Prep 10 mins Cook & Wait 3 1/2 hours Ready 3:40
Don’t throw away those turkey bones. Those turkey bones or chicken bones and giblets that are headed for the trash can are valuable stuff. They will be a winter lifesaver for making quick soups and stews during a long hard winter! Yes, unlike our grandmothers, we have chicken stock in cans and shelf stable containers. Better yet one of my favorite products that is always in my kitchen is Better than Bouillion bases in chicken, beef, vegetable and lobster flavors, which take up less storage space since you mix with water. But home made stock – sorry nothing can compare.
Having stock on hand is golden when you are making soups, stews or sauces. When I attended culinary school, learning to make stock was one of the first classes we were required to take, right after Knife Skills. It has served me well over the years, because it is the basis of what all good savory things come from. A wintery evening on the couch is the perfect time to make stock, because all it requires is time to simmer on the cooktop. Here’s all you have to do.
First, save your bones and giblets from a roast turkey, roast chicken, that rotisserie chicken you bought at Costco, you get the idea. If you don’t have time to make stock today, wrap up your bones and put them in the freezer. On Thanksgiving weekend I had a “stock night”, I pulled out the chicken bones & giblets I had put in the freezer over the last few months and put them in one pot and had another pot with the turkey carcass. Use a stock pot or a large spaghetti type pot.
Second, to each pot, add your mirepoix (this is a fancy French name for onions, celery and carrots). Mirepoix is the second most important contributor to flavor in your stock and P.S. if you want to make vegetable stock, just leave out the bones and follow along. Generally, the ratio of onions to celery and carrots is 2:1. (example: 2 cups onion, 1 cup celery, 1 cup carrots). It doesn’t matter how well you can slice and dice, as these will end up in the trash ultimately. The next level of flavor you add is herbs and spices – thyme, parsley stems, bay leaf, peppercorns, whole cloves. DO NOT ADD SALT. When you make your soup or sauce, you will add the salt and be able to control it then.
Third, add water. Add enough water to cover the ingredients + more to within an inch of the rim and bring to a boil. A word about water – since your stock will be cooking for 3 hours (1 hour for a vegetable stock), some will evaporate, so add enough water in the beginning so that your ingredients will be under water at the end of the process. If necessary, add more water during the process. Do not cover the pot.
Fourth, once the ingredients come to a boil, turn the heat to low or simmer and go watch a good movie. Grab some popcorn and a beer or a nice slice of pie and wait for the aroma of chicken soup to waft into your space!
When you wander into the kitchen to grab another cocktail or cookie, you can skim off any scum that appears on the surface. Sometimes there is none. Otherwise, you just let it sit there for about 3 hours (1 hour for vegetable stock) while you enjoy your evening.
After 3 hours (1 hour for vegetable stock), turn off the heat and let the pot cool. When it is cool enough to handle, strain the contents and place your freshly made stock into containers destined for the freezer. I like to reuse quart yogurt containers that fit well into the freezer and are the right amount for a typical soup recipe.
When you use your stock, just thaw it partially on the counter or in the microwave and drop the frozen block right into your pot of soup…and don’t forget to add salt to taste. Most recipes account for the salt found in canned stocks. Now you get to control the saltiness, but don’t leave it out completely or the taste will be bland. The finest restaurants all use fresh made stock in their soups and sauces and this is what makes the difference between ordinary and extraordinary. Enjoy!
Turkey/Chicken Stock or Vegetable Stock
- 1 turkey or chicken carcass and bones (Leave out for vegetable stock)
- 4 quarts + water
- 1 large large onion, sliced
- 3 large carrots, peeled and cut in 1″ pieces
- 3 celery ribs, cut into 1″ pieces
- 2 parsley stems
- 2 thyme stems or 1 tsp leaves
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 black peppercorns whole
- 2 cloves, whole
1. Place turkey carcass and bones into large stock pot or spaghetti type pot. Add all other ingredients. Add plenty of water to cover ingredients to within an inch from the rim and bring to a boil.
2. Once pot of ingredients boils, turn to low and leave uncovered on the cooktop for about 3 hours. (1 hour for vegetable stock)
3. Skim off any scum that appears on the surface. Sometimes there is none.
4. After about 3 hours (1 hour for vegetable stock), turn off the heat and let the pot just sit there to cool before you touch it.
5. Then after about 1/2 hour, strain the contents and place your freshly made stock into containers destined for the freezer. I like to reuse quart yogurt containers that fit well into the freezer and are the right amount for a typical soup recipe.
6. When you use your stock, just thaw it partially on the counter, refrigerator or in the microwave and drop the frozen block right into your pot of soup…and don’t forget to add salt to taste. Most recipes account for the salt found in canned stocks. Now you get to control the saltiness, but don’t leave it out completely or the taste will be bland.
Servings: 16 cups Yield: 4 quarts 102 calories per serving