Thanksgiving Extras: A Turkey Carcass Concoction


Let’s forget for one moment that I’m British, and just pretend that I’m an experienced hand at all things American, including Thanksgiving. I’ve lived in DC for many years now and during that time I’ve cooked several Thanksgiving dinners, and have even been trusted with the turkey.

Most of my friends venture home for Thanksgiving so we always make a point of getting together and celebrating the holiday ahead of time. I find that this is a great way to experiment with new recipes without the added pressure and guilt if something should go wrong. This year I experimented with the turkey. I grilled it, or should I say roasted it on the grill. It was an opportunity to do something different and create the extra space in the oven for all the sides — a dinner for twenty-three people brings with it a lot of sides. I’m not going to tell y’all about my turkey or how to cook it, ES has done that already but what I am going to tell you is what you can do with the turkey once it’s been hacked apart.

I will admit that this wasn’t my idea, my friend Tucker started this turkey rampage. He was a little drunk and perhaps a little excitable at the thought of boiling the leftovers — who wouldn’t be? In a huge pot went the turkey and pretty much everything left ver,  root vegetables, oils, bacon, chicken broth, turkey giblets and even wine. It was a concoction of the finest sorts.

So basically it’s a typical stock recipe, but I think what was they key here is the length of time I had it on the stove. After the guests had left and the kitchen cleaned, the boiling turkey remained, simmering on the stove for at least 24hrs. On and off I set the pot to boil, eventually reducing down to about two thirds of the original mixture. From there I removed all the larger pieces of “materials” in the pot, including an almost clear-to-the-bone turkey frame and all the large vegetables. I then sieved the mixture several times until it was clean of any bones or other miscellaneous items.

The stock is currently sitting in my refrigerator and a nice level of fat has formed which will make for a great roux. If needed I’ll throw in some cornstarch, but as it looks right now it will make for a perfect gravy when it comes round to the actual Thanksgiving dinner.

So, for a little something extra on the T-day table this year, I suggest you go out to the grocery store and buy one of those pre-cooked birds for around $8, trim off the meat then throw it in a pot with whatever you have at hand — I guarantee it will make for an excellent gravy.

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  • Summer November 23, 2009  

    That’s a mighty pretty bird, Britannia, and making stock from the carcass is an honorable end for such a noble beast.

    Making stock from a chicken or turkey carcass is another good thing to do in a large crock pot. It makes it very easy to keep the pot simmering for 12+ hours. I also like to toss in a whole onion with the skin still on — the onion skin gives the broth an appealing golden color.

  • BS November 23, 2009  

    so I have never heard of this thing where you celebrate thanksgiving early with your friends before doing it with your family on the real day, but now I have heard of three separate groups of people doing it this year. new trend or has everyone always done this?

  • gansie November 23, 2009  

    one of my coworkers was just talking about her pre Thanksgiving dinner this past weekend as well. but i dont know if i could handle two meals like this.

  • Britannia November 24, 2009  

    If you have a friends Thanksgiving early enough, two weeks prior to the main event then I think that’s enough time to enjoy both.

    Plus its a great way to experiment with dishes.

  • Pingback: What Are We Leftovering? | Endless Simmer November 30, 2009  

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