Adventures in Cooking- Turkey Stock

Here at Chez Awesome we like to cook. My roommate even had a blog for a bit for recipes and our cooking adventures

However, now that’s she’s a real blogatrix she doesn’t have much time for blogging for fun. We’re too busy actually cooking! That being said, food is going to feature prominently here. It’s kind of my favorite thing in the world.

Enough introduction, let’s get to the meat (har!) of the post.

We spent Thanksgiving with the other roommate’s family who lives a short train ride away from us. Super awesome and totally beat trying to fly back to the west coast for a few days and a tension filled meal. Matt’s aunt was pleasantly shocked when I asked for the carcass to take home, but was more than happy to let me take it off her hands. Waste not, want not, right?

Growing up, my mom always made stock post-Thanksgiving. I remember wondering why it took forever for something that was just going to go in the freezer, never to be seen again. Now that I’m older, I know that the stock made many appearances, notably at Hanukkah in our Matzoh Ball Soup ( a recipe I may or may not share. Depends on if I’ll get shot or not). The other day,  I called my mom to ask for her recipe and she laughed. Apparently she doesn’t have one. Our “Traditional Stock Recipe”? Whatever popped up on Google first. Awesome. Thanks mom, way to pass on tradition.

Never let it be said that I’m not one for tradition. To Google I went! And the recipe I chose was the one from Cooking For Engineers. Why not Alton Brown, you might ask, considering he’s your hero? Because I had the ingredients on hand for this one. Stock doesn’t have to be fancy, just solid. I adapted this recipe a little, but it’s pretty simple.

Turkey or Chicken Stock

Adapted from Cooking For Engineers

You will need:

A stock pot- or any large pot. I have a 12-quart stock pot, the site suggests a Multi-pot. As long as it holds at least 8 quarts you’re golden.

1 turkey or chicken carcass, broken down- this ensures you get all the good stuff, as well as helping it fit in your pot

4 carrots, roughly chopped                                      4 celery ribs, roughly chopped

1 onion, roughly chopped                                          2 peeled garlic cloves

1 peeled shallot                                                            2 bay leaves

15 whole peppercorns                                               2 whole cloves

1 tsp thyme                                                                  1 tsp parsley

About 2 gallons water

There is no fancy prep for these ingredients. Put your pot on the stove where you want it to be for the next 4-6 hours. Trust me, you do not want to move a full stockpot. Toss the carcass and veggies into the pot. Feel free to just throw the spices in there as well. I chose to use a small spice sachet so I didn’t have to fish the little pieces out at the end. You can buy pre-made sachets or make your own with some cheesecloth and twine. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the entire turkey carcass- other family members took the turkey legs and wings home as leftovers so I didn’t have those bones. This makes me very sad, but it turned out fine anyhow.

Photo Credit: Cooking for Engineers

Now you’re going to add your water. The general rule is that you want the solid material to be covered by at least an inch or two of water. This will reduce and you want to make sure you’re not going to have a super concentrated liquid. If you do want a super-concentrated liquid you can reduce after you’ve extracted everything from these ingredients, but that conversation is not for now.

Over high heat, bring the water to a simmer. Do not bring to a boil. Stock is simmered- cooked gently. Once simmering, turn down the heat just enough to maintain it. Skim the scum from the stock with a spoon or fine mesh strainer every 10 to 15 minutes for the first hour of cooking and twice each hour for the next 2 hours. Add hot water as needed to keep bones and vegetables submerged. Simmer uncovered for 6 to 8 hours. Alternately, just skim the scum the first time or two and then refrigerate the stock overnight after cooling. The fat will rise to the top and solidify to be easily removed the next morning.

After you’re tired of watching the pot simmer (at least 4 hours later), you can drain the solids. Your final product will look a little something like this

Om nom nom

If you have a multi-pot, just lift your colander out. If you’re like me, it’s slightly trickier. Either remove the solid pieces individually, or pour the stock through a sieve or colander into another pot (or many pots if you do not have a large enough one).

If you let your spices float freely or if there are too many small particles, strain the liquid again through a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth.

To remove smaller particles in the stock, pour the liquid through a fine mesh sieve placed over a large pot.

Let the stock cool before partitioning into smaller containers. I usually just let it sit in smaller containers to let it cool off naturally. Alton Brown suggests using an ice bath in the sink for a pot, but I don’t have that much ice in my house. Somehow I don’t think the tiki-head novelty ice-cubes we have will cut it.

The stock will last for about a week in the fridge. If two gallons of stock is too much for you to consume in a week  you can freeze the stock and it should maintain taste and quality for about three months. We have a three person household and will definitely not use all this stock in a week. I have a half-gallon container I fill with stock to put in the freezer. This one I will use for a big batch of soup. I also take quart size and sandwich size baggies and fill those with stock for smaller meals- usually either 2 or 4 cups per baggie. These also go into the freezer.

It’s at this point you can reduce the stock further if you’d like. Just let it continue to simmer for another hour or so until it reduces even more. Some people like to do this and put the reduced liquid into an ice cube tray so they’ve got instant stock-shots.  I’ve never done this before, but hey if it works for you have a blast!


About Wish

A graduate student with two cats and a passion for good food and good conversation, both preferably shared with friends.
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