Post-Holiday Pick-Me-Up

The holiday is over. You’re sick of your guests, and all that’s left is an extra 10 pounds on your rear end — and a turkey carcass. Whatever shall you do?

Answer: Make stock!

Why? 1) Because waste (especially of meat products) is a cardinal sin; 2) it’s SO EASY; and 3) because next time you make a recipe that calls for stock, you are SET (and it’s sooooo much more flavorful than the stuff you buy in cartons). On that note, I was forever using that stuff and refused to believe that it made *that* much difference, but I have since learned the error of my ways. And you can make stock from turkey, chicken, ham or whatever, plus the veggies in your fridge’s crisper (or more aptly named: the rotter).

Super Simple Stock:

  • Whatever carcass you have on hand (use the whole thing: bones, meat — I omit skin because it’s fatty and adds more gunk to scrape off — more on that in a minute)
  • 2 celery ribs, cut into 1-2” pieces
  • 1 carrot, cut into 1” pieces
  • 1 onion, coarsely chunked
  • 1 bunch of parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon of peppercorns
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Water

Put your carcass in a large stockpot and cover with water (8-12 cups). Add remaining ingredients, except salt & pepper. Bring to a boil, then simmer, covered for at least 2 hours but ideally a good 4, as the longer you let it simmer away, the more flavorful it will become. If your stock boils down too quickly or looks like it needs more liquid, go ahead and add it. You won’t hurt a thing, and you’ll get a bigger payoff in the end. Add salt & pepper to taste. Let the whole thing cool, strain the solids, then store in the fridge overnight. The next day, scrape off the layer of fat that may rise to the top (or might not, if it wasn’t too fatty in the first place). Use in a recipe, or freeze for later.

On that note, one of the best investments ever is a large free-standing freezer. And I can’t even take credit for that genius idea. It was my husband’s grandmother who insisted on buying us this thing as a wedding gift. As a young bride, I couldn’t think of anything more unnecessary, but whatever. I don’t argue with grandmothers, especially this one. How wrong I was! This thing allows me to make double batches of everything (a sanity saver when I simply do not have the wherewithal to make dinner), stock up on ice cream when it’s on sale (which invites judgy looks from the grocery checkout folks), and store loads of homemade stock 🙂

And if you need recipe inspiration for how to use this liquid gold, here’s a favorite in our house: https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/old-fashioned-chicken-noodle-soup-5748

4 thoughts on “Post-Holiday Pick-Me-Up”

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