Ethical Eating: Turkey Stock

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Ethical Eating: Turkey Stock

Serves: Makes ~3 litres
Cost: ~€0.30
Preparation and cooking time: ~2 hours
Calories: n/a

Hi everyone – I’ve got some good news and some bad news today and since I always like to end on a more positive note I’ll start with the “bad”. I’ve decided to take a break from blogging for a while. It is a temporary hiatus, I promise that. I’ve said this many times, but food, blogging, and the community surrounding it are some of my biggest passions so I’m not doing what some people do – you know, when you get really in to a blog and the creator says they’re taking a break, and then two years later you’re still waiting for them to come back…! Don’t worry, I’m not doing that, but I always said that this is supposed to be a pleasure, not a chore. If I ever started feeling like it was getting to be too much hard work then I’d take a step back. So that’s what I’m doing – I’m taking a step away from blogging, from the community, from the computer even, so I can focus my time on my family.

I might be around your blogs every so often, just to keep in touch, you know. You can also subscribe to me on Facebook, by Email or RSS by following the links on the right of the page to keep updated on when I’m back. How long will I be gone? Well, I don’t really know – a few weeks, a month, maybe a bit more – I just feel like I need a break; some time to get some new ideas without the stress of constantly feeling like I have to post something new. I’ll be back eventually with the promised write-up of the Secret Santa gift exchange as well as something fun, and believe me – I already have some recipe ideas up my sleeve… I just really feel like I don’t have the energy right now. I’m sorry – I hope you’ll all understand, and do hope you’ll feel better after seeing an up to date picture of my little guy!

William

Moving on to today’s recipe – it’s not really a recipe though. It’s probably something which many people already do, but for those of you that don’t then let this be a little nudge. If you’re not fully utilising the leftovers from your turkey after Christmas then not only are you missing out on something awesome, but you’re also chucking perfectly good stuff in the trash. I don’t want to go all preachy, but as a meat-eater I like to remind myself that I’m eating something that was actually alive. If I have something which was raised and slaughtered so that I could enjoy a delicious meal it’s respectful to eek every last scrap of nourishment out of that animal so it’s not going in the garbage, half-eaten.

You can do this with any bird (or meat in general), but what with Christmas having just passed I’m guessing there’s more than a couple of people out there with a turkey carcass sitting in their fridge, while the owners are so sick of the sight of turkey, potatoes, sprouts and other Christmas food right now that you just want it gone. Well, here’s a great way of clearing it out and making another two or more meals out of that tiresome turkey.

Firstly, make sure you pull off all the meat – take any meat left on the wings, legs, and chest and shred it up. You can use this immediately for another meal if you want – cover it with some egg and bread-crumbs and fry it for something easy, or spice it up, add it to a salad and so forth. Once you’ve got the bare carcass left then you can make the stock – which is super simple, but because a recipe post wouldn’t be a recipe post without a recipe, I have included one below.

Have a good day everyone, and happy new year too! I’ll be back in the new year, invigorated and refreshed! :)

Turkey Stock

Ingredients

  • 1 Turkey (or other bird) Carcass, excess meat removed
  • 3 Carrots
  • 2 sticks of Celery
  • 1 Onion

Instructions

  1. Start off by pulling off the legs and wings from the turkey. Separate the bones at the joints and crack the bones using a cleaver or heavy knife. Hack the body into two or three pieces and place everything into a pot. Peel the onion and cut into quarters, and then roughly slice the carrots and celery. Add into the pot with the turkey carcass.
    Everything in the stockpot
  2. Cover the pot contents with water and cover the pan. Bring to the boil on the stove and allow to boil for about 15 minutes before lowering the heat and allowing to simmer for around 90 minutes to 2 hours, by which time the bones should be completely clean.
  3. Set aside and allow to cool for an hour and then strain the stock into a large container, mashing the solids well to extract as much flavour as possible. Cover the container and store in the refrigerator overnight to allow the fat to rise to the surface. The next day, scoop away and discard as much of the fatty scum as possible.
    Skimming off the fat
  4. Add another litre or so of water and mix well into the stock to loosen it up and then just divide the stock into different containers and store in the freezer. You can use the stock as a perfect base for soups or giving more body to your cooking. Enjoy!
    Turkey Stock

    The world’s most exciting photograph!

