Techniques: Thrifty Turkey Stock

Don’t toss that Thanksgiving turkey carcass–use it for soup!

After carving the turkey, let the carcass cool off, then break it apart. You can do this with your hands once the carcass gets cool. Then save it in a covered pot in the refrigerator.

stockpot with colanderWhen you’re ready to make broth, take all of those pieces and put them into your soup pot. I use the strainer insert for a 12-quart pasta pot (it’s like a colander, but cylindrical). Add any “past their prime” baby carrots and celery sticks from your Turkey Day vegetable tray, a handful of parsley, some onions and garlic (you can even add onion peels) and some salt and pepper. Then fill the pot with water and simmer at least 4 hours.

You don’t have to have a strainer insert to make broth, but it really does make the cleanup part easier.

Alternatives to the strainer insert include:

  • pouring the soup over a colander set inside a large pot or bowl. Pour very slowly, and preferably have the whole thing in the sink.
  • Making a cheesecloth bag to hold the turkey bones and vegetables. Tie the top like a bundle, put in the pot, add water and cook.
  • Use a strainer scoop to remove the soup.

I usually get about 8 quarts of broth from the soup pot. I freeze it in 3-cup and 1-cup portions and use it in any recipe that calls for chicken broth.

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