Monday, November 30, 2009

The Ultimate Leftover

T he other night, we drove home after having spent a wonderful Thanksgiving with our friends. We were fat, happy, warm, and fuzzy... and we were toting the carcass of a 19-pound bird in a plastic bag. It is without a doubt, the ultimate leftover. It is also a very welcome and a generous gift. Wanna know what we did with it? We made turkey stock of course! Lots and lots of gorgeous golden rich turkey stock. It's so good, I may just have to start roasting turkeys... they really are so versatile (and much more flavorful than chickens). In the meantime, I'll just have to rely on the kindness of friends who know how much I value a roasted bird carcass, or to use the more genteel phraseology... a "turkey frame".

My Basic Turkey Stock Recipe

1 turkey carcass
1 bay leaf
2 tsp peppercorns
1 large onion, quartered
1 green apple, quartered
1 Tblsp dried rosemary
2 tsp dried thyme
1-2 pinches of other dried herbs
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
enough water to cover

Put all the ingredients into a large pot on the stove and simmer for 3 hours or... put in a crock-pot on low for 10-12 hours (or high for 6-7 hours). Take off heat and skim off fat and any floating bits. Remove large pieces with a slotted spoon and/or tongs, discard. Let cool some more and then pour through a mesh sieve. Optional: line sieve with 2-3 layers of cheesecloth or a flour-sack cloth. Pour stock into storage containers, label and refrigerate or freeze for later use.

My Notes: I planned to do this all in the slow-cooker, but once I got the cut-up carcass in the pot, I realized that there was no way anything else would fit (that was one big turkey!). Dumped everything into my big spaghetti pot with 4.5 quarts of water to cover, simmered it on the stove for 2 hours, then put half in the slow cooker. I continued to simmer the remaining half for another 3 hours on the stove and set the slow-cooker on high for 6 hours. By the time it had cooled down, it was late at night, so I combined it all into one pot, covered it and put it in the fridge, then skimmed and strained it in the morning. Yielded 3.25 quarts total.
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