Want killer -figuratively, you do keep a sanitary kitchen, right?- dressing, gravy, or mashed potatoes? The secret is in the stock. Before Tom the turkey heads into the oven (or deep fat fryer, just sayin’), remove the neck from the cavity and fearlessly reach up under the neck flap and pull out the bag -o- mysterious bits known as giblets. Don’t worry, we’re not going to chow down on the giblets themselves, we are going to extract the good stuff they bring to the table. Well, except the liver, if you really want to add that to your dressing, that’s your deal, not mine, just don’t tell me about it.
The ratios I’m giving are for 1 turkey, double everything if you cook two.
Tools needed: large pot, colander, large bowl
Nice to have: Cheese cloth, skimmer
- 1 turkey neck (or 1 lb chicken bones / pieces)
- contents of the giblet bag, except the liver (that’s the slimy squishy one), optional
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 6 peppercorns
- 1 large carrot, scrubbed and cut into chunks
- 2 ribs celery, washed, cut into chunks, with the leaves
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 onion peeled, washed, and cut into quarters
- 6 cups of COLD water
Turn the heat to medium high and bring to a full boil.
Remove the pot from the heat and pour through 2 layers of cheese cloth, if you don’t have cheese cloth, a seive, strainer or colander will work into your large bowl. You may need to scoop out any bits. For even better stock, gather the corners of the cheese cloth and form a sack. Give it a few minutes to cool off enough to handle, then squeeze every last drop into your large bowl.
Set the stock aside for a moment and scrub out your pot. Whee! That’s fun, isn’t it?
Pour the stock back into the clean pot, bring to a steady simmer (not a roiling boil, but not a few random bubbles) and let the stock cook down until it is half of its original volume.
If you had one turkey, you now have 3 cups of awesome stock to use in your dressing, your gravy, or your mashed potatoes.
After the meal is over, don’t throw out the turkey’s bones. Repeat the same process, with enough water to cover all the bones, use the ratio above to the amount of water used (ie if you use 3 quarts -that’s 12 cups- double the ingredients). Follow the same process and you have the base for an amazing batch of turkey soup for the leftover / picked over bits of turkey.
Alternately cool then freeze in one cup portions for future recipes.
I also use this instead of Better Than Bouillon and water for turkey or chicken noodle soup.