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Jan 10, 2013 01:16 PM

Turkey Stock problems...

Help! I just made turkey stock from leftover Christmas turkey and the flavour after simmering changed from delicious to almost inedible. My husband says that it tastes like bones and I find that it has a taste of liver... I have put it in the fridge to chill but I think that I may have to discard. I make my own stocks constantly and this is the first time that I have had this experience. I had the stock simmering for about 3.5 to 4 hours on a low simmer so perhaps I left it on too long? I had to run an errand for 20 minutes and in that time, the flavour went from a rich tasting stock to this unpleasant taste. I could tell something had changed the moment I stepped back into the house.

Has anyone ever had this experience before? Is there anything that I can do to salvage the stock or should I just cut my losses and chart it up to a new experience? Thanks.

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  1. Sounds like you burnt something on the bottom of the pot which will kill the flavour. Toss it, bones/carcasses are cheap.

    1. Maybe the carcass had some liver bits left inside?

      15 Replies
      1. re: wyogal

        That's a good thing! I always put the gizzards in the bottom of the pan while a bird is roasting and the gravy gets deeply flavored. It never tastes "liver-y".

        1. re: monavano

          Gizzards are great, but bits of liver or kidney, not so much, IMO.

          1. re: mcf

            I have NEVER seen a kidney stuffed in any bird I've ever bought. I always use the liver, although I don't eat any liver straight up.
            Although a good pate....
            The only time I had kidney was at a wonderful restaurant (tasting menu) with a superb chef. It was lamb kidney and the flavor was incredibly deep and intense. It was the most lamb-y part of the dish.
            To add, I always use the included gizzards and have never had the result the OP had.

            1. re: monavano

              I may be using the wrong term, but my ex's mother always called those mushy organ thingies along the spine that she dug out (and I do) the kidneys. I love gizzards for stock, I have never had them cause anything but good flavor.

              I never use liver in stock, but I love it sauted, broiled, as long as it's chicken or calf, never beef...

              1. re: mcf

                What I've gotten inside is the backbone, heart and liver. When I make stock using parts, I never use or buy the gizzards. But I go with it for stock and especially gravy when I use the carcass after roasting.

                1. re: monavano

                  I'm not talking about what's inside the giblet bag, I'm talking about what's nested against the spine in a whole bird or cut up parts when they include spine sections. I've never seen these particular organs included in a giblet package, as you say.

                  I don't buy gizzards for parts, but I only buy whole birds and break them down myself, so I save the backbones, gizzards and hearts in a bag in the freezer til I have enough for stock, which I also make with whole chickens with only the wing and leg skin still on.

                2. re: mcf

                  Yep, I always try to take out that mushy organ meat, and yes, gizzards are different and add flavor. well, so does the mushy organ meat, but not a good one, IMO. :)

            2. re: monavano

              That's because gizzards and liver are different. Gizzards won't taste "livery" but liver will and can ruin a stock if not careful.

              1. re: wyogal

                When I use the gizzards after roasting, it makes a deeper stock that I use for rissoto etc.
                I've never had anything "ruined" using liver, and I don't even eat liver. Go figure.

                1. re: monavano

                  But you are talking about two different things. Gizzards are not liver.

                  1. re: wyogal

                    When I say gizzards, I mean what's stuffed in the bird cavity. I should say giblets. So sue me! ;-)

                    1. re: monavano

                      That explains the confusing discussion! Gizzards are just one specific part, the very firm, two lobed giblet. It's great for stock, in soup and chopped fine for stuffing or gravy.

                2. re: wyogal

                  What's stuffed inside the bird seems to vary a lot: in California by law the purchaser of a whole bird is supposed to get the neck, liver, heart and gizzard along with it, but packagers tend to be less than careful - I've gotten birds with two livers and no heart, or a couple of hearts but no gizzard, and many combinations thereof.

                  The heart and gizzard are mostly muscle, so they go into the stock pot along with the neck and carcase. The livers get saved separately since 1) I find they give the sauce too strong a taste and 2) I make chopped chicken liver with onions whenever I get enough of them saved up.

                  Was there any stuffing clinging to the inside of the bird? Were the vegetables in the stock extremely old? Simmering for 3-4 hours shouldn't produce an off taste by itself.

                  1. re: tardigrade

                    Yes, and I agree. That's what I've been saying... "The livers get saved separately since 1) I find they give the sauce too strong a taste..." I use the other parts as well, but not the liver or any other soft, mushy organ meat left in the area of the back bone.

            3. I'm not sure what caused the "off" taste but I tossed it... Thanks for the responses, time to start over.

              1. Just curious. Did you put celery in the stock and/or white wine? Salt or vinegar? Each of these things will add a bitter note if the stock is simmered too long. What type of pot did you use?

                1. This sounds like a one off. Toss and fuggetaboutit. You didn't do anything wrong.
                  FWIW, I've been placing my bird carcasses in the crock pot for cook on low for 8-10 hours and the stock and been unbelievably rich. I also add the roasted veggies, herbs, gizzards and even the citrus.