Turkey stock many is not on the shelves at your grocery store, but that doesn’t mean you get off the hook when Thanksgiving is over. Creating a stock from turkey bones is incredibly easy and can enhance any leftover dishes you create.
I’ve finally gotten through all of the leftover meat from cooking a turkey breast in a pot with gravy.For only two people, cooking and eating a 7-pound turkey was more of a feat than I originally planned. Aside from the original recipe, I made a turkey pie with a mashed potato topping soon to be featured in the Indianapolis Star and a leftover turkey and great northern bean soup for Randall Beans. I even warmed up a few pieces to enjoy with a cheesy brussels sprouts and wild rice casserole. For a $14 turkey breast, we got at least 4 meals out of it.
Turkey stock may not be a meal, but it can be used just like your regular stock or even in place of water. For the wild rice in my casserole, I chose to boil it in turkey stock to add another layer of flavor. Use it in your soups, as a braising liquid or reduce it down and add a roux to make a gravy!
WHAT IS STOCK?
GREAT QUESTION. I recently pondered the difference between stock and broth in a post as I myself was confused about which to use and why. In a nutshell, the stock is the basic water + meat bones + some meat, while broth adds carrots, celery, onion, and other aromatics. Read my post if you’d like to learn more about the history of how both came to be.
A few weeks ago I went to a class about making stock by my good friend Rob Gaston. I’ll share a few of his tips with you here. One of them was that he made chicken stock in a slow cooker, which reminded me of how versatile the slow cooker can be.
THE TOOLS YOU NEED:
- Slow cooker
- Turkey bones
- Fine mesh sieve
- Glass or plastic containers
Step 1: Add the turkey bones to the slow cooker. Here is what the turkey looks like in the slow cooker. It just barely fit, and in retrospect, I realize I could have broken the bones in half to get it to fit better. It may look like a lot of meat is left on the bones, but it really was not that much and not worth using a tweezer to pull off.
Tip: Remove as much fat and skin from the turkey bones as you can. You are going to skim the extra fat off in the end, but that does not mean it is okay for the fat to cook with the stock. It can change the taste and not for the better.
Yes, these are bones from just the breast. Turkeys are big.
Step 2: Add cold water. I did not measure the water, but if I had to guess it was probably about 10 cups. There’s no need to measure – just make sure you add enough water to cover all of the bones. The less water you use, the stronger the stock will be. The more water, the weaker, but you can always reduce it later.
TIP: Rob taught us that when making stock, you want to start with cold water and let it come to a warmer temperature with the bones at the same time. Some proteins only dissolve in cold water, such as albumin, which also helps you get a clearer stock.
Step 3: Set it and forget it. Once I snapped the lid on, I set the slow cooker on low for 8 hours. When I got home, the stock smelled delicious and tasted fantastic.
Step 4: Strain the stock into containers. I removed the larger bones and let the stock cool slightly in the slow cooker. Then I lined a fine mesh sieve with cheesecloth and poured the stock through it to remove any small pieces of bone or meat. The stock was left to sit in the refrigerator for one hour, allowing the fat to rise to the service and solidify so you can easily skim it off and discard it.
And that, my friends, is how you achieve turkey stock.
Sounds easy, right? Almost TOO easy.
Store the stock in the refrigerator for up to five days. If you will not use it before then, freeze it in a freezer-safe container or pour the stock into ice cubes which can be easily melted in smaller amounts.
In the colder months, I use several boxes of store bought the stock a week. The ability to make my own every now and again means one less thing to purchase AND homemade stock taste so much better.