We bought a happy turkey for Thanksgiving, and because he was happy and pecked around the base of trees and watched the sunrise and WhatNot, he was also Rather Expensive. So, to maximize Turkey Goodness and get every centavo’s worth out of him, we made turkey stock. A lot of turkey stock. Like maybe 2 gallons. Which is a lot for our home kitchen. It also presents some Interesting Storage Dilemmas.
Here’s how we did it. First, the turkey stock:
Turkey Stock, made with what we had lying about
- 1 turkey carcass, with plenty of Bits of Meat left on him. And skin. We had cooked ours with lemon and onion slices under the skin, so those flavors were there, too
- 2 onions, halved, but not peeled
- 2 carrots, scrubbed but not peeled
- (celery if you have it–1-2 stalks. We didn’t)
- 1-2″ finger of ginger, cut in chunks
- a few black peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves (we have a bay tree, well bush, in our yard, but dried is fine, too)
- water to cover
Bring the stock just to a boil on the stove top, and then cover and put in the oven at 220F for hours and hours. I think we left ours for about nine hours. At least six, though.
Strain out all the solids, but leave the fat. Chill quickly (we put the stock pot in the sink and fill it with ice water and stir and stir), portion and freeze.
To Make Matzo Ball Soup
When you’re ready to make your soup, take some frozen stock out of the freezer–I guess we used 3 quarts or so and peel off the layer of fat. Set the fat aside. It’s good stuff.
Cut up some onion, celery and carrots pretty thinly. You can saute them, if you want, but I just throw them in raw–I like the brighter flavors in this particular soup. Either way is fine, though.
Bring the broth to a simmer, season with salt (it will probably need A Very Lot), some pepper and maybe some sage or poultry seasoning. You can make your own matzo balls, but I accidentally bought mix instead of meal, so all I had to do was add some reserved turkey fat and some water to the mix. It calls for oil, but the flavor is Unbelievable if you use the turkey fat (schmalz, if you use chicken fat). It also tells you to simmer them in water. Do not listen to them. Simmer them in your soup. That’s where all the flavor is.
You could add some white or dark meat turkey or chicken to this, but the kinds I have always had only offer the broth and aromatics. The meatiness of the stock permeates the whole dish, but if you want to Gild the Lily, by all means go for it.