Save time after your holiday meals by prepping your turkey stock ingredients beforehand. You’ll save motions and make stock-making so much easier.
Everybody knows that homemade chicken or turkey stock is tastier than the can. And it’s a frugal way to stretch your original purchase of fowl.
After all, making turkey stock is practically free! Just load a pot — or even a slow cooker — with the leftover bones and drippings as well as some vegetables, aromatics, and water. Simmer and in a few hours you’ll have liquid gold.
Sounds beautiful, doesn’t it?
Well, let’s turn off the Martha Stewart Special and talk turkey, shall we?
The truth of the matter is this: Turkey is generally saved for special occasions, ie. Thanksgiving and Christmas. On these particular feast days, there are a lot of bells and whistles to prepare.
All the side dishes! the desserts! the fancy tablescapes!
Who in their right mind has any energy left after it’s all done to lug out the ingredients to cook something else (that turkey stock) — even if it IS practically free?!
In years past, I’ve done one of the following things:
- hidden the whole affair deep in the refrigerator in the hopes my energy will return.
- stashed it in a freezer bag in the freezer for another time.
- or chucked it all in the trash due to exasperation!
Except for last year. Last year, I had a revelation. It just may have been a divine revelation. It is that important.
I was chopping celery and onions for my very favorite stuffing and realized:
These are turkey stock ingredients.
Why would I want to haul out the cutting board and the knife and mess with all this after Thanksgiving Dinner when I could do that prep work NOW?!
When I say this has been a GAME CHANGER, I’m not exaggerating. I’ve never read this anywhere before and I wonder why in the world I haven’t heard about this before. I’ve been cooking turkeys for well over 20 years and no one ever told me to ….
Prep your Turkey Stock Ingredients in advance.
So, now I’m telling YOU. Call it a little love and friendship.
As you go about preparing your roast turkey — or even roast chicken on a regular night — put aside a quartered onion, some celery and carrot sticks, and whatever other turkey stock ingredients are your faves. Box it up and stash it in the fridge until after dinner.
Then, after dinner, as you’re cleaning things up, drop the turkey stock ingredients and the leftover bones, skin, and drippings into a pot of water, a slow cooker, or even a pressure cooker. Simmer for several hours, and voila! You will have beautiful homemade turkey stock.
Only, none of this really takes any extra work, so it does, indeed, feel like you made something from nothing!
What can you use for turkey stock ingredients?
In addition to the turkey bones, drippings, and other bits from a roast turkey, there are a number of different turkey stock ingredients that you can mix and match. Think about how you want to use the turkey stock later and match that flavor profile.
You can add these ingredients to your turkey stock:
- bell pepper
- fresh or dried herbs like parsley, thyme, sage, rosemary, basil
- dry bay leaves
- dried chiles
- fresh ginger
- white wine
- apple cider vinegar
How long does turkey stock need to cook?
In a pot on the stove: simmer at least 2 to 3 hours
In a slow cooker: from 6 to 24 hours on low
In a pressure cooker: 60 minutes on high pressure with natural release
How can I store turkey stock?
Store homemade turkey stock in covered containers in the fridge for up to 4 days.
For making it ahead, freeze in freezer-safe containers, leaving room for expansion. Freezing your stock will then make for a quick weeknight soup.
Since stock is mostly water, it can take up a lot of space in the freezer. To save space, you can reduce it by simmering for an hour or so. The stock will become more concentrated and less in volume. You can dilute it with water later when you use it.
What do you use turkey stock in?
You can use homemade turkey stock in recipes calling for chicken stock, such as the following:
- Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup
- Simple Brown Rice Pilaf Recipe
- How to Make Basic Gravy Easily
- Homemade Cream of Chicken Soup for Cooking
- Easy Lasagne with Fresh Basil and Chives
- Mushroom & Tarragon Dressing
What do YOU do to make the most of your Thanksgiving prep?
Head to the comments section and let’s chat!