Sunday, November 30, 2008

Turkey Stock

The house smells absolutely fantastic today and this is the reason: turkey stock! Not only will you get a lot of stock because of the size of the bird, but if you brined it in spices before roasting (which I did) then the stock will be even more flavorful. Below is my basic stock recipe (more of a method than a recipe, really). Just strip all the meat you can off the carcass, and tip it into your stockpot.

1.) Dump the turkey carcass unceremoniously into a large stockpot.
2.) Cut an onion into quarters; don't bother to peel it.
3.) Wash a carrot and celery stalk; don't bother peeling those either. Cut them into large chunks and dump them in.

Note: Multiply the veg by the size of the bird; for a chicken, one of each is plenty. In this case, I had a 14-pound turkey carcass, so I added an extra one of each veg. With a large turkey, you'd probably be okay with both, but you might want to add a third.

4.) Add a quart of water (about 16 cups), or enough to cover the meat and veg.

Note: My turkey needed about two quarts.

5.) Toss in a handful of fresh thyme and fresh parsley.
6.) Toss in a handful of whole peppercorns (wait on salt until it's done).
7.) Bring the pot to a boil, uncovered.

Note: This may take about half an hour or so. Be patient.

8.) Lower the heat until the pot is simmering slowly, putting up a bubble or two at a time.
9.) Put on the lid loosely, letting steam escape, and simmer for 2-2 1/2 hours.
10.) Strain the stock into another container, pressing on the veggies and meat to extract all the stock.
11.) Test for seasoning (it's hot!) and add salt, if necessary.
12.) Chill until cold.
13.) Remove from the fridge, and skim off fat. Test again for seasoning.
14.) Put into individual containers and freeze.

Note: I usually freeze in 2 cup increments, because a.) two cups seems a good increment for most recipes and b.) its easy to remember how much I have, and I only have to unfreeze a bit at a time. (Don't freeze the whole batch as one, because then you'll have to thaw it and use it at once.)

Tomorrow, once the stock is done, I'll make turkey noodle soup!


Welcome to The Cottage Witch, my new blog dedicated to what has come to be my favorite place in the world - my home. Is this a blog about magic? In a way. I do believe that there is something magical about home - a warm fire, soup bubbling on the stove, a cat purring in your lap. If your home is your sanctuary, then I believe you can find magic - and healing - there.

I bought my home a little more than three years ago, and it's been teaching me all that and more. Now, I'm known among my friends as the good cook, the "Martha" whose table is always decorated for the seasons, and the one you can always go to for a cup of tea and a place to recharge.

Funny, because three years ago, I was depressed, my place was a mess, my friendships were ... meh ... and I couldn't cook at all.

Living here, in this 100-year-old historic cottage, I've started to see the magic in the every day. When I do the dishes, it not only renews the kitchen, it renews me. When I make a new recipe, I not only have a nice dinner, I have something to add to my collection of recipes I'll pass on to my daughter one day. I'm happier, I'm healthier and my outlook on life has never been brighter.

Maybe that transformation can't totally be chalked up to my house, but it sure hasn't hurt.

Here I'll be chronicling my journey toward making my house a home. Come along...