There ain’t a body – be it a mouse or a man – that ain’t made better by a little soup.
– Kate DiCamillo
Turkey Broth…the actual magic, right here!
Makes: 6 – 8 quarts in a 10 – 12 quart stockpot.
Notes: Consider making a big pot of turkey broth as part of a holiday tradition. It’s a great way to teach the next generations and it smells heavenly.
I like a very clear turkey broth with a lot of depth that can be used in any number of recipes, so this is what I do. If you have a specific flavor profile in mind, feel free to adjust the herbs and veg as you like. Please resist the temptation to toss all the wilted stuff in your fridge into the pot!
Ingredients: The best stock contains a mixture of roasted and raw bones. Choose yours from the list below.
- Carcass from ½ a roasted turkey, including some ribs and a wing, with some meat still attached. A leg is also useful if you have one left. Smoked turkey bones will work, too! If you just roasted a turkey breast, use those bones and add bones from a couple of roasted chickens.
- Any necks, hearts, or gizzards you’ve saved. (Freeze livers separately for dirty rice, etc.)
- Additional raw bones, about 1-2 lb. necks, backs, wings, etc. (You can use chicken bones, too, if you like.) I particularly like necks for this because they have lots of healing cartilage. Check your local farmer or an international market near you.
- 3 Tbsp. acidic liquid. I use Braggs Organic Apple Cider Vinegar “with the mother.” White wine or fresh lemon juice will work, too.
- 3-4 med or large yellow onions, halved, with skins on. (Really!)
- 3-4 whole garlic bulbs, halved, with paper on.
- 3-4 fresh bay leaves or 2-3 dried ones.
- Fresh thyme sprigs. The more the merrier! I use a bundle about the diameter of a quarter, tied with white cotton kitchen string. Add a 4-6 inch sprig of fresh rosemary if you like.
- Fresh parsley stems, if you happen to have some around. Tie them with the thyme sprigs.
Place raw bones with any gizzards or hearts into stockpot. Add cold water to cover by 2-3 inches. Add cider vinegar, white wine, or lemon juice. Cover and allow to sit, off the heat, for about 45 min. This helps pull the minerals and other goodies out of the bones and into the stock.
After you’ve soaked the raw bones, add the roasted bones to the stockpot.
Add additional cold water, leaving room at the top to add your veg and herbs. Place pot over med. high heat and bring to a very gentle boil.
After pot begins to boil gently, adjust temp to keep it from reaching a full, rolling boil. Skim whatever foam or bits of grey-ish stuff float to the surface and discard. You’ll need to skim every few minutes until it quits creating stuff to skim! (About 10-15 min. total.) This step is important! Skimming helps create a beautiful clear broth and prevents the development of any bitter taste.
While you’re skimming every few minutes, prep your veg and herbs as described above. Leaving the skin/paper on onions and garlic adds to the flavor and color of the broth. (Wipe any dirt from onion skins.) This is one reason I like organic! Try not to do this too far ahead. Onions are best used when they’ve just been cut!
Add your prepped veg and herbs gently so as not to splash yourself.
Turn the heat down to med-low. You want your broth to just simmer gently. No more boiling. It will take some practice with your particular stove to find out what works. Fiddle with it and check frequently. You want itty bitty bubbles just breaking the surface.
Cook for at least 6 hours, and not more than 16, for a clean flavor with all the nutrients pulled out into the broth. Try not to stir while it cooks. (That can cloud your broth.) You can put on a lid, partially covering the pot, for part of the cooking time to lessen the amount of water that cooks off, making the broth somewhat less concentrated, or leave the lid off and allow it to reduce more, concentrating the flavors. If you put the lid on, you’ll need the turn the heat down to keep it from coming to a boil. Turn the heat up a bit if you take the lid off. We’re still after those itty bitty bubbles!
If you wish to add additional water during cooking to increase the amount of broth, you must use very hot water, about 180-190 F.
Now is the time when you get to inhale the magic while you throw in a load of laundry and go back to your writing, pick up a paint brush, or teach your kids to play Cribbage…
When you’re happy with the color and flavor of the broth, remove from the heat and allow your marvelous creation to cool an hour or two. Scoop all bones and aromatics from the broth and discard them. (They’ve given all they had!) Remember that you’re going to use this broth to add flavor and nutrients to other recipes. Please resist the urge to add salt or adjust seasonings now.
After scooping out bones and so forth from the pot, strain into another container through a fine mesh sieve, being sure to get all the bones. You may use some of the broth immediately, if you care to. Otherwise, chill broth overnight in the fridge. You’ll know you’ve got a great batch if it gets jiggly, like soft Jell-O! (If not, it’s still a miracle! Just keep practicing.)
Transfer chilled broth to quart- and pint-sized plastic containers, (or the sizes that work for you) preferably BPA free. Leave 1 inch headroom, as broth will expand when frozen. Label, including date, and freeze until needed, up to 6 months. I try to thaw frozen broth overnight in the fridge before using. When that isn’t possible, thaw on counter and monitor so that it doesn’t start to warm.
Let the magic begin again!