Putting Stock in Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving leftover sandwiches are, as we all know, a hit. There’s no denying the fact that salty turkey and stuffing combined with sweet cranberry sauce is delicious, but, quite honestly, the last thing I want after a day of carbo-loading is a big sandwich. My favorite leftover, and the best way to keep your house smelling like glorious turkey for as long as possible, is the stock. And if you’re on turkey duty, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be making this.
As a little background info, any meat stock is made from the bones of an animal. And stock, as most of us know, is an excellent way to impart flavor in any dish — a great replacement for water in any dish. It’s an incredibly simple process of boiling the bones in water. If you add seasoning and salt, your stock is now a broth. The traditional French stock-making technique has you roast the bones before boiling and often covering the bones in tomato paste before roasting for an even richer flavor. Making your own stock is incredibly cost effective and, in my opinion, a sign of resourcefulness and know-how in the kitchen (which is funny, because it’s CRAZY easy).
The Thanksgiving turkey is a great stock-producer because, chances are, you’ve incorporated a whole lot of seasoning into that bird. I like to simply boil the carcass, add some veggies along with herbs and salt, strain the fat and voila!, you now have a delicious soup. And here’s the best part: all the meat that wasn’t removed before boiling? This is now the most tender, literally falling-off-the-bone piece of turkey that you will eat this year. It is so full of flavor, and guess what? There’s no need to share: with the crowd out of your house, you can enjoy those delicious remnants of the turkey all to yourself.
Here’s the quick stock-making process:
1. Remove as much meat from the carcass as possible.
2. Add the turkey to your largest stock pot, cover with water.
3. Add anything. I usually add:
- 2 onions, quarted
- a few cloves of garlic
- 2 carrots, quartered
- a bay leaf
- pinches of thyme and sage
- a pinch of salt and pepper
It’s important not to totally over-do the herbs. If you’re going to use this as a soup, then by all means, add away. But if you planning to use this as a stock in a totally different dish, say, in a curry, you may keep your seasoning low as these seasonings wouldn’t necessarily go in a curry.
4. Bring to a boil, then let simmer for about three to four hours. You’ll want to skim the top of the fat every hour or so.
5. Let cool, skim as much fat off top as possible. Store in either fridge or freezer until use. Enjoy!