I'll admit that I use broth in a box throughout the year. It's not that I can't make my own stock. I absolutely can. It's just that usually I have no room in my fridge or freezer to horde chicken or turkey carcasses.
That changed. Our old little chest freezer gave up the ghost on us. We didn't realize it, and we lost a full freezer full of food. We bought a new chest freezer, however. I stocked up on several turkeys and turkey breasts. We don't eat turkey nearly enough throughout the year. I made us a turkey dinner, using one of the frozen turkey breasts that I had squirreled away, just because, not long after we moved up here to Kelpie Kapers Farm. I found whole turkeys for 98 cents per pound at Walmart. I bought 3 of them. Likewise, I found turkey breasts at Safeway for $12 or less. I bought 2. I purposefully kept room in that chest freezer to store my bones so that I can start making my own stock. My goal is to become less dependent on the supermarket supply chain and slowly work over to using my own home produced items. I will start with growing amaranth and quinoa next year.
I'm getting ahead of myself. I tend to get a bit excited when I talk about my self-sufficiency goals.
Back to making stock. The key component to any successful and delicious Thanksgiving feast is a good homemade turkey stock. Safeway had turkey necks for sale. I bought a pack of 3 of them. They were a bit on the spendy side, at over $3, for a piece of turkey that nobody really ever thinks of...but I sure do! Not only do turkey necks make a delicious stock to use for dressing and/or gravy, the meat off of the necks is some of the most delectable meat on the whole bird! It's just a major pain in the keister to pick it off the bones. That's why I only do it when I want to make a dinner that I want to impress Bob with.
I decided a few weeks ago to start collecting vegetable scraps to make my turkey stock with. They hung out in the freezer for a bit.
I bought my vegetables for Thanksgiving with the idea of most of them being multipurpose. I'm adding chopped fennel to my dressing this year. I bought a fennel bulb with a lot of fronds and stalks on it so that I could use it in my stock. Not only that, but I saved my asparagus ends for the stock. A word to the wise and because my sister, Ginger, gave me a heads-up about putting asparagus ends into stock. Too many of them will cause your stock to have a bitter taste to it. Use them sparingly. I'll still save them because I like to use them to make cream of asparagus soup. That's a different blog post for another time, though.
I added in a shallot that I simply cut in half. I didn't bother peeling it. There's no need. The solids are all strained out and discarded (except for the turkey necks). I added in 3 or 4 bay leaves, celery, carrots, a whole head of garlic that I cut in half. I left the skin on the head of garlic. It's like the shallot. There's no need to peel it. I also added in a couple of parsnips that had seen better days that I had in the crisper drawer. I also added in some Penzey's Bavarian Herb blend. It has all the good stuff in it. Some kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper finished it all off.
I love that we have well water up here and we don't have to use city water. I added in 2 quarts of cold water and a good glug of a nice oaky chardonnay.
I put this over high heat just until it came to a boil and then I turned the heat down to low and let it simmer. It reduced by over a third. I added another half quart of water to it and let it condense down again.
When all was said and done, it took around 2-1/2 hours to get a quart of some rich looking turkey stock to use in my stuffing and gravy recipes on Thursday.