Thursday, November 28, 2013

turkey broth

So now you have turkey carcass and the whole time you were probably thinking so why not just bake an ostrich already and get over the large bird fetish once and for all, or perhaps three or four roasted chickens from Sam's Club will probably do as well for next year, but what is to be done with that large ugly dead bird now that you've picked it apart like vultures?

For years I saw my mum throw those away. For years I saw her start the bird cooking on extreme low overnight. Then one holiday in Breckenridge a friend cooked a brined turkey rapidly and it was the most tender turkey I ever had. It has not been surpassed. When the white meat is cut it folds, that is how tender and moist it is. So I asked Mum, "Why do you bake it so slowly?"

"So it comes out nice and moist."

It does not come out nice and moist. She thinks it does but it does not. "what would happen if you cooked it fast?"

"I don't know. Never tried it."

She does not care for cooking all that much so the idea of doing it fast is automatically appealing, anything faster is better, she tried it and for the first time ever her turkey was not completely dried out.

But she still throws away the carcass. Gets rid of it quickly as possible. Neither her nor Dad ever did know the very best broth you can have comes from those bones.

Here's how.

Break all the large bones with pliers to expose marrow. Include all the junk and scraps. Spread out in a baking tray and roast until darkened. Douse with liquid to lift off everything stuck on the tray. Place roasted bones into a large pot, largest you've got. Add water to cover. Add a few bay leafs, whole onion cut in half, full garlic bulb cut in half, celery stalks, carrot chunks, peppercorns, salt.


Strain  with colander all the bones and junk wrap in plastic bags discard.

Strain with fine mesh strainer to catch small exhausted particles.

Chill. Best in a tall container.

Remove cap of fat that forms from chilling. Determine how much of that you want to save. If the remaining layer is solid gelatin then you win the turkey broth blue ribbon first prize and the admiration of your peers.

If there is a layer of gelatin and then a liquid layer, don't worry, there is hope for you next time. It means there was not so much marrow captured from the roasting and boiling. Mix both layers to reheat for even distribution.


ampersand said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chip Ahoy said...

I'm going to try that.

john said...


Fr Martin Fox said...


Thanks for this. I've always just boiled the bones--well, chicken bones--then cooled them, broke them (after softened), and then cooked them some more.

What is the advantage, do you think, of roasting the bones further before putting in the water?

MamaM said...

Brined turkey (thanks to Alton Brown) on the grill for 2 and 1/2 hours this year, smoked with moistened Apple and Jack Daniel's flavored wood chips and it was The Tenderest, Most Delicious Turkey Ever.

Yes to fast cooking!

Michael Haz said...

Thanks, Chip. I have never done the roasting step, don't know why because I always roast beef bones before making beef stock.

If I'm feeling especially chef-y, I'll dig out the Escoffier recipe for clear broth and add a few steps to the process.

deborah said...

Father Fox, I think roasting, in general, is a flavor enhancer. Just like baking a fully cooked ham makes all the difference in flavor. Or a pie crust or piece of toast browned just right.

Chip Ahoy said...

Fr Fox, sorry for delay, the advantage is more flavor. Maillard reaction upon the bones directly. And upon the marrow directly. Beef bones actually seep marrow onto the tray where it tends to burn, lifted off, those tiny burnt granules impart a great deal of flavor. French onion soup is all about tiny burnt bits of bone marrow. A bit disconcerting, actually, when you have the real dealio, something peasants think of

I get peasants and pheasants mixed up, one or the other does this burnt bone marrow thing. I saw all this on Julia Child show a long time ago.

The proteins undergo a series of reactions depending on the degree of heat and the duration, layer upon layer of flavor ever more complex

So chicken + Maillard reaction = increased levels and complexity of flavors and deeper color.

I read that in a book!
On Food and Cooking, Harold McGee.

Fr Martin Fox said...


Thanks! I'll try it!