Holiday Essentials Part I: HomemadeTurkey Stock

Hopefully you didn't toss out that turkey carcass a few days after Thanksgiving, but even if you booted it this year to open up some refrigerator real estate space, there's always next year. The method and ingredients are identical when recycling roast chicken or duck so you won't have to wait until Thanksgiving 2015.

Simply place the roast poultry in a large saucepan or stockpot and cover with water , about 2" above the bird, whole or carved into pieces is fine. Add 1 large onion (halved), 3 carrots (cut into pieces, unpeeled), 1/2 a bunch of parsley, several sprigs of thyme (or 2 T. or so dried) and a few garlic cloves (unpeeled, unchopped). Bring to a boil, partially cover the pot with a lid and simmer gently for 1-2 hours. A longer cooking time will extract appreciably more flavor from the poultry, veggies and herbs. Add up to 1/2 a bottle of dry white wine if a more luxurious stock, suitable for risotto, paella and other elegant dishes, is desirable or likely in your future.

When the stock is done - or when you're done with it and convinced it's flavorful enough - allow to cool, uncovered. Remove the turkey and carefully pour the stock through a fine mesh strainer into a very large bowl or another stockpot. This may be easier with a ladle depending on the size of your simmered bird and the yield of stock. Discard all solids including herbs and vegetables. Some line the strainer with cheesecloth but do so only if you have a surplus in the kitchen.

If possible place cooled stock in the fridge - or another cool location (covered on the porch, fire escape) - until a layer of fat forms on top that can easily be removed with a slotted spoon. Separating the fat isn't requisite.

The stock can be stored in the fridge for one week but we find it most useful stored long-term in the freezer. Quart-sized ziplock bags are perfect vessels.


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