Once The Big Feast is over, the dishes are cleared, all of the leftovers are put away, and you’ve picked as much meat as you can off the turkey -- toss that turkey carcass into your biggest soup pot. Add a few vegetables, cover it with water, then let it simmer away while you relax, have a glass of wine, play cards, or read a book. The result: a deeply flavored stock that you can use for soups, stews, gravies, sauces, and more.
Use vegetable scraps that you’ve saved while preparing Thanksgiving dinner, like onion peels, carrot peels, and the tops off the celery stalks. Add other aromatics too, like parsley stems, whole peppercorns, or even sweet potato. Avoid overly powerful flavors like cabbages.
Simmering without stirring for many hours will render a rich, full-bodied stock. Once it's ready, use a slotted spoon to transfer the solids to a fine-mesh sieve set over a large mixing bowl. Press on the solids to remove as much liquid as possible, then discard them in the compost. Pour the remaining stock through the sieve to remove any other solids. If you want a perfectly clear stock, line the sieve with cheesecloth before straining it.
Let the stock cool completely before transferring it to airtight containers. I like to use quart-sized containers that are perfect for stacking in the freezer. Don’t forget to label the stock with the name and date, and try to use it within 3 months.
Makes 2 to 3 quarts stock
- 1 roasted turkey carcass (plus roasted vegetables if applicable)
- 1 large yellow onion, cut into chunks
- 2 carrots, scrubbed and roughly chopped
- 2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
- Kosher salt
- In a large stockpot, add the turkey and roasted vegetables, the onion, carrots, celery, and parsley. Fill the pot with water to cover the ingredients by 1 inch. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to low and let simmer, partially covered, for 3 hours. During cooking, skim any foam off the top of the broth, but otherwise don’t stir it.
- Strain the mixture, pressing on the solids with the back of a large spoon or rubber spatula. Taste the stock and season lightly with salt if needed. Pour the stock into airtight containers, let cool completely, then refrigerate until cold. The stock can be refrigerated for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 3 months.