Saturday, November 30, 2013

...But PLEASE don't lose that (turkey) butt!

Turkey got back!  Haha, I amuse myself.

Probably two days late and several dollars short on this post, but on the off chance that you haven't cooked your turkey yet, or if the whole shebang is sitting in the fridge, don't toss the carcass!  Making turkey broth is stupidly easy, and can still be navigated even if you're not into canning.  I'm not going to go into a fully detailed tutorial as I don't have pictures to aid, but I will provide several links to blogs that do.

There are several different ways to do turkey stock, and it's entirely left up to whatever is the most convenient for you.  Some people do theirs in a roasting pan, and others in a stock pot.  Still others use slow cookers.  I used the above recipe for the stock pot last year, but decided to go ahead and use my already dirty roasting pan this year.  I dismembered my bird as best I could, but ended up leaving the thing practically whole.  A few hours after roasting, though, it was ready to fall apart.

When I was making Thanksgiving dinner I saved all the assorted hunks of veggies.  Don't go out and buy fresh onions and celery to go in your stock, use the peels and ends.  All you really want is the flavor anyway, and there's still plenty of flavor in those bits.  Last year I read a blog where the lady (can't remember, so sorry!) said she saved scraps of veggies year long in a freezer bag so that she'd always be at the ready for stock making.  Smart lass!

You want to just cover the veggies and bones with water, a splash of apple cider vinegar, and whatever spices you find delightful.  Bland food is at the top of my pet peeve list, so I put in bay leaves, fresh parsley, fresh green onions, tarragon, oregano, basil, garlic, seasoning salt, black pepper, ground mustard, ginger, lemon pepper, sage, thyme, rosemary, you get the drift.  I think the only things in my spice rack I didn't put in there were red pepper flake and cayenne.  If you like, though, stick to salt, pepper, and maybe a bay leaf or two.

Roast in the oven at 250 for 12-24 hours.  I started mine at about 1 am last night.

This was at about 1 pm today.  I removed as much of the residual turkey meat as I could, since leaving the meat in there will lead to a very fatty stock, and stuck it back in the oven.  I'll leave it in there until tonight when I pull it out and stick it in the fridge.  Then tomorrow I'll skim as much of the fat off as I can, reheat the whole shebang, and can it.  

When I did my summer turkey this year, I canned the stock then also.  I used a recipe that didn't call for skimming the stock, you just immediately can it once it's done cooking.  If there's any confusion as to why some recipes call for pressure canning the stock for 90+ minutes, and others only do them about 10 or 15, look for that step.  I found that the non skimmed stock is treated more closely as an actual meat product and has to be thoroughly pressure canned.  The skimmed stock is more closely related to a soup and doesn't have to be processed as long, since there's not nearly as much fat to risk going rancid.  

Anyway I made about 8-10 pint jars of stock, and a few months later had hardly used any.  I started to wonder if making all that stock was a waste.  The week of Thanksgiving I got my answer.  I used it in my cabbage.  I used it in my green bean casserole.  I used it in the bottom of the pan for my turkey.  I used it in veggie beef stew.  On Thanksgiving Day I used the last little bit I had, but I know I flew through at least 6 of those jars during this week alone.  Anything that calls for stock, and especially chicken stock, is a great candidate for this!

I know that chicken stock is not so pricey from the store, but consider that veggie scraps and turkey carcasses generally come FREE with your holiday dinner!  If you aren't into canning or don't have a pressure canner yet, you can always freeze the broth for later use.  I'll try to post some pictures of the canning process tomorrow.  

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!

Here's some things I'm thankful for:  my husband, my faith, my rambunctious son, my functioning dysfunctional family, red wine, Jumbo and Poose, an incredibly successful harvest this year, continued work, cheese danish, strong coffee, wood for our fireplace, Ryan Reynolds, gggtgggggghy (that's Boo's entry), so many more friends than I deserve, and a moist, crispy turkey!


  1. I always do this, even if it's just a chicken carcass! Thrifty tip: Have a bag you keep in the freezer for you to throw your "trash" parts of onions, celery, and carrots into (the ends you were going to chop off and throw away). Fairly quickly, they'll add up, and all you need is the bird! Throw it in the crockpot with your herbage and spices--BAM! Slow cooker chicken/turkey stock!

    1. That's an awesome idea! Do you can the stock or freeze it?