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49 Comments

  1. I can understand wanting to take a step back, Charles. I’m amazed at how prolific some bloggers seem to be in the first place. Just one of the (many) reasons I never became a blogger in the first place … it just takes so MUCH time and effort and with a home, family, job, friends, life in general, who has that kind of time.

    I love the latest William picture. He’s a good natured little guy.

    Making stock is a sensible thing to do for many reasons. You just have to have room to store all that liquid gold after it’s made though. :)

    All the best and looking forward to your future posts.

    Reply
    • Hi A_ – I too am amazed at how some people can consistently find new content to post and still have time to visit others’ blogs too. It’s one thing when you’re blog is a “round-up” of other links and sites online, but when it’s content you need to create with your own fair hands… well, it can quickly turn into a full time job, and I certainly don’t need two full time jobs right now!

      I’ve been taking it easy for a few days, but I’ll be damned if I’m not itching to get back into the kitchen again. As soon as New Year is out of the way I’ve got some things I want to start cooking up, ready for when I return :)

      The stock – I put it into ziploc bags. It can be stored “flat” in the freezer and takes up very little space. There’s enough stock per back for two servings. It’s a rich stock, so takes well to being padded out with water as well.

      Reply
      • One of these days I’m going to try the freezer bag method of storing stock. Right now I still do the 4 cup tupperware container method and it’s very space consuming, especially when you do 28 cups at a time. Or maybe I should just concentrate my stock after I strain out the bones and vegetables.

        Lately, I’ve been inspired to cook some dishes that I don’t make very often (duck and lamb) and I finally made a batch of paprikas (pork though I want to make chicken one day and, of course, a big pot of goulash and spaetzle). I’m being very optimistic about the new year … food and life wise, in general. :)

        Reply
  2. Makes me want to roast a turkey this weekend just to make a pot of stock! I love knowing I have plenty of homemade basic ingredients on hand! Have a great weekend Charles!

    Reply
    • Thanks Linda – Happy new year :)

      Reply
  3. Charles, i can cetainly understand taking a break. I often question my ability to keep things going with a very busy and demanding job and my family. I’ve said it before, but I don’t think I could have blogged in the years when the girls were younger because it is so physically demanding — you have to keep a constant watch on them to guard against all kinds of household dangers and then there’s the operating without a full night’s sleep. We’ll all be here when you’re up to coming back — you can count on that! Enjoy the time with your wife and adorable son (love the picture).

    I’m off to the kitchen to make turkey stock. We are not having company for dinner tonight, so I decided that today would be the day to make it — and your post has given me the nudge that I need to make it! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours. We have our little Swedish man that you sent me hanging on our tree, so I am reminded of you whenever I look at him.

    All the best Charles.

    Reply
    • Hi Barb – reading about the Swedish man reminded me that this time last year I was in Sweden. We were probably taking a lovely walk around this time now, before going back to my parents-in-law house to watch the fireworks. As usual, I was picking up giant ice-boulders and throwing them around (because I’m such a child deep down!). Sigh – it’s belting down with rain here right now, and the wind is strong. Wouldn’t mind a bit of chilly Swedish snow right now :(

      Hope the stock turned out well – I’ll be back… not too long. Just need to take it easy for a while.

      Reply
  4. Great caption, Charles (“The world’s most exciting photograph”). Enjoy your break and your time with your family — I have needed an extended break from blogging lately.

    Reply
    • Hi Sharyn – haha, indeed – you can only make a giant bowl of stock look so exciting, right?

