I was appalled this morning to open the trash can in front of my apartment complex and find two—count ’em, TWO—whole turkey carcasses plopped right on top. Foil roasting pan and all. Sure, by now you’ve probably picked the bones clean of any sandwich-worthy meat, but the bare carcass is second only to the skin as the BEST part of poultry. If you’re thinking about tossing it, don’t. Here’s my basic stock recipe:
Roast the whatever’s left of the bird at around 425 degrees for 30 minutes. (You don’t have to do this, but I find the roasted bones add real depth of flavor.) Toss everything in a large stock pot along with an unpeeled onion cut in half, a turnip quartered (controversial, but worth it), some sprigs of thyme, a couple of carrots cut in big chunks, some parsley, salt, and pepper. Cover it all with water and let simmer for a couple hours. You’ll want to skim off the foam that rises to the surface when it all begins to boil. Strain it, cool it, skim off the fat, and you’ll end up with a rich, dark soup stock that will blow any chicken concoction out of the, well, broth.
I like to use mine as a base for Hanukkah matzo ball soup. Seeing as the holiday is a bit later this year, I’ll freeze it in zipper bags. (I freeze it in two-cup portions so I can defrost little bits to use throughout the year.) Bonus tip: Save the congealed fat you skim off the broth for super-fluffy matzo balls.