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Dec 26, 2012 09:11 AM

Thoughts on making todays turkey stock

Today's the day. I've broken down the turkey carcass and even crushed the big bones. Into the cold water, about 2 gallons. At this point I'd always add the chopped celery/carrot/sweet onion/ bay leaf. Then barely bring to a simmer for a few hours. Skim skim skim. I'm looking for a clear stock. T Keller warns about adding veg to make stocks. He calls them "flavor sponges" and I can't argue with his logic. Usually I strain off the "flavor sponges" with the bones leaving the broth. Not today.
Today I'm only using the turkey carcass and water and a couple of bay leafs. My plan is to get as much turkey flavor out of the stock first. I'll reduce the stock and cool and freeze it. Then when I want to use it in say a stew or soup I'll thaw some and add the steamed veg to the hot stock. I'll get the flavor of the clear turkey stock and the full flavor of the steamed veg. I've been to Polish restaurant many years ago that served a crystal clear broth with bright veg in it.
Any thought or suggestions?

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  1. If I add veggies I add them very near the end or when I'm making the dish with the stock. Many times I leave it completely unseasoned because I don't always know what I'm going to make with it so I don't know which direction to take it ahead of time.

    We ALWAYS have stock in the freezer, I wouldn't do without it. I use stock in something almost every day. (Bone broths have amazing health benefits so I try to to fit it into everything I can.)

    1 Reply
    1. re: weezieduzzit

      I always have stock in the freezer too. I like to reduce reduce to the point where I get a couple of ice cube trays full. Them I freeze the trays and pop the cubes into Zip locks for use later. But as to my question you don't use veg in the actual stock making to add flavor, which Keller says basically goes into the veg "flavor sponges" before they are discarded with the bones?

    2. If you are looking for a clear result, you need to follow a method to produce a Consomme...and not a Stock.

      Consommé is clarified through a process that involves simmering the stock along with a mixture of egg whites and lean ground meat called a clearmeat.

      As the consommé simmers, the clearmeat solidifies into what is known as a raft which floats atop the liquid. The clearmeat draws proteins and other impurities that cloud a stock out of the liquid, leaving it perfectly clear.

      1 Reply
      1. Just be aware that the clearer the stock, the less flavor it will have. Those impurities you skim (or strain in the case of a consomme's "raft") away pack a lot of flavor. Me, I couldn't care less how clear my stock is no I never bother, because flavor is always paramount for me. But it's purely a matter of personal taste.

        As the whole notion of flavor sponges has been thoroughly disproven -- it is now widely known that you can't de-salt anything by putting a potato in it -- this notion that you shouldn't add veg is just further proof that Keller is the most overrated blowhard in the entire industry. Ignore his silly advice. We make several dozen gallons of Turkey stock daily in our restaurant and our customers are always asking us what we do to make ours so special, and it would never occur to us not to add all the veg. After we strain the stock we add more fresh veg to the soup as well.

        4 Replies
        1. re: acgold7


          I have never been clear on whether or not the marrow has anything to contribute (other than fat, perhaps) if the bones have been cooked before hacking them up or crushing them. It's been my experience that adding some raw meat like wings, backs, or feet to a cooked-carcass poultry stock makes for a better-tasting result and as you said, I care not a whit about clarity. .

          1. re: greygarious

            For myself, I'm like both you and acgold7....the clarity of stock is not important at home for my purposes......however, the OP mentions they are trying to duplicate a result that they had at a Polish restaurant. For a commercial kitchen there is a need to be able to produce a clear broth.....and it also showcases the talents of the chef and kitchen.

          2. re: acgold7

            Oh Lord - another person here in TOTAL agreement that Keller is among the very MOST overrated "chefs" in the business.

            I made the most amazing & delicious turkey stock the day after Thanksgiving. Needed very little reducing after straining. And - go figure - chock full of the usual aromatic vegetables during the long simmering phase.

          3. I'm interested to know how your stock, with only the turkey and bay leaf, comes out. Report back!

            7 Replies
            1. re: christy319

              I just took it out of the fridge. I'll put a cup and a half into some Zip locks today. I ended up with about eight cups from about three gallons of water. I reduced it quite a bit. I tasted it cold just now. It's delicious! And I'm not just saying that. It tastes like turkey. It's not 'watery' but it's not gelatinous either. I used every bit of the carcass. It's not clear like consommé but it's not too cloudy either. Somewhere in the middle. The turkey was a free range bird from my neighbors. Now I have a stock I can use with anything.
              As to Keller I guess some can't stand him or his opinions. For me I don't care either way. I'm pleased with this stock and I'll make it this way in the future.

              1. re: Puffin3

                Do you think it is better that it is not gelatinous? I like a really gelatinous stock myself.

                1. re: Puffin3

                  Thanks for the report. I'll try it that way next time and see what I think. The gelatin issue is one of how long the bones have been simmered, isn't it?

                  1. re: christy319

                    If I wanted a really gelatinous stock I could have added extra wings and feet but I didn't. Sometimes I'll stock up on them when they are sale at the butcher shop. They weren't so I didn't. The stock as it is isn't watery. There is some gelatin in it.

                    1. re: christy319

                      I think alton brown said that only free range birds will yield gelatinous stock. Regualr supermarket birds don't move around enough to build up the the connective tissue that produces the gelatin.

                      This has been my experiance also (I couldn't afford the free range bird this year- the stock was very flavorful but the stock didn't have the "wavy gravy" effect when cooled(the bird was hot smoked on the weber).

                      Some cooks add a bit of plain, flavorless gelatin to compensate for this.

                      1. re: sparky403

                        Every year @ Thanksgiving, I receive a free turkey for my purchases at the Supermarket, which I'm sure are mass produced crap by some standards and definitely not free range or organic.......I make stock from the carcass and bones and it always becomes gelatinous when finished and cooled.

                        1. re: sparky403

                          The only-free-range claim is complete poppycock. How gelatinous a stock is is a function of what bones and tussue are cooked, for how long, and how concentrated the stock is.
                          If you try to make a quart of stock per pound of turkey, it will be thin. Reduce it until it has a lot of flavor, and it will set up firmly.

                  2. I dont believe the "flavor sponge idea" - the long simmered veg in my broths are pretty flavorless - like the meat - by the end of the process. I think there is a reason why the Polish store I buy my meat at sells ingredients like parsley root for use in their stock along with chicken feet, veal bones etc - and it is not to reduce the flavor of the stock.

                    I do agree with OP that it may be a good idea to reduce seasonings of stock to minimum if it is likely to be used in different cuisines - for example chinese as well as european - but bay leaf (unlike, say , onion) is not a logical additive to a neutral stock since it has a very definite flavor of its own..