Thanks to Adam from New York for asking about this post from my King’s Codex Blog. It is always a good idea to repeat how incredibly easy it is to make your own stock! It was just past Thanksgiving when I originally wrote this, but I like to get a turkey several times a year, roast it, carve the meat and portion it out into 4oz. bags and freeze it. We can get 16 portions off of a small turkey that way, plus the stock, plus 2-4 meals for the dogs from what is picked clean from the bones after the stock is made. There is a turkey in my sink as I type this in April, and a pot of stock is in the near future, sure to make the house smell wonderful!
Mmmmmm…turkey stock. Rich, darker than chicken stock, and ready for the making at Thanksgiving time! Don’t throw away that bird’s well-picked carcass, make soup stock with it!
I wanted to get a head start on my turkey stock this season so I would have it on hand for holiday cooking. I bought 5 pounds of turkey necks at the Dekalb Farmer’s Market to make my first batch of stock with. After last night’s First Thanksgiving Dinner, I have another bird carcass in my freezer to make the next batch with, so I am set!
Broth is made from just bones. I like to roast my bones for more flavor and color, although you can use them raw as well. Stock is made using bones along with vegetables and aromatic herbs. Broth is usually used to make Sauces, Stock is used to make Soups.
Here is what I did:
5 lbs turkey necks, roasted in the oven for 1 hour until browned
approx. 5 lbs assorted mixed vegetables and aromatics*
Powdered Sage, Garlic Powder, Cracked Black Pepper
Large stock pot full of filtered water
After roasting the turkey necks, soak them and the pan with some of the filtered water, using it to deglaze the pan of all the ‘fond’ that adds rich color and flavor to the stock. Add the turkey necks and water to the stock pot, scraping all of the residue out of the roasting pan.
The vegetables should contain: onions, celery, carrots, leeks or other green onion tops; even garlic or shallots. I try to make stock when I have just gotten home from a farmer’s market run because it is a great way to use ALL of what you’ve just bought. I have spent money for the entire vegetable in my hand, I want to use every bit. I will use the trimmings, skins, and not-pretty parts in a stock pot, saving the more choice bits for what I want to serve. Onion skins are a must – they add a golden brown color to any stock pot or dye pot. The green tops of leeks go in, the peelings from carrots, the large woody roots of the celery. This is a good time to clean out the fridge too, using up that 1/2 onion that didn’t get used the other night or the wilted salad greens. Parsley stems go into the pot as well. I used to think this was an economical thing – using part of the plant that would otherwise be discarded. But reading up in my “Mastering The Art of French Cooking”, I see that Julia teaches me that adding parsley stems is the correct thing to do for fish stock because adding the leaves would darken the color of the stock which would be aesthetically unpleasing. Doesn’t matter to my turkey stock, but good to know there is another reason besides being thrifty!
The vegetables should not contain: strongly flavored roots like turnips or parsnips, or things with a fennel/anise/licorice flavor. (An exception to that might be a fish stock that you are planning on using with a fennel dish.)
Aromatics such as bay leaf, cracked black peppercorns, and thyme leaves are part of the French tradition for stocks. Do not add salt! The idea is for this pot to simmer and concentrate, if you start out salting it the concentration will end up with too much salt. Wait until you are using it in a recipe to salt to taste.
Let the pot come to a boil and then turn the heat down and let it simmer. Fish bones to make fish stock take 30 minutes tops. Chicken and other poultry bones can go 4-6 hours, while beef bones can go 12 -24 hours in the stock pot. I have even read some blogs by Paleo folks talking about using the same bones to make bone broth over and over again, although I haven’t tried that.
Strain the stock and package it up in the freezer for ready use later on.
Before discarding the vegetables I will go through and get the bones if there was any meat on them. They have given up most of their flavor to the soup, but my dogs love to get the meat shreds in their dinners! Turkey necks provide an amazing amount of meat, much easier to pick off once cooked in a stock pot. This equals more added value to your purchase!
Stock is simple to make with a little planning and a day when you can let a stock pot go on the stove. I will often start a pot before bed and let it go all night, letting it cool in the morning when I have time to get it cooled down to the safe zone of 70 degrees within 2 hours, and below 40 degrees within 6 hours total. Those are the ServSafe recommendations – it is best if you can get it chilled faster than that. Separating the stock into smaller containers helps cool it safely. If you have to chill it in the larger stock pot, think ahead and create an “Ice Bat”. Take a tall one liter bottle and fill it most of the way to the top with water, then freeze. Remove any outer label and wash the outside of the bottle thoroughly. When it comes time to cool your stock, turn it off and let it stop steaming, then plunge the ice bat down into the pot and stir with it. Let it stay there to cool the stock until you can transfer it into your storage containers. Never put the full pot of stock into the fridge to cool!
Freeze your stock in quart sized containers if possible, those make great starters for soup, sauces, pasta and other grains, all sorts of uses. Liquid Gold!