Wait! Hold it right there! Don’t even think about scraping those bones into the garbage! Let me show you how to turn that turkey carcass into a gold that’s worth its weight. This easy turkey stock recipe is a simple, waste-reducing, post-holiday miracle juice with a thousand delicious uses. Trust me, you’ll never ditch a leftover roast again.
The holidays are over and you are left with a pile of picked-over bones that would do a vulture proud. You’ve carefully salvaged all the meat possible for a turkey pot pie or hearty turkey stew, you’ve really made the most of that bird! But let’s take it one step further for a zero-waste roast and boil up those bones for a silky, golden turkey stock.
Turkey stock recipe
My turkey stock recipe is a simple and comparatively quick one! All it takes is a handful of ingredients and a few hours of unattended stovetop time and you have a deeply flavoured, nutritious stock to play with.
The fundamentals of stock are; bones, onion, carrot, celery, bay leaves and peppercorns. You can use aromatics to add hints of flavour, many recipes do, but I keep mine as neutral as possible. This means I can use it in any recipe that requires stock without worrying about conflicting flavours.
While you can request the raw bones from a butcher and make it with those, I firmly believe in making the most of your roast and putting the leftover turkey or chicken carcass to good use.
How to use turkey stock
Pull any saucy recipe from my blog and it will call for an amount of stock. It really is the unsung hero in all your favourite dishes.
But it says ‘chicken stock’? No problem, you can use the two stocks interchangeably. Both are the concentrated result of slowly simmering poultry bones and aromatics and will add flavour, dimension, and bonus nutrition to any dish.
Turkey stock can be used in the obvious; soups like homemade chicken noodle soup or Thai chicken soup with rice; stews like classic coq au vin; mouthwatering chicken marsala; or sophisticated chicken in wine and mustard sauce.
Just don’t go substituting turkey stock for vegetable stock if you’re having meat-free dinner guests over!
Recipe tips and notes
- This recipe for turkey carcass stock is exactly the same for chicken carcass stock or bone broth. Use the stock in any recipe that calls for it; soups, stews, casseroles, gravies etc.
- It might sound weird but leave the skin on the onion! This acts as a beautiful, natural dye and will give the stock a pleasing sunrise yellow hue.
- For an even more dramatic shade, add ¼ teaspoon of turmeric. The colour will be a deep yellow, but the small amount won’t affect the taste.
- Avoid adding anything green, like fresh parsley or other herbs. These tend to go brown and swampy while simmering leaving you with a stock that looks unappealing.
- Keep your vegetables big and chunky. They shouldn’t disintegrate into the liquid, which makes the stock go dark and cloudy.
- Some recipes use dried thyme, rosemary, or other aromatics like ginger in their stock. I keep mine simple with bay leaves and peppercorns only. This offers a neutral flavour for a more versatile stock.
- Strain through a mesh strainer and a cheesecloth for the clearest stock.
- The final step, often shamefully skipped, is to boil the strained liquid. This reduces the stock further condensing it down into a stream of intensely flavoured liquid gold.
Storage and leftovers
Turkey stock can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days or in the freezer for 3-4 months. However, the stock will be at its best, and most flavoursome, in the first month.
When freezing any stock, I like to pour the cooled liquid into ice cube trays. These are ready-made portions that you can pop out when needed. Trust me, it’s incredibly hard to hack a portion off a frozen stock block!
More turkey leftover recipes
Easy Turkey Stock
- 6 litres / 6 quarts cold water
- 1 turkey carcass
- 1 white onion skin on
- 1 carrot
- 1 celery stick
- 2 bay leaves
- 10 peppercorns
- 1 tsp salt
- In a large stock pot combine the turkey (or chicken) carcass, halved onion with the skin on, celery and carrot cut in large pieces, bay leaves and peppercorns and a pinch of salt, top with cold water.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer, skim the foam off the top and simmer over low heat for 3 hours. The stock should not be boiled hard but rather have a gentle simmer, which will infuse the water with the flavour.
- After 3 hours strain through a mesh strainer or through a cheesecloth for a clear stock. Put it back in a pot and boil hard for 40 minutes to 1 hour until it’s reduced in half. You will end up with concentrated stock full of flavour.