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The turkey carcass(es) can be used to make a broth that can be used for many purposes. I usually use the broth to make risotto, and other dishes that require a liquid.

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    1. re: letsindulge

      Only for those of us who think about it before making the mistake of discarding a useful ingredient.

      1. re: ChiliDude

        Hmmm...I want to see the kitchen science version. Is broth/stock made from roasted turkey carcasses , meat removed, absolutely worth making?

        1. re: Shrinkrap

          I have gone thru this process in years past and found it worth the effort. The risotto for which it is used is always a success.

          1. re: Shrinkrap

            Absolutely, positively worth it. Throwing away something you already have that can be further used to add so much flavor and nutrition to future meals would be lunacy.

            1. re: weezieduzzit

              Sort of. But about this time of year I'm having to make some tough decisions about what to keep and what to let go.

              There are all the summer veggies to pull to make way for the fall/winter garden. There are the mandarins and navel oranges, the lemons to preserve, and the pomegranates and winter squash, and persimmon.

              And of course other TG leftovers.

              Sigh. Poor me.

              1. re: weezieduzzit

                In my experience, it doesn't add much flavor and I'd think any nutritional value would have long since cooked away. I've read here that people who cook chicken for hours and hours for stock then want to use that chicken for other things, i.e., enchiladas. I'm more of the school that it's "given its all" and should be allowed to go in peace :) As I said, this is just how it works for me. When I make stock (and I have a lot in the freezer) it's the main event.

                Call me a lunatic :)

                1. re: c oliver

                  coliver, the broth/ stock made from bones is rich in easily absorbed calcium, magnesium, glucosamine, chondroitin, arginine, glycine, collagen, and more.

                  The bones still have a lot to give. :)

                  1. re: weezieduzzit

                    I can't find a reputable citation to support or not support that. Do you have one please? Also I'd think the amount when diluted with water wouldn't be even worthwhile. But, again, I have no problem with others thinking otherwise.

                    1. re: c oliver

                      It's obviously a personal thing so if you don't like it made w/ bones, that's understandable. I think I get more flavor using a whole chicken, poaching, removing the meat, then putting the bones back in to finish the stock. But, I think I get a perfectly delicious stock w/ great gelatin from carcasses. As I said below, it's basically free stock. As sources go, what about:


                      Julia Child:

                      Mark Ruhlman:

                      1. re: chowser

                        Yep, Sam taught me also to use chicken feet :)

                      2. re: c oliver

                        Oh, do I wish I had smell-a-vision! The mess in this pot smells absolutely divine, c oliver. I'd love to give you some. It's rich and full of flavor (definitely needs salt later!).
                        I don't add gallons of water - this will make about 6 cups or so.

                        1. re: c oliver

                          There are plenty of reputable sources available - http://lmgtfy.com/?q=nutritional+anal... which support weezie's post. You really are throwing away a lot of great nutrition (and money!) when you toss your poultry (or other animal) carcass without utilizing them via stock - especially if you're spending the extra money to get them pastured/free range. I simmered my turkey carcass for about 8 hours and then refrigerated it and it gelled beautifully, meaning it released lots of bone-strengthening gelatin. It's not difficult, just be sure to add some vinegar to the water to help pull out the nutrients.

                      3. re: c oliver

                        I used to have a cat who went crazy for poultry. I'm one of those people who cooks the carcasses until the bones are falling apart: when I gave some of the meat from one of those stocks he refused to touch them. The bird's given it's all, and any taste in the meat is now in the stock.

                        1. re: c oliver

                          I simmer the carcass for a little while, which loosens the remaining meat. It's then excellent for enchiladas or anything really. THEN I simmer the bones and skin for hours and hours.

                          1. re: c oliver

                            Chinese family and friends will request the the scraps and carcass to make Congee the next day....if not, I usually make Turkey Barley soup.

                        2. re: Shrinkrap

                          Definitely. It's little effort and essentially free. You get nice gelatinous stock. I have a freezer full of chicken carcasses. My FIL and I "fight" over the turkey carcass but I usually give it to him and then go over for dinner for what he makes.

                          1. re: chowser

                            That sounds like a good plan chowser. I saw this thread on a top ten list and agree that bones need to be simmered. I disagree that tossing the carcass without getting some stock first is the biggest stock related sin. My cousin and her side of the family boil the turkey giblets and neck to make soup later. The stock makes tasty soup but at the price of weak gravy. /shudder

                            1. re: Shrinkrap

                              Okay! I'm going for it. I'm going to have to come up with something else to toss. I have a 16 pound turkey for four adults! How does one prioritize leftovers??

