Home Made Turkey Stock

After you pick most of the meat off a turkey carcass, you stick the bones and skin and other bits in a big pot and boil it up for a while. Strain the junk out and then boil some more to reduce it by like 50% or so. That’s a soup base. That good for you? (heart health wise)

I chill it, and get chicken/turkey jello. Then with a spatula, take off the top layer of fat, or schmaltz?

I usually add salt, pepper, sage, etc. to the stock as well.

The point being, taking off the fat is probably better than not doing so.

Reported for forum change.

Moved to Cafe Society.

General Questions Moderator

So asking a factual question about the healthy-ness of a food is not GQ-worthy?


Yeah, even GQ-type questions about food usually end up in Cafe Society. It’s not a big deal for a thread to be moved.

If you’re concerned about fat (and whether it’s “healthy” or not is its own can of worms), you can defat the stock as mentioned above. Let it cool in the fridge and then skim off the solid fat layer on top. It’s a bit easier to do with narrower containers (as you end up with a thicker layer of fat that’s easier to skim.) I generally do defat my stocks not for health reasons, but because: a) I want to save the fat for other cooking applications. b) If you’re using it as an ingredient, generally there will be enough fat elsewhere in the dish and c) Too much fat leads to a greasy mouthfeel. I use my judgement, though. If I’m using the broth for straight-up turkey soup (like taking the broth and then pouring it over cooked noodles), I make sure to leave some fat in, since I like a bit of fat and it helps satiate me.

Turkey carcass makes really good stock, IMO - excellent as a base for gravy and soups.

In fact, I usually cook my Christmas turkey a day or two in advance, just so I can have turkey-bone gravy with it - I carve/pick off the meat, make stock and gravy from the bones and pack the meat down in gravy (some for the freezer), then on Christmas day, I can focus on the vegetables and trimmings - the meat that was packed down in gravy is often nicer than fresh-carved.

Does anyone else think that turkey stock has a faint almond-like sweetness to it?

It’s healthy, and much lower on salt than processed soup.

I made turkey soup after Christmas. I took the carcass, with some meat, and browned each side on butter. I put say a cup each of chopped celery, carrot and onion in a pot with a bit of oil until the onions turn brownish. Add herbs, water and the browned turkey and you’re off to a great meal.

You’ll get better stock if you don’t “boil it up for awhile”, but rather simmer it gently for 3 or 4 hours. Boiling really trashes the flavor and brings stuff out into the liquid that you’d rather leave behind. Most of that scummy stuff you skim off comes from boiling.

Another improvement is to rough chop an onion, a carrot, and a celery into the pot at the beginning. Or two or three. Strain them out at the end with the other junk.

After you’ve strained and skimmed you can increase the temp to a slow boil to speed the reduction step. But even here a violent boil is gonna wreck it.

Compared to what?

Nah, I say boil the crap out of it (pardon the expression) if you so desire. Those tasty bits don’t care whether they’re rolling or merely jostling around just under the boiling point.

If the whole idea is to extract as much goodness from the carcass and vegetables, let it rip, skim the scum, strain finely, separate the fat, and enjoy your exceptionally versatile nectar.

I don’t normally crank it up to rolling because I like to walk away without fear of a boil-over, but if you want soup from scratch in less than an hour, then heck yes you should roll that stuff hard and fast.

I tend to agree with this, as poultry bones, being hollow, really don’t have much collagen in them. You won’t get anything more out of them by cooking them for hours. Now, if you’re going to include the fat during the cooking, then a low simmer is desirable. Otherwise, the fat can emulsify into the stock, which is not a good thing if you want it to be healthy, as there is no way to remove the fat.

There must be a reasonable amount, as chicken stock will gel (or at least a good one will), indicating there must have been enough collagen/gelatin to cause this. I usually simmer a chicken stock for 4-5 hours. Much longer, though, and the bones start to disintegrate, which you don’t want (though Alton seems to recommend 6-8 hours. That seems a tad long to me). These days, though, I just throw 'em in the pressure cooker for an hour.

Boiling is fine and will speed things along, if you don’t mind a stock that looks a lot milkier and has the fat and protein emulsified. (There are some stocks that are made this way.)

As I type I’ve got a stock pot simmering.

About once a year I roast a turkey so I can have the meat for various dishes. When I put the bird in the oven(stuffed) I take the giblets and the neck and start them simmering, with some onion, celery, and a couple of carrots. When the turkey is out of the oven and cool enough I dismember it. The skin and bones go into the already simmering pot, with any scraps of meat attached to them. I crack the larger bones, to expose the marrow.

Before I leave for work I’ll strain it and let the liquid cool. I scrape off the fat when the whole mess has firmed up, then simmer the stock, reducing it by at least 50%. My stock comes out pretty good and dark. I get some pretty damn good gravy to go over the rewarmed stuffing. I reserve some of the fat to get a roux. All natural gravy, I don’t use any more seasoning as the stuffing did a pretty good job of flavoring both meat and the juices.

The occasions when I have bones available tend not to coincide very often with the opportunities to make stock (I don’t like leaving it to cook overnight) - so I tend to add any bones from any meal into a bag in the freezer - I include bones from the table, even bones from, say, chinese takeaway pork ribs, or KFC.

When there’s enough in the bag, I put it in the slow cooker, cover with water and let the crockpot make my stock - I usually do this on a weekend day and we’ll have risotto or paella that day, using most of the stock. I don’t usually reduce it after making.

Turkey is probably the major exception to the above, and then mostly just because of the logistics of bagging a lot of large bones for the freezer.

Bayleaves are my favourite thing to add to stock of any kind.