Friday, November 26, 2010

The Lovely Bones

If you're a vegetarian, you'll want to skip this post.

It was a good Thanksgiving. As one of my Facebook friends said, the dessert to main dish ratio was just right. (We had 8 desserts for 15 people.)

Yes, I stocked up on turkeys when they were on sale for 57 cents a pound. Not as good as last year's 44 cents a pound, but I'll take it.

Now that the feast is over, I have picked the bones clean. Literally. After the feast was done yesterday afternoon, I took the turkey carcass (isn't that just a lovely word, carcass? "What are you eating, dear?" "Carcass! It's delicious!") and stuffed half of it into the crock pot with some unpeeled carrots, unpeeled but halved onions, and some celery stalks. It made a lovely broth that will flavor rice and help with casseroles in the coming month. This morning, I took the second half of the carcass (again! That word!) and repeated yesterday's crock pot adventure. For tonight's dinner, we'll have turkey noodle soup, made from the bone broth/stock I made today. YUMMO!

For those of you who are stock-illiterate, let me break down the process:
1. Strip every piece of usable meat from the bones of your leftover turkey.
2. Put said bones in a big stockpot or crock pot, set on low. (If you had a big turkey like we did, you may have to do 2 batches.)
3. Wash some celery and carrots, chop 'em in halves or thirds, and throw them in. Chop a couple of smallish or just one large-ish onion in half, throw it in. (Don't worry about peeling. Really.) Pour in water to cover.
4. Let simmer for a few hours. At least 3, but 6 is better.
5. Put a nice big bowl in your sink with a sieve (or colander lined with cheesecloth) on top. Pour the pot's contents into the bowl, letting the sieve filter out all the solids.
6. Allow your stock to cool. Taste it - you'll need salt! Don't be shy. Like Ina Garten says, "The difference between dishwater and good stock is salt!"
7. Cover and refrigerate. In a few hours (or the next morning) skim off the fat. Some people like to cook with turkey fat. I sometimes give it to the dog on her food. It's too greasy for me, and I'm not afraid of fat!
8. Using a ladle, portion the broth into Ball canning jars and store it in the freezer, with the date on the lid. (I put my jars in the sink while I ladle. Less mess.) Leave an inch/an inch and a half headspace to account for expansion during freezing.

Simple & frugal. All those trace minerals from the turkey bones are in the broth. Enjoy!

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