                              1. re: Shrinkrap

                                Well, I have a twelve pounder for two, to be cooked on Friday since we go to a friends party on the day itself.

                                I cook it with sausage and chestnut stuffing,, and after dinner I will take all the meat off the bone, break up the carcass and make stock immediately. I keep the meat in big pieces, and pack anything we won't eat in two days gets frozen, in small vacuum bags. Doing this, i never have to find room for a bulky carcass in the fridge. I will make a lot of gravy for the stuffing, some cranberry compote, and something green.

                                When I cook a big dinner with tons of leftovers, I prioritize using up anything perishable quickly, freeze what would freeze well, all after sending home some non-cooking friends with care packages.

                                1. re: sheiladeedee

                                  Good plan, but I've been cooking for three days already. I will have to see if I feel like making stock after all that. Then it has to cool a bit, be strained. Sigh. We shall see. I already have a liter of stock from roasted legs and thighs.

                                  1. re: Shrinkrap

                                    I put carcasses in ziplock bags and freeze. My husband gives me a hard time because I keep trash (carcasses, over-ripe bananas, old vegetables, etc.) in the freezer and he doesn't have room for his Costco size frozen buffalo wings.

                                    1. re: chowser

                                      Freezer is full of RAW bones, as well as a gajillion other things that one is forbidden to throw away.

                                        1. re: c oliver

                                          I'll be vilified for saying this but I can't tell the difference between those and what he gets from most restaurants. I'm just not a wing connoisseur. They're far cheaper, though! Maybe I should save the bones and make a buffalo chicken stock.;-)

                                          1. re: chowser

                                            This got hashed out in another thread, but yeah, I save wing bones from take-out wings, rinse them well, and make stock from them. Some folks were horrified at the idea that lips and teeth had touched those bones; I just use the stock for me & the dude. The spices can't be completely rinsed from the bones so I label it "wing stock" when I freeze it so I know how to direct it.

                                            1. re: DuchessNukem

                                              if you're going to have it at boiling for several hours, I'm not sure what sort of pathogens could survive it.

                                              And if it's just for the two of you? Go for it.

                                              I make stock all the time with carcasses left over from other meals. I break them in half, because I found you can nest the two halves together to cut down on storage space.

                                              And I'm another one with bags of trash in the freezer :)

                                              I have the incredible good luck to be the only one in the family who wants to (in my mom's words) fart around with a bunch of bones, so the stock is MINE, ALL MINE! Bwaahaahaaa.

                                              Seriously -- I've got the 15-bean soup already planned for the weekend.

                                      1. re: Shrinkrap

                                        I am making stock with the carcass, left over bits of turkey, AND the raw, frozen chicken bones from my freezer.

                                      2. re: sheiladeedee

                                        Here too, I plan to toss it in the pot right after dinner.

                                      3. re: Shrinkrap

                                        In your shoes, I would go ahead and start cooking the turkey stock. A crock pot is great for this. Use as little water as possible. Once it's done, reduce it if you must and then freeze it. This reduced stock will take up much less freezer space than will a whole carcass.

                                        1. re: Shrinkrap

                                          We just had some amazing mulligatawny based on my turkey carcass jello.

                                          Begrudgingly admitting it was worth it.

                                          1. re: Shrinkrap

                                            I have some of my mulligatawny here at work to heat up for lunch. Kid liked it so much, he had some for breakfast over rice. Free turkey jello!

                                            1. re: Shrinkrap

                                              hooray! Does this mean we have another convert joining the overnight cooking club? or did you make your turkey stock on the stove top, crock pot, or pressure cooker? There are so many comments in this thread, I can't remember who's doing what.

                                              And by the way, I love your phrase, "turkey jello." I'm going to use from now on, if you don't mind. LMAO

                                              1. re: MrsPatmore

                                                Three hours or so on the stove top, and by all means!

                                          2. re: Shrinkrap

                                            Shrinkrap, you're just joking us, right?

                                            1. re: RWCFoodie

                                              Ummm.......yeah......I'm just joking. Ha Ha!......Do not discard the turkey carcass!

                                              (One of us. One of us. One of us).

                                              1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                Yeah, you can pound your beer mug on the table like the rest of us, but we know you'll betray us. We'll see the turkey ribs silhoutted in your trash bags.

