Before we can talk about soups, gravy and stuffing / dressing we need to talk about stock, otherwise known as bone broth.
This is a method rather than a ‘recipe’. There was a time when turkey necks, wings and bones were really cheap. I would buy a bunch and make a vat of stock in advance and freeze it. The retailers have wised up and necks, wings and bones are not as cheap as they once were but you can still find a few deals. Of course you can use any turkey pieces that you either happen to have or can get inexpensively.
Reserve the neck from your turkey and the giblets too if you want, some people just don’t want to deal with the giblets while other love them. The choice is yours. I also cut off the tips of the wings of the chicken / turkey and use those in the stock.
Lightly oil an oven proof pan or roasting pan – place bones or turkey pieces into the pan and roast in a 350° oven and roast them until they are golden brown. About 30 – 45 minutes.
Remove from oven and place roasted bones or poultry pieces into a slow cooker. Deglaze the roasting pan with about a cup of water. Add the bones / turkey pieces and the deglazed pan drippings into a slow cooker along with
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 2 large carrots, chopped (I peel them, but you don’t have too)
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 or 2 bay leaves, whole
- 6 sprigs of fresh thyme (or 3 tsp dried thyme)
- A splash of vinegar (optional)
- 2 quarts of water. The more turkey parts you have the more water you can use.
Cover and cook on low for about 8 hours or overnight.
*I am usually prepping celery and onions etc ahead of time, the scraps from that go into the crockpot.
Using a colander, stain the solids from the liquid, obviously into a bowl. (I do know people who have inadvertently dumped the stock down the drain!)
Either refrigerate or freeze the stock if you won’t be using it within 3 days. If you are going to be using it right away you can return it to the crockpot on low and add the cooking liquid from any vegetables etc… that you may be preparing. If you want the stock to be more concentrated you can cook on high with the lid off, this is your choice.
Disclaimer: I do not add the water from cooking potatoes as it dilutes the stock too much.
I use this stock to make the gravy and it can also be used to moisten turkey dressing or make soups.
I also keep several quarts of store bought chicken broth on hand – you just never know when you are going to need more broth!