Monday, February 19, 2007

Project Freezerburn: Crock Pot Turkey Stock

So this turkey carcass has been burning a hole in my freezer since November. Every time I opened the freezer door there it was, in the way, falling out every time I tried to find something. I've been wanting to make some stock with it, but have been challenged to find the time to set it on the stove in a pot of water and let it simmer all day.

Saturday morning I decided to do something about it. It occurred to me that the crockpot might be the answer to the problem of how I can let it cook all day without having to be in the apartment the whole time monitoring it. So as soon as I got up I went online and googled "turkey stock crock pot" and got lucky with the first entry, which sent me to Recipezaar and a recipe from Pets'R'us.

What I like about the recipe is that it is more like a set of guidelines than a specific recipe. I pulled out the turkey carcass, which included the drumsticks and wings, all of which had substantial amounts of meat on them. I followed Pets'R'us's suggestion not to peel the onions since I had some yellow ones with really nice tight skins on them. I didn't have any celery but I didn't worry too much about that. I used the bay leaves and the peppercorns. I don't think it needed anything else.

The instructions said to leave the pot on low for 12 to 24 hours. I turned the crockpot off after 12 hours - as you can see, the stock was rich and thick and the vegetables pretty much cooked out. The meat was falling off the bone. I didn't want to let it go too much longer because there was a lot of meat on those bones and I wanted to be able to use it so I didn't want to cook all the flavor out of it. Turkey stock is too strong to me to want to use it with anything but turkey, unlike chicken stock, which to me is somewhat universal, so I wanted to be sure to have enough turkey meat for the stock..
I pulled the bones, meat and vegetables out of the pot and then strained the stock into two large containers. I put them in the refrigerator overnight, and then on Sunday I skimmed off the fat (there wasn't a lot of it considering the amount of skin still left on the wings), brought it back up to a boil, then froze a quart of it and left about 1-1/2 cups out to use right away.

That's it in the picture up there. I am so pleased to have found this method for making stock - it's rich and thick and full of flavor. I already have one chicken carcass in the fridge from my disappointing Roasted Chicken with Lemons and Thyme. I can't wait to collect some more so I can make some chicken stock. If you don't have a crock pot, this alone would be a very good reason to get one.

I still have some dark meat turkey in the freezer so I think I'll make some more turkey soup with the stock I froze. And finally, for the breast half that's all that's left, I have some of the really rich stock from when I originally roasted the turkey that I think would make an incredible mole to go with it.
Crock Pot Chicken or Turkey Stock

Makes 6-7 cups

3 to 4 lbs chicken bones (raw or cooked, boiling fowl or chicken or carcasses)
onions, chopped or quartered, leave the skin on it gives nice color to the stock
celery, chopped
carrots, chopped
1 small leek, chopped
salt to taste
10 black peppercorns, or to taste
2 to 3 garlic cloves, peeled
3 bay leaves
some parsley sprigs
boiling water

Preheat the crock-pot on high.

Try breaking up the bones as small as possible, place with all the other ingredients in the crock-pot.

Cover with as much boiling water as your crock-pot can take.

Switch crockpot setting to low and cook for 12 to 24 hours.

Strain, cool, skim of the fat, use the stock or freeze.

If there is any meat on the bones, remove it and use for the soup or other dishes, it will be also good for a ragout.

Recipe from Pets'R'us at

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