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What to do with a raw deboned turkey carcass?

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Earlier today I was making turkey sausage with turkey breast and thigh meat and have the raw bones with a bit of meat still on them leftover. It just bugs me to throw them away. Is there anything I can do with it besides make a stock?

Or if only good for stock, perhaps could you suggest some inspiration for what to do with it? I'm just not feeling the whole turkey and kale soup or gumbo at the moment.

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  1. I just had some really good and spicy mulligatawny soup at an indian place this week. You could use turkey stock for that. But if you're not in the soup mood, just freeze the bones and pull them back out in the fall when the weather is more souplike.

    1. Well stock is all I can think of and you can freeze it for later use in soups. Turkey stock is really delicious, in gravies and as well soups. Freeze it in ice cube trays, transfer to ziplock and add to gravies, or as a flavour enhancer in stew, use in rices, cooking pasta, potatoes.

      1. OK, you don't want soup. That's understandable; it's summer. I'd break it up and prepare a stock then take the remaining meat from the strained bones and use it for chicken (in this case turkey) Enchilada Suiza. There's usually plenty of meat on the carcass to provide at least one meal of that variety.

        1. If you have room in your freezer, chop it up, freeze it, and make stock with it some other time, perhaps with some chicken left-overs.

          1. The stock will take up a lot less room in your freezer than the carcass will, especially if you reduce it to a glaze or demi-glace.

            You can reconstitute it for soup and gravy at Thanksgiving and you won't be pressed for time.

            2 Replies
            1. re: acgold7

              True. Plus I'm afraid the meat will get freezer burn from sitting in the freezer so long. Broth I can make and seal up in bags to remove more air out than the bulky bones.

              1. re: Crockett67

                make stock, but seriously reduce it down -- to a very jiggly gelatinous stage. then it will take up very little freezer space and be available once the weather cools.

            2. Turkey stock, like chicken stock, should be useful for all kinds of things, as a flavorful substitute for water. Making rice, for example, or more elaborate rice dishes like pilaf and jambalaya.

              1. It is traditional for me to make turkey stock on the Friday after Thanksgiving using the carcass. The stock is then used to make risotto along with some of the leftover turkey meat. That said, one can make turkey risotto any time of the year given that the ingredients are available.

                1 Reply
                1. re: ChiliDude

                  Risotto sounds nice, maybe a paella?

                2. I love chewing on meat bits off bones. For instance I often buy chicken thighs which come with the back portions. I remove the thighs. If I am going to BBQ, I will probably marinade the thighs with something mild and then make a spicy marinade for the backs (I have done one a couple of times which is remotely based on "inner beauty hot sauce" but not as spicy), then grill both. With chicken backs, you can also flatten them, then salt and pepper & fry. If you want serve them with freshly fried garlic slices (do this with chicken thighs cut into bits) and hot pepper rings. I couldn't tell from your post what you have left from the turkey (mention carcass so was it whole or just breast and thigh sections), but possibly with a bit of cleaving you could do one of these ideas. If you fry, it would probably have to be deep frying because of the larger bones.

                  Soup ideas. Cook the turkey as making stock, but remove the meat from the bones before it gets too dry, and return the bones to stove as desired. Strain broth obtained and use to cook cubed yuca until very tender. Strain the yuca (reserving broth) and blend with stick blender or in parts in a blender. Fry garlic, onion, bell pepper, paprika, spices, and then add the reserved turkey. Add some tomatoes. Then add the yuca puree, as well as broth as needed (should be somewhat thin), season and cook until flavors are blended and you have a thick soup. Personally I would buy a package of turkey necks (really cheap), split them into sections like oxtail and make it go a bit further (in this case you might want to pressure cook them with the bones until tender).

                  If you have a smoker, smoking the turkey parts for later use with greens or with cooking beans is another option particularly if you have parts that still have skin.

                  1. Definitely stock! Then freeze & use for so many different recipes. The trick is freezing it in appropriate quantities - not just quarts. I freeze some of mine in ice cube trays (same with chicken stock). Each cube equals approx. 3 tablespoons or 1/8 of a cup. Once frozen, I put the cubes in Ziploc bags. If a recipe calls for 1/2 cup or whatever of poultry stock, a couple of cubes does the trick without my having to open a full carton. I also freeze stock in pints as well as quarts. And a tip if you need to conserve freezer space? Measure your stock into Ziploc freezer bags, make SURE they're sealed, & freeze them flat on a paper-towel-lined baking sheet (paper towels keep the bags from possible freezing to the baking sheet). Then when frozen, you can stack the flat bags of stock instead of having a lot of upright containers.

                    1. I would put the carcass, onion, carrots, celery, head of garlic, bouquet garni, salt and pepper (I add dried chili to mine) into an oven proof stock pot skins and all and roast it in a 350 oven. (Just cut your veg into large pieces you will discard them later.) When cooked remove the pot, cover and and let rest. Add enough water to cover the contents and simmer will done. Strain the liquid and enjoy your stock (I strain mine through course, medium and fine sieves) You should have plenty delicious clear stock to freeze.

                      1. A lot of great ideas! Thanks!

                        Since I will make stock with it, I don't know if I should go Asian style like (in case I use it for pho, hot & sour, or just curry later) or more European (gravy, gumbo, or such).

                        I'm thinking onions, garlic, celery, salt and pepper is probably good for either use. Should I just put a steak in the ground and choose one style or make a utilitrian stock?

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Crockett67

                          Make a plain stock, then you can decide later when you use it.

                          1. re: wyogal

                            I 2nd that. Just make a plain basic stock. You can spiff it up any way you want at a later date when you're ready to use it.

                            1. re: wyogal

                              Cool, that's what I did. Thanks!

                          2. My only suggestion for the stock would be to freeze it in squares, so it will fit better in the freezer (and label it clearly)

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: shallots

                              Thanks! I saw that in time, just forgot to say thanks! :)

                            2. I am incapable of throwing away a bone that has not graduated from the stock pot. Yet I was never crazy about turkey stock versions of chicken soup recipes. Then I discovered that using turkey stock and beef broth in a 1:1 ratio makes a wonderful French onion soup. It's the only way I do FOS now. And since early December finds me all turkeyed out, it is nice to use the stock in a way that does not taste like turkey.

                              It's not hot soup weather in these parts, but concentrated stock from the freezer will be fine for FOS come autumn.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: greygarious

                                I agree. There is no good reason that I can think of why stock must absolutely and only be made with the carcass of one specific species, unless a purely knowledge-based single-animal experience is key. Cross-overs can work well. I often find that a chicken-duck stock tastes great.

                                1. re: greygarious

                                  Nice! Later this year I will do that!

                                  Thanks!