carcass and discard. Pour the stock through a fine mesh strainer and press on the vegetables gently to extract any remaining moisture. Skim off any remaining fat that rises to the surface if you are going to use immediately, or cool the stock down in the fridge overnight, if you have the space, to make skimming off any fat that easy — it rises to the surface and slightly solidifies. If you’re not going to use the stock, spoon into freezer-safe containers and store in freezer for later use.