I’m sure there many people who still have their turkey carcass with a little meat on it sitting in their fridge after Thanksgiving last week. Mine was there until yesterday afternoon when I cut off as much meat as I could. Then I made a basic turkey stock with the carcass.

If you’ve never made basic stock before, it’s very easy. Here’s what to do.

  1. Put the carcass in a large pot.
  2. Cover the carcass completely with water.
  3. Add carrots, celery, onion and two bay leaves.
  4. Bring to a boil, then turn down to simmer and allow to simmer on the stove top for 2 hours.
  5. Pull out carcass with tongs, then strain the broth with finest sieve you have.
  6. Pick through the carcass and what is in the sieve for good meat. I got about another cup and half of turkey that had been in nooks and crannies that I couldn’t get to with my knife. After two hours in the pot, however, it fell right off the bones.
  7. Discard the vegetables and bones.
  8. You should end up with something that looks like this picture:

Some advice/things to keep in mind:
  • Notice I didn’t add any salt, pepper or other seasonings (except the bay leaf). You can add them while making stock, but I prefer to add them when I turn the stock into soup or whatever else I’m using it for.
  • Some people put cheesecloth in their sieve to get their stock completely free of small pieces. I don’t mind the little pieces, but it’s one method that some people use.
  • You can use vegetables past their prime to make stock. I used the smaller pieces of celery that usually don’t get used, some older mini carrots that had gotten dried out in the fridge, and half an onion that I’d cut open sometime last week (plus one whole new onion).
  • Unless you’ve got a lot of freezer room, plan on using the stock sooner rather than later. I don’t have enough room in my freezer to keep stock so I’ll be making turkey soup tonight.
  • Turkey tends to dry out in the freezer. If you have leftover turkey that you want to freeze, take a little of the stock and pour it over the turkey before you freeze it. It will help keep the turkey moist.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Making basic turkey stock
Got a leftover turkey carcass? Don't throw it out until you've gotten all the goodness out of it by making stock. It's a lot easier than you might think.