Sunday, November 25, 2012

Turkey Soup: What to do with that huge carcass

WAIT! STOP! I know it is probably too late for this admonition, but I implore you - PLEASE DON'T THROW AWAY YOUR TURKEY CARCASS. Don't EVER throw away your turkey carcass! Or your roast chicken carcass! Make broth or stock! Don't know how? I will tell you.

First, a vocabulary correction. I keep telling folks I've been making stock but actually I have been making broth. Broth takes about two hours to make, stock takes twice that because it concentrates the flavor in a smaller amount of liquid. Now I know the distinction and so do you!

I've been trying to move away from buying pre-made broth. It just seems like such a waste of $2 to buy chicken water, but I use broth all the time to cook with because it does add awesome extra flavor. I had been thinking for awhile about pressure canning broth and the money-saving part of it sealed the deal. By using a turkey carcass I had no other use for, plus about $2 worth of vegetables for extra flavor, I made 6 quarts of broth. I saved a nice $10 and got better quality product in the process.

How to make broth? It is oh so easy. First you need a big enough pot to fit your turkey carcass. We had to hack ours up a little to fit it in my big stock pot. Then there are just a few simple steps.

1. Fill pot with water and cover turkey carcass by about 2 inches.
2. Turn stove on to medium high heat. Reduce heat after it starts getting bubbly.
3. Simmer on medium heat for one hour.
4. After an hour, add in one onion (chopped in half, skin left on), two carrots, and two celery stalks.
5. Simmer for another hour. Strain through a colander, the finer the better, to get out all the little pieces of things that float around. 

And you've got broth!

This is the method I used for pressure canning, while also following a few more specific instructions from my own pressure canner manual. But this is the gist of it  and I'm glad I tried it. Pressure canning is not nearly as scary as I thought. If you don't have a pressure canner, broth can of course be frozen. I'd recommend putting it in freezer bags by the quart and labeling them well so you know how much is in each bag.

Since I was already geared up in the kitchen, I went ahead and made dinner from the freshly made broth. Here's what I made.

Thankful Turkey Soup

2 quarts turkey broth
2 cups shredded turkey
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 stems of celery, chopped
1 tsp salt (only if you use fresh broth - store-bought broth already has salt)
Pepper to taste
Pinch of paprika

Pour turkey broth into a soup pot. Warm up a frying pan with a little olive oil and sauté the onion and garlic until onion is translucent. Add to soup pot along with chopped carrots, celery, and shredded turkey. Bring to a boil then reduce heat. Simmer for 30-40 minutes until vegetables have softened. Add in salt, pepper, and paprika. Enjoy with cheese and crackers or a warm dinner roll. 

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