      Reply
  5. I totally understand what you mean Charles. When blogging becomes a source of stress rather than joy it is time to take a few steps back.We will be right here waiting for the email that carries your next post, enjoy your time with your family and your precious little boy (beautiful picture by the way, the light and the angle you shot it from are so beautiful)
    As for the recipe, I loved the post’s title. It really says it all. I always think of the fact that many people around the globe struggle to find food. They go for days at a time with hardly anything to eat and that is why I do my best not to waist any food. The thought that something that was living gave its life for me to have the meal infront of me adds on to the feeling that food is a precious gift not to be waisted.
    Wishing you a new year full of laughter, joy, success and magic

    Reply
    • Thank you Sawsan. I took an incredible photo of my wife and William the same day as this one… she’s rather shy though, so maybe won’t let me post it. You’ll have to imagine it instead!

      I think the amount of food that is wasted around the world is just terrible. My wife and I have been trying really, really hard to reduce food wastage, and actually we’ve got it down to just about zero right now. Even after Christmas we used ALL our leftovers, which is incredible. It was common in the past for me to buy something like a lettuce, or some apples, and then carefully store it, with a plan for it, and then find it black and rotten some weeks later. These days we watch what we have much more closely and ensure we always use things before they spoil! Meat or fish is the worst thing to waste. I hate the feeling that all around the world, millions of animals are killed and in so many cases it was for no reason whatsoever, and ends up going in the garbage. So terrible!

      Happy new year though – and I’ll see you back here soon!

      Reply
  6. Charles… I completely understand your decision and have often thought the same…what about all the other things I could be doing if I wasn’t putting nearly all of my free time into blogging… you have a new wonder in your life and that is certainly a worthy full-time project to explore and adore. When I think back to the period when my boys were newborns, I don’t think I would have even considered blogging; way too much to miss out on… that said, whenever you’re ready to return to your beloved hobby, perfect. No time limit needed just see where life leads you and feel free to drop in whenever without pressure.

    Now that little William, when I look at his latest photo I think, no kidding you have better things to do with your time!! Could he be any more adorable? Enjoy, explore, adore… hunker down and just ‘be’ with your family.

    Hugs to the whole family – ;0)

    Reply
    • Hi Kelly – thank you for your kind words. I must admit – I don’t mind putting so much time into my blog usually, and it *us* a lot of time, phew. Hobbies are worth spending time on, and so are friends – even if they are online, and the probability that I might meet them someday is virtually nil, haha.

      I must admit I kind of feel like there’s a hole in my life without my blog activities right now, and it’s only been three days :p. I’ll be back in time, and with it some new things, but it’s also nice to be able to put my feet up for a bit, so to speak.

      Glad you liked the photo :) Happy new year – I’m spending it with a vomit-stain on my t-shirt (baby, not me!). There’s no-one here so I’m in no hurry to change it… I’m such a classy guy :D

      Reply
  7. You know that I can completely relate to this. I’ve been considering a break as well. Like you, I love blogging and the community, but sometimes life has other ideas in mind and we have to prioritize, rest, regroup and refresh. And my dear, you certainly have a good reason! Look at that adorable little guy! Give him a little squeeze from us. Enjoy your New Years Charles! And here’s to finding that balance we all seek! :) Much love and many hugs to you and the family. I’ll look forward to your return. Cheers my good friend!

    Reply
    • Thank you Kristy – you should consider a break in January too. I actually might make this an annual thing. It’s nice to get “away” and do things on my own schedule for a bit. Winter’s a tough time for food too – If I have to see one more damn cabbage or brussels sprout. I miss the fresh colours and flavours of spring and summer.

      I will be back though, so don’t worry! Glad you enjoyed the photo – I certainly will give him a squeeze… not too hard though, he already threw up on me a while ago and since there’s no-one else here except my wife and him I’m too lazy to go change the top, lol!

      Happy new year to you and your family! I hope your 2013 is awesome!

      Reply
    • Thank you Marta – I hope you have a wonderful new year! :)

      Reply
  8. That is a great idea Charles, I’ve never thought to use the cooked bird for a stock. I’m sad that you’ll be off blogging for a bit, but I can certainly understand. I hope to see you around when you’re good and ready.

