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Save the turkey carcass(es)

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  • ChiliDude Nov 17, 2005 10:36 AM
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If you are fortunate to have a turkey carcass because you had Thanksgiving dinner at your place, do not discard it before you made broth with it. I will be fortunate to have 2 carcasses this year because our son-in-law wishes to have 2 whole turkeys this year. In the past, it was 1 whole turkey and a turkey breast. Dinner will be with our daughter's family, and I traditionally get the carcass(es).

Making turkey broth is easy. Get a stock pot and break the carcass apart in it so that you can put a lid on it. Fill it with water. Do not add seasonings or aromatic vegetables. I repeat, DO NOT ADD SEASONINGS OR AROMATIC VEGETABLES, unless you intend to use the broth immediately. Otherwise, if you freeze it for later use, you may not remember what seasonings you used. I play with my food, and I don't always use the same seasonings. If you discard the mushy vegetables, you may forget which ones were used. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. One hour should be long enough to get all the turkey essence into the water. Skim off scum as it accumulates. Strain broth into containers that can be kept in the freezer.

Glean the bits of meat that were attached to the bones and store in separate containers or freezer bags.

I use the turkey broth for risotto. That's when the seasoning is added, and the gleaned turkey meat is used. The broth has other uses as well. Use your imagination.

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  1. Or just eat them the next day for lunch- that's good eats!

    1. I wouldn't dream of discarding a Turkey carcass! What would I then use to make our traditional Turkey Gumbo the weekend following Thanksgiving? Yum!

      1. I think I look forward to the carcass more than I look forward to the turkey! Turkey soup and turkey curry, here we come....

        2 Replies
        1. re: Zorra

          Are you the Zorra who has a website concerning Bohemian cooking and purvey's those wonderful large Czech dumplings?

          1. re: ChiliDude

            I wish!

            I've never made Czech dumplings, but I can make awesome apple dumplings. :)

        2. I throw the carcass back in the oven to brown before making the stock. I find it gives more flavor and a nice color. Turkey soup is our day-after tradition.

          1 Reply
          1. re: JenniferG

            Me too. Don't forget to deglaze the roasting pan after!

          2. One thing that is extremely important if the turkey carcass is to render a decent broth: either DO NOT stuff the turkey with any kind of starchy stuffing - bread, rice, whatever - or else wash every speck of it from the carcass before proceeding with the broth-making. Any scrap of starch in there will cloud the broth and make it prone to ferment. This is one reason why I cook ALL my cornbread-or-whatever turkey dressin' in a separate casserole dish, instead of inside the bird.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Will Owen

              Thanks for the suggestion. I didn't think about that possibility because our families do not stuff the bird. Our daughter's mother-in-law bakes the stuffing, which is made with Italian sausage, in a pan and brings it from South Philly.

            2. One reason I didn't get a heritage bird this year is that the turkey broth I made from last year's carcass tasted gamy and off. And the leftover skin didn't crisp up as well when I used it to make gribenes, either.