Turkey Stock and Soup
Contrary to popular tradition, I carved my Thanksgiving turkey on Tuesday. I carved the breasts from the bone and separated the wings, legs, and thighs at the joints. My Thanksgiving turkey was cooked two different ways: a rolled breast roast I saw on serious eats and a faux sous vide method for the legs and thighs.
All of this freed my turkey carcass up for stock. I roughly hacked the turkey bones into hunks that were around 4″. I hacked my way through any large bones to expose them to the simmering water. I also deboned the turkey thighs and chopped these bones in half. I then threw them in my largest stock pot and covered them with water. I brought this water up to a very slow simmer and left it there for 90 minutes or so.
After 90 minutes I added to this stock: 2 each: roughly chopped carrot and celery stalks, almost 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns, 2 small branches each of thyme and tarragon, 2 garlic cloves, lightly smashed with the side of a knife. I also added one large leek, I cut off most of the green and then cut it lengthwise to rinse out any dirt between the layers. All of this I left in the pot to simmer for a good hour. (good because it smelled amazing). I skimmed any weird foam off of of the top of this stock with a tea strainer. I also use the steaming basket that came with my stock pot sitting on top to keep the stock contents below the surface of the water.
After the ingredients had given up as much as they could, I strained the stock and brought it to a boil to cook it down to around a half gallon. I poured my stock into two quart mason jars. Any leftover I drank and it was fantastic. It took willpower to not drink the rest.
One of my mason jars went into stuffing and gravy. The other was reserved for soup. The stock had formed a thin layer of fat on the top. I had to break this up with a spoon and strain it out of the stock. I put this fat in the bottom of my stock pot with a tablespoon of butter. To this I added 1 leek cut small. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon kosher salt over your leeps. I let that soften a little and then add 1 white yam, diced small, I had a white yam on hand, you could also use a sweet potato. Add 2 carrots and 2 celery stalks, both diced small. Finally I smashed and roughly minced 2 garlic cloves and stirred them in. Keep this mixture on low and stir frequently until it is all soft. You want to make sure it doesn’t brown and get bitter on you. If it does, it isn’t the end of the world.
At this point you can pour in your stock. I also added some boxed chicken stock I had on hand. Eventually I also added some water to bring the soup up to the volume I wanted. I added to my soup a small bunch of tarragon and thyme because I had them on hand. You could also use rosemary, sage or a bay leaf. I would only choose two of these and keep the amounts small. What really puts this soup over the top though is a nice cheese rind. Anything from a hard cheese, parmesan or asiago work really well. Just cut off the cheese rind in one large chunk and toss it in the pot. Finally, roughly chop a small handful parsley and toss into the soup.
Let all of this simmer in your pot for a few minutes. Test it for flavor and add some salt and pepper if needed (at least a bit probably will be). At this point you can chop up any turkey leftovers and toss them in. You can even add skin bits, just make sure you dice them small. Now it is time to let the soup sit and slowly simmer. I would let it go for at least 30 minutes, 90 would be better. Half cover the pot with the lid, leaving a gap for some steam to escape.
My original idea for this soup was thick and chunky noodles. Basically well-shaped dumplings. Instead I decided to just do spooned-in dumplings. I’m glad we did, they were fantastic. I based my method on this Bobby Flay recipe on Food Network. Here goes:
Warm up 1 cup of milk and 1 stick of butter in a medium pot until it starts to boil. At this point, kill the heat and whisk in 1/2 tsp salt and nutmeg. 1/2 tsp of pre-ground nutmeg or far less if you’re shaving it fresh. I only did a couple scrapes on my microplane of a nutmeg nut and I felt it was a tad too nutmegy. Slowly whisk in 1 cup flour, you will probably need to change to a wooden spoon when it thickens into a dough. Let this sit a minute once it is fully incorporated. After it cools a second, beat in 3 eggs, one at a time. This dough will be sticky.
I found some greasy junk on top of my soup, so I scooped it out with the tea strainer. This took out most of the parsley but it had already added a lot of flavor. If you want more green, chop some more and add it while serving. My thought was that I didn’t want greasy dumplings. Spoon the dumpling batter into the simmering soup in 1-2tsp dollops. I found two spoons works best to get it into the pot. Let the dumplings cook for 20 minutes or until they are floating so high they want to come out of the soup.
EAT. This was one of my favorite soups that I’ve made… ever. It made a lot of soup, but between Erin and I it was gone by lunchtime the next day.