                                            2. re: Shrinkrap

                                              I say yes. I've made it once now and it turned out to be very delicious. Turkey has a lot of connective tissue, so you get a very silky stock. Also many tiny bits of meat will reveal themselves in the first part of simmering; you can remove those and either use them in soup, or have turkey salad, toss them with pasta, etc.

                                        2. Turkey and andouille gumbo at chez CHM.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: chileheadmike

                                            Sounds good to me!

                                            Buona festa del ringraziamento e buon appetito!

                                            1. re: ChiliDude

                                              Auguri di Santo Svegeno. (See today's Italian Notebook blog.)

                                            2. re: chileheadmike

                                              Me too. I boil the bones down, pick off all the remaining meat, and then save both for gumbo. I keep rendered duck fat in my fridge for the roux, as well. It's easily the best part about thanksgiving leftovers in my house. :)

                                            3. I also make stock out of mine and then can it.

                                              1. I think a cooked carcass will make a decent but not extraordinary broth but it won't be stock. I really never make broth, always stock, but if I did I'd use uncooked parts like wings and backs. When I make stock I use those along with feet and necks. I just don't think that a cooked carcass has enough of anything left to make it really all that great. Just me.

                                                28 Replies
                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                  Most chefs I know only make stock from roasted bones. I tend to do so myself, and if I only have raw I will roast in the oven first. Roasting brings out much more flavor in the end result.

                                                  1. re: coll

                                                    Are you talking poultry or non-poultry? I'd forgotten that a couple of times I have made chicken stock. I put a whole chicken in the slow cooker and when the breast tests done, I'll pull the meat off and continue to cook.

                                                  2. re: c oliver

                                                    c o, I throw all the roasted skin, bones, wing edges, etc into the pot, and cook it down for hours. The chilled broth, or stock, whatever it is, becomes a solid mass of gel. It makes the best turkey soup ever.

                                                    1. re: kitchengardengal

                                                      KitchenGardenGal - I want to verify - all of these parts go into the crockpot and that's how you get your stock? That would be awesome!

                                                      I'm usually at a loss with the carcass and after throwing it into the freezer "for later" it usually gets tossed. I could do this method the very next day if I had more info.

                                                      1. re: JerryMe

                                                        JerryMe, I second what KGG said (and Chilidude). You can also add carrots, onions, celery if you choose. Even without veggies you will get a great stock.

                                                        Break up the carcass to fit into your crockpot, cover with water, add veggies if desired, and simmer for 6-12 hrs, drain and strain. Do it this year! You will be happy. :)

                                                        1. re: DuchessNukem

                                                          Even better: If you have a pressure cooker, pop everything in there, bring it up to high pressure, and give it 90 minutes. Perfect stock, much less waiting time, and much less smell in the house.

                                                            1. re: magiesmom

                                                              Absolutely agree. The fragrance of turkey (or chicken) soup simmering is intoxicating.

                                                        2. re: JerryMe

                                                          JerryMe, I just use a big soup pot. My crock pot's not big enough for all this. While DH does the dishes, I sit at the counter and pick the carcass apart. Everything goes in the pot right away. I leave it to simmer for the evening, turn it off before we go to bed, leave it there on the stove, and drain and strain it in the morning.

                                                          I include a couple each of carrots, celery and one big onion, a bay leaf, some dill and thyme. All the turkey parts that are too dry or brown or gristly, plus all the bones and skin go in. No salt - that goes in whatever dish I turn the stock into. All the drippings and crusty bits from the pan that weren't used for gravy go in, too.

                                                          While the turkey roasts, I start the stock with the neck and giblets (no liver - that goes in the stuffing), carrot, onion and celery, herbs,etc. and about 3 or 4 cups of water. Half of that broth, after it's simmered for several hours goes into the gravy, the rest starts the big stock pot.

                                                          I'd love to hear your results. Turkey stock is so much more flavorful than chicken stock. I think you'll be pleased.

                                                          1. re: kitchengardengal

                                                            Thanks for the advice and your confidence - skin, bones went into the crockpot on low with no other liquid. Because of other obligations, it had to sit there for over 12 hours but the results were quick cooled and were put in the frig. There's turkey noodle soup coming up on the very near horizon and I don't feel so intimidated using this method.

                                                            Thank you!

                                                            1. re: JerryMe

                                                              JerryMe, did you put water in the pot?

                                                              Glad to have helped. I would rather have turkey stock than chicken stock any day of the week.

                                                          2. re: JerryMe

                                                            I've done it both slow cooker and stock pot. I like the crock pot for the set and forget properties, but I can stick the stock pot in my 20 degree garage and save the fridge space.

