making my own broth

I hate bones in my food.

They freak me out.

When I'm out to dinner, I scan the menu for dishes that might include the bone almost before anything. I will never forget my first buffalo chicken wing either. It was my senior year of college and I left an embarrassing amount of meat on the bone.

The issue with bones extends beyond your average chicken dish into lobster. When presented with a freshly cooked lobster, I start to sweat immediately. I'm probably going to laugh nervously and look around for the nicest person that I can get to crack that sucker open for me. It's embarrassing. The most recent event was over Labor Day this year in Maine. Meghan and I went to a spontaneous dinner party that graciously included lobster. My (and I like to think "our") plan was to sit next to each other and get her to just do all the big leg work ... you know crack the pieces apart. But then ... our gracious host indicated our seats ... and that put me not next to Meghan or even across from her ... but diagonal. Fail. I immediately started to sweat and smile nervously. It all worked out in the end ... but I clearly need to get over this.

With yesterday being Thanksgiving, I awoke this morning to a turkey carcass in the fridge. The little beast was just kicking in there slowly drying out more and more while I figured out what to do. Soup seemed like a natural choice and a great option. Plus, it presented the option to do something I had never done before .... MAKE MY OWN BROTH. I could have skipped this step but since it was all about the pilgrims and using what you have and being thankful .... it seemed silly to just toss these juicy flavorful bones in the trash and move on.
I stood in front of the aluminum pan for several minutes gently prodding the turkey for emotion before making any moves. I tried to get my sister to help. Fail. I tried to use a knife to separate the bones. Fail. I had to use my hands. It was a slow start but once I got going... it was a great challenge / project / cooking achievement. My mom asked me how this was all new to me given that we did dissections in high school biology. I might have burst her bubble a bit by divulging that I got the guy across the table from me to open up my frog, worm, and crawfish. Mr. Morely didn't seem to mind and I still got an A ... if only I had conquered my demons way back then.

I'll definitely be doing this again considering how easy it was. It's essentially babysitting a pot filled with flavorful leftovers ... that then turn into your next meal.

So this is essentially how it all goes down. 

(Step 1) Get your leftover turkey and two bowls and one pot. As I broke apart the turkey, I added any dark meat, skin, or bones to the pot. White meat that I would use for soup went into one of the bowls. I managed to find some stuffing deep inside the turkey so that went into the second bowl. 

(Step 2) Break apart as many of the bones as you can so they take up less room in the pot. When you have all the bones in the pot, add water to the point that I covers the bones / meat. As they cook, the bones will fall apart even more and sink or compress further into the pot.
(Step 3) Add in any flavoring you want to the pot. My parents house isn't stocked with spices and veggies galore so I added an onion that I quartered, some celery stalks, and peppercorns. If I had it, I would have added a bay leaf.
(Step 4) Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 3-4 hours. I cooked mine for 3 hours and then got too hungry to wait much longer. I would imagine this is very much a "longer is better" situation.

(Step 5) Strain the broth over a fine sieve before using. This is obvious but the meat and bones are crazy hot. So when you are transferring them from the sieve, they may melt the plastic bag you try to throw them out in. Lesson learned: double bag your stock bones and meat. Trust me, it'll be worth it.

(Step 6) There is a little bit of a film on the top of the stock after you are done with it. So I put it in the fridge to cool down so the film would harden ... and thus be easier to remove. It was a smart plan. 

According to some light googling, fresh broth will last in the fridge for 4 days but if you freeze it ... you can keep it for 60 days. My leftover turkey yielded about 10 cups turkey broth and I only used 6 cups immediately for a turkey soup ... so I've got a few extra in the fridge. 

I'm not sure what I'll do with it ... maybe a risotto ... but I like to think that since I made it from scratch, it'll be a million times better than what I could have bought in the store.

Plus, this whole process drove Gladys the family cat ca-ra-zy.

Shopping List
the rest of your turkey carcass
an onion
peppercorns (or pepper)
bay leaf
any leftover veggies (celery stalks / carrots / etc)

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