Welcome back to reality, everyone! I hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving. Mine couldn’t have been better. Both of my brothers came out to visit from Arizona, and on top of that, we had 14 people in total over to celebrate. Initially, I was worried that we wouldn’t have room for everyone, but we wrangled up some extra chairs and our friend Joel brought over a folding table, so all was well. My lovely friends brought over lots of food and drink, and I think it was a big success. Kramer did a phenomenal job both roasting and carving the turkey, too, which is a feat all on its own. Thanks to everybody who was able to make it over for our Third Annual Orphan Thanksgiving, and I hope to see you all again next year! Maybe we’ll have to consider renting out a space to make it even bigger and better. Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite day of the year, and while I’m sad that it’s all over, I already have plans to top it for 2013, so prepare yourselves! Thanksgiving is always on or around my birthday, too, so it just makes this time of year unbeatable. Today is my actual birthday, and while I have to go to work and get back into my regular routine, I think that’s for the best. I’ve had four days of nonstop fun and it’s definitely time to get back into the swing of things.
I’m sure that a lot of you, like me, save your turkey carcass to make soup or stock or any number of delicious post-Thanksgiving dishes. I think that homemade stock is definitely the best thing you can do with the leftover bones, though. There’s nothing quite as delicious as rich, golden stock – it makes for the best soups, stews, sauces, or whatever else you can dream up. Making stock seems like a pain, but honestly, it couldn’t be easier. Just toss the bones in with whatever vegetables you’ve got (carrots, onions, celery, etc.) with some salt, pepper, and herbs, let it simmer for 6-8 hours, and boom! Your very own homemade stock. It’s getting cold outside, and in preparation for the cold and flu season, it’s always good to have some of this on hand, either in the fridge or in the freezer ready to thaw out and serve. May I suggest chicken and dumplings or matzoh ball soup? We’re all a bit exhausted (already) from the holidays, I’m sure, and there’s no better way to recharge than with a big bowl of something hot, especially when it’s made with this stock!
Set it all on the stove with the turkey carcass, fill it up to the top of the pot with water, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, then allow to simmer, stirring occasionally and skimming the fat off the top every 30-45 minutes or so, for 6-8 hours.
The liquid will reduce as it goes, so fill it up with a bit of extra water to keep it at a reasonable level. When the stock is ready, strain the solids from the liquid, allow it to cool to room temperature, then store in an airtight container for up to 1 week, or freeze for up to 3 months.
Make soups, sauces, or whatever you want!
- 1 large turkey carcass or 2 chicken carcasses (thawed if previously frozen)
- 4 carrots, roughly chopped into pieces
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- handful of fresh herbs (rosemary, sage, thyme, etc.)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon peppercorns
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 10-14 cups water (depending on how much your pot will hold)
- Chop your vegetables and add them to your largest stock pot, along with your herbs, bay leaves, peppercorns, and salt. Add in the carcasses, then enough water to cover them. Stir to combine, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Skim any foam or fat from the top of the stock. Allow the liquid to simmer, uncovered, for 6-8 hours. Add more water as needed, and skim any fat or foam from the surface as needed.
- After 6 hours, check the stock. If it looks golden and tastes good, it’s ready to go! If it doesn’t seem reduced or golden enough, allow it to simmer for another hour or two, adding a bit more water as necessary. Drain the solids from the stock and discard them, then allow the stock to cool to room temperature before storing in an airtight container. It will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or frozen for up to 3 months.