What should I do with all this turkey stock?
November 24, 2017 8:13 AM   Subscribe

On a whim, I threw the leftover turkey carcass and drippings in to a crock pot last night, with a chopped onion and some carrots, and covered with water. Now I have about 8 cups of stock. I tried making noodle soup once before like this, but it was so bland I ended up just tossing it. This stock tastes a little better, but it's still not wowing me. What should I do with it?

I set aside all the leftover meat before cooking it overnight. I also have all the stuff from the crock pot, that I drained to get the stock, but that's pretty bland now, so I presume I just toss that stuff? I also have a cup or two of gravy left over from dinner. I don't mind picking up extra ingredients, I just don't know what do do with it! I'd love to get suggestions, thanks!
posted by Pig Tail Orchestra to Food & Drink (27 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I use home-made chicken stock for risotto, it tastes much better than using stock cubes.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 8:19 AM on November 24, 2017 [7 favorites]

Freeze it in two cup portions and then use it later to make risotto or regular rice (add it instead of water).
posted by mcduff at 8:22 AM on November 24, 2017 [8 favorites]

If your stock is bland, you can concentrate the flavor by boiling off some of the water. Just put it in a stock pot and gently boil until reduced by half or so. You can sample from time to time and stop when you're happy with the flavor.
posted by cruelfood at 8:22 AM on November 24, 2017 [33 favorites]

Did you add salt? Also, maybe try reducing it to concentrate the flavor?

You can use it for dishes where the stock is not the main source of flavor. Like rice dishes, stews, braised meat dishes, stir-fries, etc. Anywhere you could get away with just using water, the stock will add s little extra flavor.
posted by snowmentality at 8:22 AM on November 24, 2017 [11 favorites]

You could freeze the stock in ice cube trays, then toss a few cubes in when you’re cooking things like sauces, soups and rice.

Yes, just toss all the stuff leftover in the crock pot. All its vitality has escaped to the stock.
posted by mammoth at 8:24 AM on November 24, 2017 [2 favorites]

Seconding the salt. Add it after any reduction is done, so it doesn't get too salty. Freeze/store it without the salt, add when used.

I had the same problem with my stocks, but once I started upping the salt level there was a big difference. For myself I had to get over the idea that adding salt was a 'bad' thing to do health-wise. My 2 cents anyways.
posted by marmIrite? at 8:33 AM on November 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

How long was it cooking for? I love turkey stock and find it way more flavourful than chicken.

Try putting it back in the stove with the bones and stuff, skin if you have it, add more (I use 2 onions, 3-4 carrots, and 3-4 celery stalks) plus bay leaf, all spice pods. Bring to a boil and simmer for hours. Mine is often on 6-8 hours.

I'm guessing you didn't use enough carrot and onion and combined with slow cooker (no reduction), you've got a watery stock rather than a rich one
posted by Ftsqg at 8:36 AM on November 24, 2017 [6 favorites]

Here is a cheap and convenient way to freeze stock for future use. We've been doing this for years.

Salt is usually the cause of bland. A bad stock is bitter (which means the stock needed skimming). However, bland typically just wants a bit of salt. I'd suggest freezing as is then adjusting salt when you use it. A no salt stock is a more flexible stock and can be used for ham chowders or with other salted meats, for example.
posted by bonehead at 8:39 AM on November 24, 2017 [2 favorites]

Gumbo is a classic way to use turkey carcass stock.
posted by neroli at 8:48 AM on November 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

Wow, I just added salt (I see now that I should have waited until use-time) and it makes all the difference in the world! And we always use chicken broth to make rice, not sure why I didn't think of it for this. And freezing it? Brilliant, thanks!

Oh, and I set it on low and cooked it for about 13 hours.
posted by Pig Tail Orchestra at 8:55 AM on November 24, 2017 [5 favorites]

At 8c no matter what I would Reduce. If you add some instant dashi, you can go Turkey Ramen real easy. Dress it with some turkey scraps, noodles, soft boiled egg and some green onion and mushrooms.

Also, you can use the reduced broth in any kind of pilaf or paella style recipe.
posted by furnace.heart at 9:14 AM on November 24, 2017

Gumbo. I covet turkey carcasses after Thanksgiving because they make for *great* gumbo. Here’s a good recipe.
posted by faineg at 9:41 AM on November 24, 2017 [2 favorites]

Late for this, but I was taught that adding a little vinegar when simmering the bones helped bring out the flavor.
posted by puddledork at 9:42 AM on November 24, 2017

Add grated ginger, roasted garlic, anise and salt, then bring to a boil again and it makes all the difference in flavorful broth!
posted by OnefortheLast at 9:44 AM on November 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

Stick it on a stove & concentrate it down. Simmer it until it tastes like you want. Then add salt.
posted by wwax at 9:48 AM on November 24, 2017

I would definitely add celery and garlic (and salt) when making the stock (or when simmering it down a bit if you're doing that now), and I add either a bouquet garni or dried herbs, including particularly rosemary (lots of rosemary!), thyme, and a little bit of lavender. (If your stock is thin in flavor and lacking in salt after cooking, you can also add a bit of soy sauce, which can add depth and salt, but some people don't like it.)