                                                            It makes me feel less bad about not picking every last minute scrap of meat off the carcass since it will get used in it's next "food life" so to speak. And then it usually gets reduced down to fill a cleaned Cool whip container (BIL is addicted) and right into the freezer. I write the re-hydration ratio (how many quarts I started with) on the lid so I know the strength for later

                                                            1. re: autumm

                                                              I love my life in Los Angeles but MAN I miss the 20 degree midwestern garage. So darn handy.

                                                          3. re: kitchengardengal

                                                            Sounds good to me!

                                                            Buona festa del ringraziamento e buon appetito!

                                                            1. re: kitchengardengal

                                                              This is pretty much what we do ever year, on Sunday night, after picking the carcass clean. We add onions, carrots, and celery to the pot, and season with salt, pepper, poultry seasoning, and sage. And, like you, the result after it is refrigerated is a solid gel. It usually gets consumed as turkey noodle soup for lunch or a lazy dinner the following week, adding back into the soup some of the bits of turkey that were picked off the carcass.

                                                                1. re: masha

                                                                  In disregard of all family tradition, DH decided to make the turkey broth tonight rather than waiting until Sunday. It's smelling pretty fragrant right now. I can sense there is turkey noodle soup for lunch tomorrow.

                                                                2. re: kitchengardengal

                                                                  Same here. I remove the meat and save, then put everything remaining into the pot for broth.Any meat remaining after the carcass is cooked goes to the mutts.

                                                                3. re: c oliver

                                                                  Call it what you wish just as long as it isn't discarded.

                                                                  1. re: ChiliDude

                                                                    I haven't cooked a turkey in about five years and honestly can't remember what I did with the carcass. When I do a Zuni roast chicken I just toss the bones. As I said to (sorta) to each his/her own. I also put NO seasonings/aromatics/whatever in when I make stock. That way I can take it in any flavor direction I choose. Learned that from Sam F and other CHs.

                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                      I cook up my roast chicken carcass, skin and drippings the same way.

                                                                      Whether it's turkey or chicken, I always use the bay leaf, dill and thyme. Those don't add too much herbiness, but they round out the flavor nicely. Then I can use the stock for any Italian or Mexican style or whatever kind of soup sounds good.

                                                                      1. re: kitchengardengal

                                                                        Yep I do it with every roasted chicken carcass too. I don't add spices but I do add aromatics. Then I can it.

                                                                        1. re: kitchengardengal

                                                                          I frequently use my stock in Asian dishes so just want a blank canvas.

                                                                    2. re: c oliver

                                                                      Just looked up the definition of broth. The definition was soup made from stock.

                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                          I agree that a raw carcass or bones, roasted alone, sans meat, makes a 'better' stock/broth.
                                                                          The point is that meat or poultry cooked on the bone tastes better because the bones give up flavor to the meat. Leaving less flavor in the bones. But the bones only cooked for an hour or so, if that, in the bird by the time the temperature got up only to 180F.

                                                                          Less flavor isn't the same as no flavor though.

                                                                          A good two to three hours of simmering, to extract all the goodness, collagen, etc., from the bones, still makes a very good stock/broth. Adding a raw wing or leg or two, does help.

                                                                          And the rotisserie chickens we buy are served off the bone, so we can boil the bones for that roasted chicken broth/stock we all adore so much. And a chicken back or two saved in the freezer added to this also helps.

                                                                          As an aside, there is never any roasted poultry skin left over to add to the stock/broth though. It is usually picked off by the time the meal is served. ;-)

                                                                        2. there's an article about this in todays ny times food section.

                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                              1. re: DuchessNukem

                                                                                Thanks, Duchess. That really does look like a good soup base. I wouldn't mind taking part of my stock and working these ingredients in.

                                                                                What would go with a turkey-wine base? Kale, yes. Pasta? I'm not sure. Beans or rice? I am pretty good at winging it with any recipe, but this one is stumping me.

                                                                            1. re: dock

                                                                              I'll look for it. Thanks!

                                                                              I found it. I don't add seasoning to the stock until I use it because I'm absentminded and would forget what I put in it.

                                                                              Buona festa del ringraziamento!

                                                                              1. re: ChiliDude

                                                                                My (poultry) stocks get simmered with whatever's in the stock-bag in the freezer. Then I label the resultant freezer baggies appropriately: "ginger chix" "fatty chix" "veggie/chix" "herby chix" "hot wing stock" "thin stock" etc., so I know how to use them later.