    Reply
    • Thank you Eva :) – I’ll certainly be back before too long!

      Reply
  9. I can certainly understand why you would want to take a break to spend with that handsome son of yours! He is so adorable, love the picture.

    Enjoy your break Charles! Happy New Year to you and your family!

    Nazneen

    Reply
    • Thank you Nazneen – it’s nice to “recharge your batteries” every so often, and to spend some time focusing on enjoying food, instead of writing about it, haha :)

      Happy new year to you too!

      Reply
  10. As one who finds it almost impossible to post more than once a week under the best of circumstances, I can totally understand you’re needing a break. This is such an important time for you to be, as a fellow blogger said “present in the moment” with your son and your family. William won’t be a baby for long, so enjoy…and relax as much as you can. We all love your blog and will be waiting when you’re ready to return. Cheers and good health to you and yours and a very Happy New Year!

    Reply
    • Hi Betsy – to think, when I first started blogging I was posting every day, then every two days, then every three for a long time. I dropped down to once every five or six days, but now I find I just need to get some fresh air, you know? I’ll be back – that is for sure but it’s good to not feel like I have any online obligations right now!

      Happy New Year to you and your family – I hope all is well :)

      Reply
  11. Charles my heart fell when I read that, but I understand and fully support you and will be waiting when you’re back. To be honest, there have been so manyt imes I felt liek I just needed a break from all this blogging and community. I love it, but there are times, especially when I’m busy with other things, that it feels like I’m doing a post for the sake of people who read my blog but not for myself; it’s fun but it becoems stressful. So do what you need to Charles, take time out, spend time with your lovely wife and your adorable new baby, and then come back refreshed and full of passion!

    A very happy new year to you charles and thanks for sharing the turkey stock even as you say (a temporary) goodbye! I do the exact same with leftover turkey this year, and last year too, I made congee with the stock (:

    Once again, thanks so much for all that you do here, and all the best in 2013! xxxxxxx

    Reply
    • Thank you for your kind words Shuhan – it feels good to know that I’m not alone in feeling this way. I definitely know the feeling of “making a post for the sake of others”… feeling like you have to keep up.

      You know – I thought of you the other day, on the 27th I think. The day I made the stock, I was driving up the hill and planning the stock, talking to my wife, and we were talking about what we could use it for. You shot into my head, or rather a picture of congee did, and I was like “ooh, we have to make congee with it!” – did you post about congee last year? I’m too lazy to go and look, but I must have got the picture in my mind from somewhere…

      Reply
  12. Your little guy sure has grown a lot. Enjoy your family. Will be awaiting your return to the blogging world.

    Reply
    • Thank you Norma – happy new year :)

      Reply
  13. Oh, Charles.. this is a subject for a full post, I’ve been thinking of writing about this for some time now after chatting with a fellow blogger over Christmas. Her ideas inspired and enlightened me.. anyway, I say.. live life to the fullest, seize those moments with that little sweetheart and your wife! My two children are grown and I’d give anything to relive a few of those days when they were little babes. xx Barb
    ps.. so glad you did this recipe too, can you believe I’ve never made turkey stock (imagining you shaking your head here).. I know, what is wrong with me, lol?!
    pps what a great photo!!

    Reply
    • Hi Barb – I hope I can inspire anyone else who feels like they need a break to just take one… and not fear that all their blogging friends will suddenly abandon them just because they go offline for a few weeks, or a month or more. It’s better to keep yourself fresh and motivated, than burn out in a flurry of posts, never to return online again! :)

      Glad you liked the photos – happy new year to you and your family :)

      Reply
  14. Oh, I’m sure I’m going to miss you! But I can understand the need to take a step back every now and then. Wee William is looking gorgeous and isn’t he growing up fast! Thanks for organising the Secret Santa. I’m sure a lot of work went on there! See you soon and Happy New Year xx

    Reply
    • Thank you Charlie – he’s growing very fast indeed… almost too fast. He’s about 2cm away from out-growing his car seat… that was supposed to last… well, longer than 4.5 months, that’s for sure!

