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The One Thing I Always Make the Day After Thanksgiving

By Ariel Knutson
November 22, 2020
Photo Credit: Nasos Zovoilis

On the day after Thanksgiving, some people look forward to leftover sandwiches piled high with stuffing and cranberry sauce, others enjoy sneaking a slice of pie for breakfast. Me? All I dream about is homemade stock.

I’m too lazy to make chicken stock after I roast a chicken, and while I usually have plenty of veggie scraps that I could turn into a stock, I end up just grabbing something pre-made at the grocery store. But when it comes to turkey, I will always, always go out of my way to make stock.

You see, turkey stock is in a different league than other homemade stocks. Rich and flavorful, it’s the secret ingredient you’ll be happy to find stashed away in your freezer after Thanksgiving is just a blip in your rearview mirror. Swapping out turkey stock for chicken stock makes every dish better. Noodle soup is somehow more comforting, congee becomes an even tastier breakfast.

That’s why, the morning after Thanksgiving, when I’m still too full to put on Real Clothes just yet (sweatsuits count though, right?), I’ll sneak down into the kitchen and take off as much meat as I can from the turkey carcass before making a long-simmering stock with the bones.

Try a recipe: Homemade Turkey Stock from Epicurious

turkey stock

Photo Credit: Epicurious

4 Tips for Making the Very Best Stock

1. Roast your bones and veggies: Before tossing your turkey bones into a stock pot, put them in the oven. Re-roasting your bones, according to Serious Eats, gives your stock “a deeper, more complex” taste. Make sure to deglaze the baking sheet you use to re-roast your bones on, too — there’s a lot of great flavor there that should be added to your stock. And while you’re at it: roast or brown the vegetables you’re going to use for the stock as well.

2. Add a glug of white wine and dried chilies: You don’t need much to make great turkey stock: just the bones, onions, carrots, celery, and some herbs like thyme or parsley are fine. But! According to the New York Times, two cups of white wine and some dried chilies add “a welcome breath of freshness” to the final product.

3. To concentrate the flavor, reduce the strained stock: If you want to make an even more flavorful stock, after you’ve strained out the bones and vegetables, put it back on the stove and continue to simmer until reduced by half.

4. Don’t forget the neck: In addition to the wings and legs, many people swear by including the neck for homemade turkey stock. It apparently enhances the flavor.

What to Make with Glorious, Homemade Turkey Stock

There are so many ways to use homemade turkey stock at home! Here are some of my favorites. Many of the below recipes indicate that you should use turkey stock, but if they ask for chicken stock, just swap it out.

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