Whoa now. For some reason the television is on in the living room (no, no one is in there… strange). But I just heard the opening credits for The Cosby Show. I may or may not finish this post. I haven’t seen The Cosby Show in ages! And we don’t even have cable!
Remember that divine turkey I roasted? I took the carcass, threw it into a pot with some vegetable scraps, and presto chango: turkey stock!
Turkey stock? Progresso doesn’t sell turkey stock in the grocery stores…
Nope. But do you really want to waste a perfectly good turkey carcass? I don’t think so. Turkey = poultry; chicken = poultry; therefore, turkey = … well, not chicken. But turkey stock does equal a viable substitution for chicken stock. Brilliant!
Chuck the turkey carcass in a large stockpot or crockpot (I divided my turkey carcass between a stockpot and a crockpot so I could make more stock, so you will see both in the photographs. Actually, I used a crockpot and two stock pots).
Throw the vegetable scraps in the pot (I usually save all my vegetable peelings for about a week before I make stock. I just store them in a bowl, gallon sized baggie, or large Tupperware, in the fridge).
Add enough water to fill the pot– but not so much it comes sloshing over the top. You don’t want a huge slopping mess on your floor.
Add salt and pepper, if desired (and clearly I desired). Cook on low for several hours. I cooked mine all afternoon– probably about six hours. If using a crockpot, you could leave it to simmer overnight. You do what’s right for you. You’ll know when that turkey carcass has given its all.
After the allotted time has passed, peek in the pot and stifle a gag. You will find yourself face-to-face with what looks like a pot of old scraps into which someone accidentally dumped dishwater.
Grab a large bowl and set a colander over it. Pour the contents of the crockpot (or stockpot) into the colander to separate the broth from the vegetables and bones.
At this point, you have a nice, fatty bowl of broth. You can use one of two methods to separate the fat from the stock:
1. You may pour the stock (in small batches) into a fat separator, let sit until the fat rises to the top, then pour out the remaining broth or
2. You may pour the entire batch of stock into a large pitcher and leave it in the fridge until the fat rises to the top and congeals, then simply scoop the fat off the top (usually in one large chunk).
I chose method two because a) it takes less time and b) I really have no desire to sit in my kitchen for twelve hours, waiting for the fat to rise to the top approximately seventy billion times. I like efficiency: let the fat rise once, in one batch. Done.
You may then transfer the stock to your choice of freezer containers: pint size glass jars, quart size freezer bags, ice cub trays, muffin tins, etc. I chose quart size freezer bags and measured out two cups per bag. If you typically use less stock at a time, freezing in 1-3 ounce portions is a great idea (thus the ice cube trays or the muffin tins). Or, if you so desire, you may can the stock.
And, finally, congratulate yourself on a job well done. You just made several quarts of homemade, from scratch, filled with goodness and love, turkey stock. You’re a rock star.