When Thanksgiving is over,don’t throw away that turkey carcass! Use it to make delicious turkey stock and treat everyone to turkey noodle soup this week.
Will your family enjoy a wonderful roast turkey this Thanksgiving? When you are cleaning up after the big feast on Thursday night, be sure to save the turkey carcass! You can turn those bones into rich, delicious turkey stock which is perfect for making soup and risotto or for braising greens this winter.
To make turkey stock, place your turkey carcass in a large deep stockpot, preferably a 12-quart one. Add soup vegetables, such onions, carrots, and celery, for flavor. You barely have to do anything to prepare the vegetables. I wash the carrots and celery because I don’t enjoy dirt in my stock, but I don’t even bother to peel the carrots or the onions. Indeed, the outer skins of the onions add nice color.
My secret ingredient for delicious poultry stock, be it chicken or turkey, comes from my grandmother, Hortense Paster. She always added a parsnip or two to her stock for sweetness. So you should do the same. Again, wash the parsnip, but no need to peel it or remove the woody core as you would if you were going to eat it.
Feel free to add other raw (not cooked) vegetable trimmings if you have them. As an example, you could include the stalks of a fennel bulb or the green tops of leeks. I also add some garlic cloves, parsley, peppercorns and a dried chile or two to my stock pot for added depth of flavor.
I don’t add salt, however, because I prefer to wait until the stock is made and then determine if it needs salt. The turkey will have been seasoned with salt prior to cooking, you see, and you cannot be sure much of that salt is still present. It would be a shame to end up with inedible stock from adding salt on top of salt. So hold off on seasoning with salt until the end.
This turkey stock happens to be the perfect base for making homemade turkey noodle soup in the days following the holiday, which is a great use for any leftover turkey meat. This is one of my favorite post-Thanksgiving meals!
But you certainly do not have to use your turkey stock right away. It will last a week in the fridge, or much longer if frozen.
What if you don’t want to deal with making stock from the turkey carcass this week? Perhaps you have guests staying with you or plan to go crazy with Black Friday shopping. That’s easy. Wrap the carcass well in foil and pop it in the freezer. Bookmark this post and use the carcass to make stock in a week or two — or even a month — when you have a quiet afternoon at home. Perhaps when it is snowing….
- Carcass from a whole roasted turkey
- 2 large or 3 medium onions, halved
- 4 carrots, washed and halved
- 4 ribs celery, washed and halved
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 bunch parsley
- 1 TB black peppercorns
- 1-2 dried red chiles (optional)
- Place the turkey carcass, vegetables and herbs in a large, deep stockpot and cover with cold water. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat.
- When the water comes to a boil, remove the cover and turn the heat down to medium.
- Simmer the stock, skimming off any foam and impurities that accumulate, for two hours.
- Strain out the solids and discard. Simmer stock for an additional hour. At this time, taste and adjust seasoning, including, if needed, adding salt.
- Refrigerate or freeze stock until needed.