Make use of the whole bird by turning the bones into a delicious rich turkey stock that is perfect for gravy, soup, or stew. Roasting the bones first, along with the veggies, will result in a richer flavor. Then add everything into the stockpot and simmer into a tasty stock.
We don’t waste much in this household. Throughout the year, I save all my vegetable trimmings in a couple zipper bags in the freezer. Tossed into these bags are the ends of garlic, pieces of onion, small carrots, celery greens and stalks, and broccoli stems. I use these vegetable scraps to add flavor to our homemade stocks and broths.
So many people throw away the turkey carcass after the Thanksgiving or holiday meal. This is such a tragedy because they are missing out. Those turkey bones are filled with nutrients and lots of flavor.
Making stock is not difficult. It just takes a little time, and you will be rewarded with a tasty stock that you can stash in your freezer to use later. During winter, I often have a pot of stock simmering on the wood stove that heats our home. I like to keep plenty of stock on hand in the freezer for winter soups and stews.
Steps to Making a Deep, Rich Turkey Stock
Make use of the leftover turkey bones from dinner to make a rich and flavorful turkey stock that is perfect for gravy, soup and stew.
Step 1: Remove the turkey meat from the bones
With your hands, remove all the usable turkey meat from the carcass and refrigerate for later. Separate the wings, thighs, and legs from the carcass and use kitchen shears to cut the carcass into smaller pieces. Layer the bones in a large roasting pan.
Step 2: Add the vegetables to the roasting pan with the turkey bones
Roast the bones and vegetables in a preheated oven until the bones brown. Transfer the bones and vegetables to a large stockpot. Add water and herbs and simmer to extract flavor from the bones.
Step 3: Refrigerate the stock to separate the fat
Let the stock cool, remove the larger bones, and strain the stock through a fine-mesh sieve into a large container. Discard the bones and solids. Let the stock cool completely, then refrigerate. Once the stock cools in the refrigerator, the fat will rise to the top. Skim off the fat and use the turkey stock within 4 days or freeze for later.
Need Turkey Stock for the Holiday Meal?
Make it ahead of time and freeze it. Grab a package of turkey legs from the grocery store. Swap out the turkey legs for the bones, and combine with vegetables scraps, herbs, and simmer it into a delicious homemade stock to add lots of turkey flavor to stuffing and making gravy.
Rich Turkey Stock Recipe
- 1 turkey carcass (or substitute 2-3 turkey legs)
- 2 medium carrots roughly chopped
- 2 celery ribs roughly chopped
- 1 medium onion roughly chopped
- 2-3 cloves garlic crushed
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme (or 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme)
- 1 teaspoon dried sage (or 2-3 sprigs of fresh sage)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary (or 1-2 sprigs of fresh rosemary)
- 10 whole peppercorns
- 4-6 quarts water or enough to cover
- Preheat the oven to 425˚F.
- Strip off all the usable meat from the carcass and refrigerate for later.
- Separate the wings, thighs, and legs from the carcass and use kitchen shears to cut the carcass into smaller pieces. Layer the bones in a large roasting pan.
- Add the carrots, celery, onion, and garlic to the roasting pan. Roast until the bones in the preheated oven until they are brown, about 35-45 minutes. Stir about halfway through so everything browns evenly.
- Remove the roasting pan from the oven and transfer the bones and vegetables to a large stockpot. Add 1 cup of water to the hot roasting pan to deglaze the pan. As the water steams, scrape the pan with a wooden spoon to release the flavor infused brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add to your stockpot.
- To your stockpot, add the bay leaves, sage, rosemary, peppercorns, and enough water to cover the bones by a couple of inches. Turn the heat to medium-high and bring the stock to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until flavorful, at least 2-3 hours. Stir occasionally and skim off any foam.
- Remove the larger bones from the stock using tongs. Strain the stock through a fine-mesh sieve into a large container. Discard the bones and solids. Let the stock cool completely, then refrigerate. Once the stock cools in the refrigerator, the fat will rise to the top. Skim off the fat and use the turkey stock within 4 days or freeze for later.
Turkey stock can be stored in the freezer, but the majority of the stock I make is used to make a turkey soup base for Homemade Turkey Noodle Soup. This base is frozen in individual containers for an easy meal in the future. Simply heat up the soup base on the stove, boil up some pasta or rice, and you will have a homemade soup on the table in 30 minutes.
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Whether you are new to growing your own food or have been growing a vegetable garden for years, you will benefit from some planning each year. You will find everything you need to organize and plan your vegetable garden in my PDF eBook, Grow a Good Life Guide to Planning Your Vegetable Garden.