      Happy New Year!

      Reply
  15. Charles, I feel the same way you do about not wasting meat. Last time I roasted a turkey, however, I did not have time to make stock afterward and I had no room in the freezer for the carcass, so I offered it to my dinner guests and gave it to a very eager recipient.

    About the break – perfectly understandable, especially in light of your adorable Sweet William! If I might make a suggestion … When you come back from your break, perhaps consider a lighter blogging schedule so that you don’t burn out. You have what I call a very “ambitious” blog, for lack of a better word, meaning only that you put a LOT into it – frequent posts, detailed posts, lots and lots of photos, you’ve even added video! We all love it, of course! But we don’t want you to burn out. I, for one, would rather see you scale back just a tad than to have to quit altogether.

    That said, enjoy your break – however long it takes, we’ll be here when you get back. The three of you are such a sweet, sweet family! Wishing you all a wonderful 2013.

    Reply
    • Hi Jean – thank you for your kind words. Back in the early days when little William wasn’t even a thought in our minds the blog soon became almost a second full-time job. Considering it’s a hobby, that’s a lot of time to invest, I agree. As you say, with a full time job already, and a family, it’s easy to get a little overwhelmed. I used to post around once every 3 days. More recently I changed it to once every five or six days. I think that’s a good schedule – or something like once per week to be honest!

      It’ll be nice to not be attached to my blog for a while. I must admit to missing it a bit, but I’ll be back in time. I have started making a list of some really fun things I want to make on my return actually so I’ll see you back here someday soon :)

      Have a wonderful new year!

      Reply
      • Well, once a week is all *I* can manage, and I work just part-time and do not have sweet William! So maybe that *will* work for you. Enjoy your break!

        Reply
  16. I can understand your taking a break; enjoy these months with your little William. Jean is right: when you’re ready to return, why not try to blog just a little less often. Make us wait a little….. :)
    All the best to you and yours.

    Reply
    • Thank you Veronica – I’m already itching to be back, but it feels good to be on a bit of a break right now :)

      Reply
  17. Charles, I am sorry to hear that you will take a break and will miss you a lot, but I understand what regular posting stress means… and also the need to stop for a while (my one week break was such a pleasure…). I hope to see you back soon, full of energy and great ideas!
    I never bake whole birds (I cut chicken up before baking leaving the carcasse and I have never baked whole turkey), but when I buy a whole chicken (very often because it’s cheaper) I always make a stock with the raw carcass. Doing it with baked carcass sounds very original. I must try it one day.
    Enjoy your break and have a very Happy New Year!

    Reply
    • Thank you Sissi – I noticed too that you’d taken a little break. My mother was telling me today how nice she thought your recent post looked, but had no idea where to buy wonton wrappers. They live in a little town so I’m not sure how successful a forage in the local supermarket will be. Perhaps I can send her some from France – are they a chilled item? Do you know what they’re called in French? Feuilles de wonton, maybe?

      I remember you telling me before about buying whole chickens and breaking them up into individual portions! It’s a great idea, and definitely cheaper. A good organic chicken here is about €15. On that you will get two really good sized breasts, not like these tiny little things which cost about €4 for two if you buy them separately. I will consider this in the new year. After eating my Christmas turkey, I’m finally feeling like it might be time to start eating a bit more chicken!

