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Nov 24, 2006 06:38 PM

Turkey stock question

I've been simmering a turkey carcass, with vegetables and herbs etc. for 2 1/2 hours--is it going to get any more flavorful at this point or am I wasting time/heat? I've read about people simmering for 8, 10 hours.

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  1. Have you tasted it? If it tastes rich and the way you want it to taste then take it off the heat, You are done. If it seems too be a bit lacking give it a little more time. Hohpe you put in some carrots adn onions for a little sweetness. Neither need peeling and the onion skins add to the color of the stock.

    1. I agree with Candy on the taste test. However, if you are storing the stock for future use and have limited space for freezer storage, you might want to strain the stock and then reduce it down to whatever strength you want (you can dilute it later). Yes, this takes time, and it's probably what all those 8-hour simmerers are doing, since poultry stock rarely needs that length of time (unlike beef stock).

      1. All those people simmering stocks for 8+ hours are obviously wasting their time and attempting to trick you into wasting yours as well. I mean, that's the only logical conclusion, right?

        There's no chance that longer simmered stocks extract more of the collagen/gelatin from the bones/flesh/skin/connective tissue and, in turn, create more body/a more unctuous mouthfeel/better tasting stock. No chance whatsoever.

        5 Replies
        1. re: scott123

          I'm not questioning you, just wondering why you're so certain. I've simmered stock for four hours and when I removed the bones, everything felt like there was still plenty of cartilege from which to extract collagen.

          1. re: amkirkland

            Huge difference in bones. If you are making poulty stock, it doesn't take as long. If you are making beef or veal stock, it takes longer to extract the flavors(add in roasting time).

            I'm curious, though - I didn't know cartilage had so much to do with the collagen as the connective tissue(collagen source) - more an issue with pot roasts than stock making, maybe. Cartilage, in my experience doesn't melt like connective tisues. Anyone disagree?

            1. re: cayjohan

              most cartilege is composed primarily of collagen, except for the elastic cartilage. It takes longer to get this collegen out than it takes to get the collegen from muscular connective tissue. While it doesn't melt in the same way as connective tissue, it does mostly melt eventually. I know you don't get any more flavor from the bones, but I believe that you'll still get more collegen, which is very appealing if you ask me.

              1. re: amkirkland

                Very cool to know - thanks. I'll rethink all those gristly ends of chicken bones in future!

                Have you ever cooked it down to the point where cartilage disintegrates?

                1. re: cayjohan

                  no, not really. I've gotten to where it was edible i suppose.

        2. The right question is, does it taste good?

          If it doesn't, maybe you put in too much water and need to cook it down more, or you need to get all the turkey bits underwater, and then simmer a bit more.

          Proportion is important with stock.

          If you've done everything right, try adding a little salt.

          1. One thing to think of is that you can sacrafice flavor for more body. Do you smell how good your kitchen smells during stock making? That is the flavor evaporating with the water.

            You definately sacrafice some when you reduce stock down like that. It is a personal decision of course.