December 3, 2010

What to do with a 24lb turkey carcass...

Make turkey stock of course!  This was my first attempt at making homemade stock and if I ever want to be like Ina Garten, then I knew I had to try. I feel like she knows I use store bought stock when I am watching Barefoot Contessa and she's eyeing me. Thinking things like don't use that canned stock when you're making my lentil soup. In my mind, Ina is very sassy. So when Stud's mom offered me her turkey carcass from Thanksgiving, I decided now or never. Little did I know how National Geographic things were going to get. I was not prepared. I had my onions, carrots, and celery...that was easy. Chop chop toss toss in the huge pot....I am soooo Ina Garten. Then I called my mom asking what next. "Hey mom, so I have all the veggies ready and now the turkey is too big...what's next?" Kitchen crisis #1: I HAD TO BREAK DOWN THE CARCASS. OK I can do this. While poking at the breast bones: "Oh, so there is this thing in the breast, maybe veggies? Oh wait, it's shaped like a U...what is that??" Response from my mom (cue kitchen crisis #2): "Oh! Great, you have the neck, throw that in your pot too! I bet you have the gizzards and the heart as well. Just throw it all in there." ARE YOU KIDDING?? THERE WILL NOT BE A NECK/HEART/GIZZARD IN MY STOCK. I mean, picking a chicken does me in and now, I had to deal with the scary turkey parts and break bones. And Stud, the future guts loving bone breaker medical professional would not come and help me! He just listened and laughed at the gagging noises coming from the kitchen...claiming he had to "study." Needless to say, the turkey scaries did not make it in, I felt I had enough turkey parts without the "leftover" parts. Ughhhhhhh.

But now it's done and I have some big plans for this stock.

There is really no set recipe for stock, as I gathered from my mom, and this can be copied for a chicken carcass.  Take celery, carrots and onion, give them a rough chop and add to a pot with the carcass.  Add a few bay leaves if you have some.  Fill the pot with water until the carcass is covered (or close) and set to simmer.  For what was a 24lb turkey, I used 5 stalks of celery, 5 carrots, and two onions.  I let it simmer (covered) for almost 12 hours and my house smelled deliciously of Thanksgiving.  Then I strained the stock (once through a large strainer to get the big chunks and then through a really fine strainer to get all the little nasty bits) and stuck it in the fridge.  I would have photo documented that process, but it was 6am and that wasn't happening.  Once it cooled, I pulled it back out, scraped all the fat off the top and simmered it for another couple hours just to reduce it.  I really don't need three gallons of stock.  Then into ziplock bags (I ended up with exactly 24c. of stock!  So three bags of 8c, well marked so I don't forget) and into the deep freeze for future use!  First stock experience....complete.  And maybe next time, I will be a little more mentally prepared.  Whew.


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