At a reader’s request I’m reposting on how to make perfect stock, by slow cooking it in the oven. It’s a very low-maintenance, easy way to make stock—just stick it in a low oven and forget about it. I’d meant to post on Friday but the weekend has gotten away from me, and now most people have either discarded their carcass (sadly) or put it to use. But there may be a carcass or two hanging around. Also, since this method works with a chicken carcass as well, any time of the year, and because Pierre sent me two turkey illustrations, better late than never! (Pierre has just published a funny, fun, thoroughly unique cookbook, called Kitchen Scraps: A Humorous Illustrated Cookbook. Congrats Pierre, excellent work!)
Turkey Stock: Oven Method
Put all the turkey bones in a pot. The more meat left on them the more flavor your stock will have. You may want to break them apart so that they fit more efficiently in the pot. Cover them with an inch or two of water. Put the pot in the oven and turn the oven to below 200 degrees (180 degrees is best). Leave them in the oven, uncovered, for at least 8 hours and as many as 16 (I don’t think you can over cook this stuff; beef bones, you can, the stock can get overly boney). If you have an enormous pot of water and bones, you may want to leave bring it to a simmer, and then put it in the oven. Remove the stock from the oven and add to the pot:
2 large Spanish onions, cut up
4 large carrots, cut up
4 bay leaves
1 tablespoon pepper corns, cracked with a s saute pan (optional)
5 or 6 cloves of garlic (optional)
2 tablespoons tomato paste (optional)
several sprigs fresh parsley and thyme (optional)
Bring to a simmer on the stove top, then turn the burner to low and cook for an hour on the stove top, or return the pot to the oven for a few more hours.
Strain the stock through a fine mesh strainer or once through any kind of strainer, then again through kitchen cloth. Chill, remove the fat from the top. Freeze in pint deli cups. Or make the following very easy soup!
Turkey and Leek Soup
This is a simple soup that shows how easy good food is when you have some fresh stock around. Leeks make everything better! Use the leek tops in your stock if you have them; use only white and pale green part of the leek in your soup.
3 or 4 leeks well-cleaned root end and dark leaves discarded, halved and cut into half-slices.
2 tablespoons butter
Salt to taste
6 cups turkey stock
2 cups left over turkey, shredded or cut into bite-sized pieces
2 cups croutons (preferable homemade, sauteed in butter or olive oil till crispy)
Saute the leeks in butter over medium low heat until very tender, 30 to 45 minutes. Season them with a three finger pinch of salt (or two). Add the stock and bring to a simmer. Add the turkey and bring it back to a simmer. Serve garnished with croutons.
Serves 4 to 6