I like making plain rice in stock (not risotto, just rice-rice), especially in winter ... makes rice dishes a bit heartier. Just something simple, like rice and broccoli, cooked with stock, is very nice! If I have just some extra stock I need to use up (like it's storebought and the container is 4 cups and I used 2 1/2 of it), I'll make rice, and make up the difference in liquid with water. (Whenever I freeze it, my husband reliably puts stock cubes in his soda and gets an unpleasant surprise because apparently he doesn't notice the yellow ice cubes until he tastes them, so I have given up on that!)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:14 AM on November 24, 2017

After you get the flavor you want, just make the rice with it now. The already cooked rice is what you freeze, in flat freezer bags, with the air pressed out. Then this becomes a time saving process.
posted by Oyéah at 10:39 AM on November 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

Glad you added salt! I love, love, turkey stock. My opinion is that adding anything to it other than noodles or rice ruins it. And you have to eat it with black pepper as well.
posted by kitcat at 10:42 AM on November 24, 2017

I would concentrate it until it tastes good, then concentrate it four times more and put it in an ice cube tray in the freezer. When you want to cook with it later, for each 1/4 cup of liquid I take one cube of frozen 4× stock and add water to 1/4 cup.

I save carrot, celery, onion, and garlic scraps, and that alone can make a pretty good stock even without bones.
posted by grouse at 1:37 PM on November 24, 2017

Yeah, was going to say salt. Any soup that call for stock or broth will be so much better with the real stuff. But. Cook the noodles in water. Cooking them in stock doesn't seem to improve the flavor and uses a lot of stock.

Risotto. Saute onions, add rice, arbor if you have it, add stock and stir a fair amount. Add some white wine, too. I don't eat dairy, but parmesan cheese is good at the end. You can add mushrooms, squash or other tasty foods.
posted by theora55 at 3:22 PM on November 24, 2017

I endorse the suggestion of cooking rice in the stock, but respectfully disagree with freezing cooked rice. Or at least try it with a small batch before you do a lot. IME, the texture of the rice suffers in the freezer.
posted by Bruce H. at 4:08 PM on November 24, 2017

I just happened to watch Michael Pollan's "Cooked" on Netflix last night and the episode was water (2nd episode)

Just made a soffritto, added my stock, the drumsticks with the meat still on and some egg noodles

Came out fantastic.

Highly recommend the show for all food and cooking related inspirations.

posted by silsurf at 6:20 PM on November 24, 2017

If you still have leftovers, your stock will bring them back to life over the next few days, particularly stuffing, potatoes, roasted veg in danger of drying out.
posted by kapers at 8:52 PM on November 24, 2017

Bowl of the Wife of Kit Carson (Caldo Tlalpeño)
2 lb leftover turkey
1 quart turkey stock (made from simmering the carcass)
Pinch of dried leaf oregano
1/3 cup rice
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 chipotle chile, packed in adobo, minced, or 1 small can chopped green chiles
Whole peppercorns (about 15 or to taste)
4 to 6 oz Monterey Jack cheese, cubed (1/2 inch)
4 sprigs cilantro
1 ripe avocado, peeled and cubed
1 lime, quartered
Bring turkey stock to a boil and add rice. Lower heat, cover, and simmer 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, cube or shred the turkey and add to the stock. In a food processor or blender, puree some or all of the garbanzos with a little stock. Add oregano, pepper corns, garbanzos, and chiles. Bring soup to a quick boil and serve in deep soup bowls. Garnish with a cilantro sprig, cheese cubes (to taste), and avocado (to taste). Serve with lime quarters and hot tortillas.
This dish may be made a day ahead, but don't add the avocado or cheese until reheating the soup for serving. The chile flavor will intensify overnight and the dish may seem hotter. For a more intense flavor, add some adobo from the chipotle peppers.
Serves four. Can be doubled, and measurements don't have to be precise.
posted by caryatid at 9:18 PM on November 24, 2017 [4 favorites]

2 of my best soups ever were made with turkey stock. 1. Leftover creamed onions (cream, parmesan, roux), leftover broccoli, mashed potatoes, turkey, homemade broth. 2. Kale, cabbage, potatoes, onions, carrots, turkey, 1 chorizo sausage that had been hanging out in the freezer, homemade broth.

You can use leftovers to make a turkey stew - turkey, carrots, a few potatoes, onion, any other veg, enough broth to cover. Put in a casserole dish. Top with puff pastry or pie crust for such tasty pot pie.
posted by theora55 at 5:54 AM on November 25, 2017

It sounds like salt was all yours needed, but for future reference, my answer to this question is usually a Cajun seasoning blend. Mostly salt, cayenne, and garlic, and sometimes celery salt or other additional herbs. My favorite is Slap Yo Mama, which now that I live far away from Lafayette I get at World Market.
posted by instamatic at 4:28 PM on November 25, 2017

Marked just about every answer as best because they all seem like such good ideas. Ended up making a big batch of rice and using the rest to re-flavor the leftovers. Thanks!
posted by Pig Tail Orchestra at 7:20 AM on December 10, 2017

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