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Turkey Stock 101

Posted by Paula Disbrowe on 24th Nov 2021

There are few kitchen endeavors more gratifying than making homemade stock. The fragrant process, simmering a chicken or turkey carcass with a heap of vegetables and aromatics, is an easy investment that delivers serious rewards. The comforting aromas wafting through your kitchen is just the beginning; the anticipation of what you’ll make with that rich tasting broth, and last but not least, the deep, comforting flavor, is the real payoff.

Preparing homemade chicken stock is a weekly pleasure at my house. Turkey stock made from the remains of a holiday feast is an occasion (often accompanied by a New Orleans playlist) and inspires dreams of gumbo, ramen, posole...Spoiler alert: if you’re roasting your bird in your grill (and you should be!), you already have a leg up on the best pot of broth around.

Some chefs like to roast the carcass and vegetables in the oven, before simmering, to give the stock a caramelized flavor. A grill-roasted turkey carcass doesn’t need this step, it’s already pre-seasoned with the deep flavors of a charcoal fire. (Tip: Don’t forget to roast the turkey neck alongside the bird; your smoky stock will thank you.) Simply combine the carcass, wings, and leg bones with the usual vegetable side kicks (my go-to follows). The fresh, “green” flavors of fat parsley stems, leeks, and fresh bay leaves are among my favorite flavors in a broth (along with a nice amount of black pepper and a chile pepper or two), so for me, those flavors are essential. But feel free to swap in your aromatics (fennel, ginger, star anise, fresh oregano, marjoram or sage are all excellent additions) to the mix.

My Favorite Turkey Stock

Makes about 14 cups of broth

Time: Easy vegetable prep + 3 hours simmering

1 leftover carcass from a 15- to 20-pound turkey, preferably including neck, wing, and leg bones from a grill-roasted turkey

2 large onions, sliced into 8 wedges

1 large or two medium leeks, trimmed, cleaned, and sliced into 1/2 -inch half moons

3 large celery stalks, cut into chunks

2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks

6-8 garlic cloves

8 stems fresh parsley

4-6 fresh bay leaves

2-3 sprigs fresh thyme or sage

1-2 dried arbol chiles

1 cup dry, unoaked white wine

1 tablespoon kosher or sea salt

2 teaspoons cracked black pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a large stock pot and add 16 cups of water. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, and then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook the stock, stirring and skimming the surface as needed, for 3 hours. Taste the stock; if it needs a richer flavor continue simmering as needed. Taste and adjust salt as needed.

Strain the stock through a sieve into a clean pot. Discard solids and allow stock to cool slightly, then refrigerate. Use within 5 days, or freeze up to four months.