After you've carved your Thanksgiving bird, make a flavorful soup stock from the bones and extra bits set aside from the other dishes. If you have a lot of turkey leftovers like I did, soup is a great way to mix up the extra meals.
I'll take you through a simple recipe to make the turkey stock and you can improvise what to do from there.
Step 1: Plan Ahead! Save Ingredients While Cooking
In addition to getting more mileage from your turkey, you should be able to be resourceful with other castoffs like the leafy tops of celery stocks, bottoms of carrots, extra parsley you have on hand, and (this should probably be raw) an onion. There's so much flavor hiding in these parts. I put them in a gallon sized ziplock bag when cooking and keep it until I can make the stock - usually the day after Thanksgiving.
I like to throw in a few extra carrots - you'll see why later.
How to Make Your Own
All of your leftover turkey bones (with some meat still attached), broken into large sections if necessary
Yellow/white onions, skins on, chopped in half
3-5 carrots, cut in half
Leftover celery stalks, cut into 4-inch lengths, leaves included
Teaspoon whole black peppercorns
A handful of sprigs of parsley
Step 2: Simmah Down Now
This shows the stock at 0 minutes, 60, and 120.
Grab a large stockpot (preferably 3-gallon, but if you don't have one this large try to find two smaller ones). Add all the ingredients and cover everything with water. Some parts might float to the top but the goal is to have a few inches of water over the top of the mountain of leftovers.
Let it simmer on the stove for roughly two hours uncovered, stirring occasionally. Don't boil - only a simmer. Skim the top a few times throughout. Remaining fat can be removed from the mason jars after the stock is chilled.
Step 3: Strain the Stock
After the stock has had a chance to steep, pour the stock through a colander so you only keep the liquid parts.
Next, pour the liquid stock into mason jars. I find a mason jar funnel makes this process much easier.
Step 4: Soup Prep
With the solids strained, remove any parts that would make good additions to the soup. This is part of why I like to add a few extra carrots - I remove them and already have them for soup.
Compost the rest of the solids that can't be added into the soup as solids. This recipe had a great yield of stock! I should have no trouble turning this into a nice soup dinner.
What will you add to the stock?
I'm thinking something classic - some thick noodles, carrots, celery, potatoes, turkey, herbs.
What will you make with it?
Soups are just the start of the lovely side dishes you can make with turkey stock. Get creative! What ideas are already floating around?