Don't Throw Away That Thanksgiving Turkey Carcass, Make Stock Instead

Chicken stock in white bowl
Chicken stock in white bowl - Alleko/Getty Images

While most people love a deliciously homemade Thanksgiving feast, some live for the ample leftovers. After spending hours preparing bowls of potatoes, green bean casserole, and several festive desserts, you have a few precious days after the November holiday to savor your hard work thanks to the (typically overwhelming) amount of uneaten extras. Next to crafting the ultimate Thanksgiving leftover sandwich, what are you supposed to do with all the odds and ends of that giant holiday turkey?

If you usually spend year after year feeling guilty for throwing away that picked-over turkey carcass, you can set yourself up for next year's feast or this season's winter soups by whipping up some homemade turkey stock. If you've never made your own turkey stock, rest assured that leftover turkey bones are perfect for the job. Stock is a rich and flavorful liquid comprised of many different foods simmered in a pot of water. Turkey bones (even after being roasted in the oven) still have rich collagen throughout their inner fibers, making for a velvety, nutritious stock for many meals to come. With minimal prep work, you can easily prepare a large batch of turkey stock with just a few simple steps.

Read more: 15 Tricks For Making The Most Crispy Chicken Thighs Ever

How To Make Homemade Turkey Stock With Leftover Turkey Bones

Picked over turkey carcass
Picked over turkey carcass - Joseph Thomas Photography/Shutterstock

To make turkey stock, all you need is a leftover turkey carcass, some chopped veggies, dried herbs, and water. Once you've sautéed the onions, carrots, and celery, add your leftover turkey bones and any interior parts you didn't use for your Thanksgiving feast. For many home chefs, this includes the turkey's liver or neck. Allow the turkey leftovers to cook with the vegetables and your favorite blend of herbs for up to 10 minutes before covering all the ingredients with water. Allow stock to simmer for up to five hours, skimming off any fat intermittently throughout the cooking time. Once finished, you can strain the solid ingredients, including those savory leftover bones.

The best way to set yourself up for success when planning to make turkey stock after the holiday is to gather some of the essential ingredients while you prepare your Thanksgiving feast. As you chop your onions, carrots, and celery for homemade stuffing, cut some extra or save the clean ends for stock, storing them in a sealable container or plastic bag in your refrigerator until you're ready to use. This will help the stock-making process seem less daunting. Now that you know the basics of making turkey stock, there are a few ways to level up the flavor.

Useful Ways To Add More Flavor To Homemade Turkey Stock

Pot with chicken stock and ladle
Pot with chicken stock and ladle - Ahanov Michael/Shutterstock

Before you use this newfound liquid to make a delicious batch of turkey noodle soup, there are a few ways you can add more complexity to homemade stock. Give your leftover turkey bones some more time in the oven. They will develop a distinct savoriness that adds depth to your stock. Additionally, any fat that cooks down and pools at the bottom of the roasting pan can be added to the stock, as well. You can also add a spoonful of tomato paste to your pot after all the stock ingredients have been added for an additional touch of rich flavor.

Be sure to watch the level of seasoning you add when using a leftover carcass. Since you've already seasoned your beloved bird with ample herbs and salt, use a light hand and taste as you go. Now that you know how to utilize every part of your next Thanksgiving turkey, enjoy the festivities and get ready to savor that delicious turkey essence in your favorite soups and stews this coming winter.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.