Sunday, November 14, 2010

How to make turkey stock from Thanksgiving turkey leftovers

I did our grocery shopping today. I think I might be the only person on Earth who gets excited by grocery shopping. I love sales, I love stocking up on items I know I'll need and I love menu planning and making inventory lists. It's quite a thrill! I know, I'm a little on the odd side.

Today at one local market they had frozen turkeys for 38cents per pound. You could only buy one and you had to purchase $25+ worth of other groceries, but since I was doing my shopping anyway, it wasn't difficult to do.  There were many good sales today, and I'll need to make another trip this week to pick up other items, so I'll get one more turkey before the sale ends. I was able to find a big 23-pound turkey! It is now in my son's freezer and I can't wait till Thanksgiving!

After Thanksgiving I enjoy making all kinds of things with the leftovers. Thanksgiving casserole, turkey salad sandwiches, Thanksgiving sandwiches and most of all turkey pot pie and turkey noodle or turkey rice soup. You can make at least a gallon or two of turkey stock for use in turkey pot pie and turkey soup with your turkey carcass. Here are detailed instructions for those that aren't really sure where to begin.

You can make your own turkey stock from the carcass and scraps from your Thanksgiving turkey. When the festivities are over and dinner dinner has been served and, save the carcass and any scraps and never ever let anything go to waste. There is a lot of flavor that can be pulled out of the carcass and the leftovers with a little effort.

Turkey Stock
carcass of one turkey - all bones, skin, leftover meat (throw it all in the pot, except the giblets; if you roasted more than one turkey, just use a bigger pot and extra carrots, onion, celery, garlic and water).
3 to 4 large carrots, peeled cut into quarters***
1 large onion, skin removed, cut into quarters***
5 to 6 celery ribs, cut into quarters
2 to 3 cloves garlic, smashed
salt to taste
4 to 8 quarts of water, depending on size of stockpot
Add carcass and all bones, skin leftover meat to the stockpot with carrots, celery, onions and garlic. Cover completely with water. Add a teaspoon of salt, if desired. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and let bubble for about 20 minutes. Reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer for 4 to 6 hours, until all meat has fallen off the bones. During the cooking process you may need to add more water and bring stock back to a boil, then reduce heat to low again.
Allow to cool, then strain into a very large bowl through a large colander to separate stock from the veggies, meat and bones. Remove any usable veggies and meat from the colander. Chop the veggies, shred the meat, add to the stock.
Store in 1 quart freezer bags that have been labeled and dated.  Yield: 4 to 8 quarts of stock, depending on the size of your stockpot. I get about 8 quarts out of this recipe.
I put a cookie sheet in the freezer and put the full bags (fill them only about three-quarters full) on the tray in the freezer. MAKE SURE THE BAGS ARE SEALED TIGHT BEFORE PLACING ON THE COOKIE SHEET! Once they are frozen solid, I stack them on top of each other flat, or they fit in sideways between things.
You can also freeze portions in an ice cube tray. Freeze solid, then pop out the cubes and store them in a labeled, dated freezer bag for later use. You can use these cubes in recipes calling for a tablespoon or two of stock.
Do not throw away your carrot peelings and onion skins! Throw those in the freezer and save them up to make your homemade veggie stock!
Rachael's Recipe Notes:
If you made your Thanksgiving turkey in a stand alone roaster, don't even bother cleaning it. Throw everything in the roaster as you would the stockpot, set temp to 325*F and let simmer overnight, stirring a few times before you go to bed. You'll get an extra boost of flavor from the drippings left over in the roaster.
You can reheat the stock, adding a cup or two of water to each quart to make soup. Add cooked noodles or rice, and more veggies if desired. Makes delicious turkey noodle or turkey rice soup. Great with grilled cheese and tomato or turkey salad sandwiches for lunch or dinner.
One of my favorite soups to make is turkey soup with stuffing dumplings. Either make your own stuffing, or use a box mix. Prepare according to package directions and allow to cool completely. Once cooled, scoop up stuffing using an ice cream scoop to make a rounded ball. CAREFULLY drop into hot soup (you should get to 6 to 8 stuffing balls from one box of mix. You can always make them smaller and get 12 to 16, if desired). Keep soup at medium low heat and allow to bubble about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low, cover and allow to cook another 5 minutes. Serves 4 to 6 people, depending on appetites. Great served with a big leafy green salad with homemade Italian or oil/vinegar dressing. Especially good with homemade or bottled ranch dressing.

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