      Reply
      • Wonton wrappers are usually sold frozen and I buy them in Asian grocery shops (Vietnamese, Chinese and Japanese shops carry them) and also in one big “normal” supermarket in my city. Maybe there is an online Asian shop selling frozen food in UK? Your mother could order some other products she cannot find in her town… Sending from abroad as a private person is a bit risky I suppose.
        I don’t remember what they are called like in my shops, but I would say pâte à ravioli or pâte à wonton/feuilles de pâte à wonton… I hope your mum can find them at least online because they are cheap and so easy to use and practical.
        I’m looking forward to hear about your new year’s chicken cooking adventures :-)

        Reply
  18. I have to say that while I will miss your recipes and your wonderful sense of humor…I like all your other faithful readers will miss your posts. But truth be told…we all understand that this is a special and wonderful time in your life for you and your family. Enjoy your life with your family and one day we all will be delighted to see that you have a new post up for us. Maybe it will just be a new photo of your sweet William and how he has grown. My sincerest wishes for the best of New Years, may it be wonderful, Charles.

    Reply
    • Thank you for your kind words Karen – it’s nice to know people won’t forget about me, hehe, but don’t worry – I won’t be gone for too long! Just enough time to get a bit of “fresh air” and relaxation.

      Have a wonderful new year – we’re only 30 minutes away from New Year here, so I’d better go and get my wife! Take care, and see you back here soon :)

      Reply
  19. We will miss you, Charles! I hope the break gives you wonderful family time and allows you to return refreshed and inspired! :)

    Reply
  20. I’m not surprised that you need a break. You’ve got a a big job, a new baby, a lovely wife and a house with all that goes with it. I don’t know how young parents get it all done. I will miss you but I know you need this break.

    Thanks for the world’s best photograph of turkey stock. It did make me laugh.

    Happy New Year to the three of you and enjoy your break. We’ll be here waiting for all the news.

    Reply
  21. Family comes first! Food writing will always be there for you but your family needs you now. Enjoy your little guy and when and if you feel like coming back will be excited to have you back. Take care, BAM

    Reply
  22. I am sorry I’ve been MIA. I’ve been having the same issue too – lack of time and lots of things to do with my kids as they get older… time is so limited everyday. I hope you get to enjoy precious time with William. I was looking at my kids today and realized how fast they are growing. I just hugged them tightly and at the same time I got scared that if I am spending enough time with them. I feel it’s never been enough. Family definitely comes first Charles. Take good care and enjoy your time being away from computer! Happy New Year to you and your lovely family!

    Reply
  23. Aw, we’ll miss you Charles! But I completely understand the need for a break. I’m only able to post once a week, if that…life just gets in the way! Hope to see you back soon. And your baby boy is gorgeous. :)

    Reply
  24. Hey Charles! Just dropping by to say Happy New Year and I hope 2013 has starting off well for you and your lovely family. I was offline during the holidays so I missed this precious picture of William. Oh My! What a bundle of joy! I hope you are enjoying your time off. I agree totally with you that the blog is meant to bring us happiness, not stress. The 2 weeks I took off during the holidays was great and probably should have been longer. I’m having a hard time getting started in 2013, but I’m not going to worry about it. Cooking is a joy and since blogging is an extension of that, it too should be a joy. I thought of you yesterday when I was at a baby shower,and seeing the happiness in the mother-to-be’s face, reminded me of you. (Yes, at 59 I’m still invited to baby showers. :) ). Hope you are enjoying your time off with your family. Look forward to hearing from you again whenever you’re ready. Lots of hugs, MJ

    Reply
  25. Hi Charles, happy Belated New Year to you – and hope you had a nice Christmas with your family. William’s pic is so adorable. I have been sort of MIA as well. The first few months of my pregnancy weren’t as “easy” as the first time around – I had no energy, so I took a couple months off from blogging as well! I barely cooked – let alone blogged. And now I am just getting back online to reconnect with my old blogger friends. I totally understand the need to just sit back and recharge. Take care – and keep in touch!

    Reply
  26. Hey Charles, hate to see you leave even for a short while. It was nice to come back and see what you will be cooking up every week, but I’ve been feeling the pressure too and it seems just like you say- a second job of blogging. Maybe a break is in the making for me too!! Anyway, enjoy your break and I’ll be waiting to see what you have up your sleeve when you’re back!! Love the full-flavored Turkey broth.

    Reply