Welcome to today’s edition of the Totally Worth It Pain In The Ass- Turkey Stock!
This stock is your ticket to flavortown, made ahead of Thanksgiving and added to damn near everything you cook day-of that calls for “chicken broth,” and even some stuff that normally doesn’t.
It is the thing that will transform the mundane into the sublime, from your casseroles to the all important and ever-scarce gravy, and it’s totally necessary to have on hand if you brined or otherwise made your bird better.
Why bother making turkey stock ahead of time??
More and more folks are doing things to their turkey that make it taste substantially better: brining it, stuffing tons of butter between the skin and the flesh, injecting it with flavor juice, etc. These worthwhile efforts will actually transform the dried up husk of a bird meat into something people actually WANT to eat by itself. Indeed, we will be recommending many such techniques in our turkey recipe, and it will yield an amazing bird.
The tragedy of all these turkey tenderizing techniques is that they render the pan juices and most of the other turkey byproducts that you’d normally have access to day-of useless.
Let us consider the brined turkey, for instance. That bird has been soaked in a very heavily salted solution for a loooong time. Though it will be perfectly seasoned through and through, the drippings are going to be a sodium bath, a fact that that no one who rants and raves about a brined bird ever mentions.
(This is something my cousin Michael found out when we last had Thanksgiving at my place. He is the gravy king, and though I unwittingly gave him the impossible task of making a good gravy out of the butter soaked salt water that was what was left in the roasting pan after the brined turkey was done cooking, he pulled it off somehow. But I wouldn’t have been able to, and neither would you. The turkey was delicious though, thankyouverymuch.)
So, here is how to save Thanksgiving turkey gravy and also make literally every dish you are making that day 1000x better.
Turkey Stock Recipe From ScratchCourse: UncategorizedCuisine: American, FrenchDifficulty: Medium
This turkey stock is an essential part of a really amazing Thankgiving dinner. Making it is an art rather than a science. You can wing a lot of this in terms of ingredients etc. Consider the measurements guidelines rather than rules. It’s the method that matters! Getting the meat truly, truly dark and ensuring that the bottom of the pan is really really crusty with burnt- I mean caramelized- juices, is the secret to making this stock AMAZING rather than really good.
About 425 g onions, halved and peeled
About 120g or about 2 heads of garlic, halved and peeled
2 – 3 shallots, peeled
About 300 g celery, cubed
200 g carrot, halved
2.5 kg poultry parts (turkey necks, thighs, chicken gizzards/backs etc.)*
2 cups (ish) dry white wine.
Enough water to cover poultry and veg in the stockpot of your choice
1 splash of apple cider vinegar
Around 2 tbsp fresh thyme
Around 2 tbsp fresh sage, chopped
Around 1 tsp dried or fresh tarragon
2 bay leaves
- Preheat oven to 450F. Lay meat and bones and veggies in one layer on oven- and stove-safe pans. Not non-stick. You want stickage and some burnage. I usually have to use my roaster, my big chef’s pan and my small sauté pan to get everything in a single layer.
- Roast for about 30 minutes or until deep brown, remove, flip pieces over and put them back in for another 10-15 minutes or until the other side is dark brown. Vegetables and meat should look a little burnt or “caramelized” as they like to say, at least on one side. It’s totally cool if they leave a bit of themselves stuck to the bottom of the pan when you flip them. Trust me, it looks worse than it is. All that dark brown and even some black stuff is a flavorbomb in the making. The timing may be different depending on what type of poultry parts you have at your disposal. Just make sure that everything is super brown and that you have crusty stuff at the bottom of the roasting pans. It takes as long as it takes.**
- Remove the roasting vessel and transfer the chunks of meat and veg into a stock pot.
- Deglaze the plan with the white wine. Make sure to scrape up AS MUCH OF THE BROWN STUFF AS POSSIBLE and toss it all into the stock pot.** If you need to use a little more wine to get everything up, go for it. It won’t mess up the flavor.
- Pour the deglazing liquid into the stock pot. When all the deglazing liquid has been transferred, fill the pot with water until the meat and veggies are covered with at least 2 inches of water
- Make a bouquet garni of the thyme, sage and tarragon, and toss it and the bay leaves in. (Bouquet garni is fancy French for “wrap it all in cheesecloth or if you’re fancy, one of those round tea strainer ball things.”)
- Pour in a splash of apple cider vinegar (it helps extract all the goodness from bones etc.)
- Bring to a boil and let it boil hard until about two inches of the meat is exposed . When the meat becomes exposed, top off with water again and bring it down to a low simmer for 3 hours or till you feel like it’s the consistency and taste you want.
- Strain out all the gunk. I usually accomplish this by pulling out all the meat and veg with a spider than pouring the remaining stock through a fine sieve. This stock is not meant to be clear, so don’t bother with any cheesecloth nonsense.
- You can store this in the fridge or in the freezer. It freezes REALLY WELL and will be nice and ready for your Turkey soup the day after thanksgiving. 😀
- *If you’re using turkey thighs or legs or something else that has a lot of skin attached, leave that skin on. Then, once you have put the roasted meat and bones into the stock pot, but before you deglaze, you can take a wad of paper towel and sop up any excess grease. Sure, fat is flavor, but you don’t want a damn oil slick in your broth when it’s done.
- ** If your meat is brown but your pan stubbornly refuses to lose all it’s moisture, take it out of the oven, transfer the poultry parts to the stock pot and cook the liquid down over high heat till it starts to brown and burn.
- ***The more brown stuff you get, the more flavorful the stock will become. Take your time and get as much as possible.