If you've ever cooked a turkey for Thanksgiving, you know it's no small task. There's high expectations, high food costs and a general desire to cook the most perfect turkey anyone's ever tasted. I fell into this turkey anxiety a few years ago when I hosted my first Thanksgiving.
The bird was heritage (aka wildly expensive), the brine was complicated and I had an oven that ran 70F above reading temp (which I didn't find out until months later). In a panic on Thanksgiving day, I ended up rubbing the bird down with herb salt (rendering the bird way too salty after it's 36hr brine), and burning the breasts on the first round of "high temp" cooking, before cooking it too long on low, effectively drying it out. It was over salted, slightly burnt and dry. Literally the three worst things that could happen.
We ended up laughing about it, and enjoyed our salty, dry turkey along with a table full of other delicious food and used it as a lesson in thankfulness. What really mattered was that we were all together, happy and healthy, eating a bounty of nutritious food under one roof.
Having put so much time and energy into the darn bird, I was determined to get as much out of it as possible, by using all of the bones and bits for a turkey bone broth. I wanted to share this recipe with you this week to encourage you to get the most out of your turkey, too. After all, you deserve it!
Bones of 1 whole turkey
Enough water to cover bones
3 tbs apple cider vinegar
3 celery stalks, cut in thirds
2 carrots, cut in thirds
1 large onion, skin-on, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, skin-on, cut in half
1 small shallot, skin-on, cut in half
2in piece of kombu seaweed
1 bay leaf
Sprig of fresh herbs (rosemary + sage are nice)
Sea salt to taste
Stainless steel stock pot
Glass mason jars for storage
Place turkey bones in large stainless steel (NOT aluminum) stock pot. Be sure to include any and all bits, pieces and skin left over from the carving. Add vinegar and only enough water to cover bones by a few inches (this will give you a condensed stock that’s more likely to gel). Bring to a boil and remove scum that rises to the top. Reduce heat, cover, leaving lid ajar and simmer for 6-8 hours. Often an overnight simmer is most time efficient. The longer you cook the broth, the richer and more flavorful it will be. Strain broth from bones and prepare veggies to be used for seasoning.
Broth Baby Double Boil Method (Optional):
If you want to extract more minerals and gelatin, you can do second boil on the same bones with fresh water and more vinegar for another 6-8 hours (this is how we do it at Broth Baby!). Start by straining this “1st boil” off and into large glass jars to chill, while you refill the pot with more water and vinegar. This is the “2nd boil”. Bring to a boil, skim and reduce to simmer for another 6-8hrs. When 2nd boil is finished, strain broth into more glass containers and let chill while you remove the bones and clean the stock pot. Then combine the 1st and 2nd boil to the same stock pot for seasoning.
Bring the broth back to a simmer and add veggies, seaweed and bay leaf. Simmer for 1 hour. If using fresh herbs, add them for only 15 minutes at the end to reduce the chance of their flavor becoming bitter. Remove herbs and veggies with a slotted spoon, or strain over a metal strainer. Stir in sea salt to taste.
Portion into jars for storage. Chill on the counter before putting in the fridge. Broth that has fat settled on top of it can keep in the fridge for over a month (the fat layer helps to preserve the broth). You can also freeze the broth, but make sure to leave some room from the top of the jar and leave lid on loosely to avoid cracking. If using broth exclusively for drinking, scoop off the hardened fat that rises once broth is chilled, and store in a separate container for cooking. This hardened, skimmed fat can be used just like butter. Enjoy!