December 2, 2010

homemade turkey stock...

...is so easy to make that it would be silly not to make it. It's the best way to use your leftover turkey carcass and veggies from Thanksgiving dinner. And even if you don't have a lot of leftover vegetables, you only need a few things from the grocery store and I'm sure you can find a lot of the spices/seasonings in your pantry. The only thing is that it does take some time - most of it is just spent waiting while it simmers - but you'll have to plan to make it on a day when you'll be home for most of the day. I made stock for the first time last year and it was so nice to be able to just reach into my freezer and grab a container of homemade stock whenever I needed it. I ran out of the homemade stuff months ago, so I'm excited to "stock" up! HA! Get it, "stock" up? ANYWAYS....

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I used 3 carrots, 2 onions, 4 stalks of celery and I just roughly chopped them up. In addition to those veggies, I added 2 bay leaves, a few sprigs of parsley from about 6 stems, and a head of garlic that I cut in half. I put about 1/4 tsp of dried thyme leaves, oregano leaves and basil leaves each as well as 1 tsp of cracked black peppercorns and 1 tbsp of kosher salt in a metal tea ball - but I don't think you need to do that if you don't have a tea ball, just dump it all in the pot. Once you get everything into a pot, add some water - enough to cover everything by about an inch - and heat the water until it is just simmering - try not to let it boil. Then comes the waiting around. You want it to simmer for about 4 hours and you really don't need to do anything - no stirring, just check on the water level every so often.

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The most finicky part of this recipe is the process you have to go through to store it properly. There are recipes out there that say to do this to avoid contamination of bacteria and then there are also recipes that don't say to do anything special...so I don't know if it's really necessary to do the following, but I do it anyways to be safe. First, fill your sink with ice cubes and water. Get a stainless steel bowl and using a ladle, pour the stock thru a strainer into the bowl. Put the bowl into the ice water, stir for a few minutes and let rest for about 10 minutes. Once it's lukewarm, pour into containers and freeze. Not too bad, pretty simple.

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And it makes a good amount of stock too...look how many containers I filled:

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Now I'm ready to make some soup!

BTW - I don't add a whole lot of salt to the stock, so it may taste a bit bland. I just figure that I'd rather have too little salt and add more while I'm cooking than to have it be too salty.

6 comments:

Karena said...

I did something different with my stock this year that involved no extra work, and it came out great! Basically, I put aside all the trimmings from every vegetable that went into a Thanksgiving dish (onion skins, ends of carrots and leeks, potato and apple skins, etc.). It was cool enough to store everything in a pot outside until I was ready to utilize the turkey bones to make the stock. Then I just had to add water and simmer.

Sary said...

Karena- do u know if it's necessary to put the stock into the ice bath to cool before putting it into storage containers and freezing? What do u do?

nissa said...

I've started using my crock pot to make stock. That way I can set the timer and don't have to necessarily stay home while it simmers. Or sometimes I let it go overnight, although I must admit that waking up to the smell of chicken is surprisingly unappetizing...

Sary said...

That is a good idea Nissa! Another reason for me to invest in a crock pot. The idea of waking up to the smell of chicken sounds great to me - but I've also been known to eat turkey for breakfast

Karena said...

Sary- I have actually never heard of putting it over the ice bath, and so I've never done that. It seems like that step just speeds up the cooling-down process? I do let everything cool to room temp before putting it in the freezer though; I set the lids on top but don't seal them during this process. I am guessing if you lived in an environment where there was a lot of bacteria or yeast or mold spores and were worried about contamination during the process of cooling down, or you were just done with waiting around, you could speed things up. But I've never had a problem with my stock without the ice bath step. You should come to my soup exchange this year! I'll keep you posted. (You make 6 qts. of soup, divided into qt. size containers, and in the end you go home with 6 different types of soup!)

Sary said...

ooh! a soup exchange is an awesome idea! definitely keep me posted.