Ever since the first Thanksgiving that we made a turducken and had all those bones leftover, we have made our own poultry stock. Nothing compares to soup made with a homemade broth. When we make our own stock we are getting everything we can out of that bird, which is important to me, spiritually. Seriously. I have no problem eating meat but it matters to me that that animal’s life was respected and not taken in vain. For me, part of that means utilizing the meat (and bones) in every way that I can.
We simmer our stock way down, until it is about four times more concentrated than we usually use it at so it takes up less space in the freezer.
Stocks can be either white or brown. In a brown stock the bones are roasted first while in a white stock they are not. I hear there are pros and cons to both, depending on what you want to use your stock for, but we always make a brown stock because we like the richer flavor you get from roasted bones.
Roast at 425 degrees for 1 hour or until dark brown:
1 turkey carcass (our was 18 lbs.)
If you are using the carcass of a bird you have already cooked then, Congratulations! Your bones are already roasted and you may move immediately to the next step. (Or roast them for half the time.)
Transfer your roasted carcass to a stock pot, along with:
2 large onions
5 large carrots
1 entire head of garlic
handful of parsley stems, if have on hand
1 T. peppercorn
3 bay leaves
2 T. dried thyme
You can place the herbs and spices in a sachet or just add them loose, you will be straining the stock anyway. This is the classic seasoning mixture for stock. Here is a cooking school trick for remembering the spices without consulting a recipe: “Peppy pupils, better chefs tomorrow.”
Deglaze the roasting pan with water or cheap wine (whatever you have on hand), adding 3 T. tomato paste to pan to carmelize the paste a little as you deglaze pan. Add the deglazing liquid to the stock pot.
Add enough water to fill the pot and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Let simmer 3-4 hours. After this time period, strain liquid and then continue to simmer until stock has reached your desired concentration. You do not want to leave the bones in as you concentrate the stock because over-cooked bones will impart a bitter flavor.
Before freezing or using your stock, you may want to put it in the fridge until thoroughly chilled. This will allow all the fat to float to the top and solidify and then it can be easily scooped off.