This is a recipe for the day after Thanksgiving. All across the country, millions of turkey carcasses will be thrown out following the feast, by the same families who will at some point in later weeks buy ready-made soup or soup stock. The horror!
Turkey stock makes some of the most incredible soup you can imagine, especially if you are working with a flavorful heirloom breed. Keep your cooking mojo going for a day or two more, and you'll have enough turkey stock to make at least two fantastic soups in the coming weeks.
Cut off all extra turkey meat and put aside for other uses. Place the turkey bones in the largest pot you own, and fill with water. You can add leftover vegetables, pan drippings or chopped carrots and onions if you like. (You can also roast the bones before the simmer, add herbs, add a piece of kombu seaweed in the beginning and a whole host of other things, according to your preference. This is the simplest version, and my personal favorite.)
Heat the pot to a simmer, skimming the surface as necessary. Turn to the lowest flame possible. Allow to gently simmer, partially covered, for four to six hours, or more. (My mother leaves it on the stove over an exceedingly low flame overnight.) Allow the stock to cool slightly, then pour through a strainer and refrigerate. After the stock has been in the fridge for a few hours, skim the fat off the top and discard it.
You can use the stock immediately, in soups or risottos, or freeze for use in the next two months. But don't wait. After all that heavy feasting, a simple soup dinner can be a welcome tonic.
- Larissa Phillips