How I Make The Best Turkey Stock to Use On Thanksgiving!
Here’s all the secrets to my favorite turkey stock recipe!
Okay… this is one of my favorite things ever! As boring as that may seem. It just makes life much more… FLAVORFUL.
For the last few years, I’ve made turkey stock and it is a GAME CHANGER. No exaggeration here. The depth of flavor that homemade stock brings to your Thanksgiving meal is INCREDIBLE.
I use it mostly for gravy. My mom taught me how to make incredible gravy and now I can make the best gravy ever. It may even be better than hers.
I also use it for stuffing and anywhere else I may need a drizzle of stock or broth throughout the cooking process. If you ever wonder why certain Thanksgiving meals taste so darn good… this is probably the reason.
These days, I can easily find high quality chicken stock. Because of that, I don’t spend the time every other week or so making my own. I do like to make it for chicken soup, but other than that, I just don’t have the time. And I find that I use a lot of stock.
Thanksgiving is the one exception where I highly highly suggest taking the time to make the stock. I do it anywhere from three to four days before and store it in my fridge. I tend to use all of it while making the meal (we like a lot of gravy in this family) but if you have extra, you can use it for soup or even freeze it. Tons of options for you!
I find that it’s easiest to make my stock on the day that I dry brine my turkey. This is because I clean up the turkey and remove the neck and giblets and what not. As you’ll see below, I do buy turkey wings for the stock, but you can use the neck for extra flavor if you wish. Since I do it this way, I usually make the stock on Monday or Tuesday of that week.
Prep is key!
Back in the day, I used to only brown the neck and make stock. That was good, but this is even better. It does require you to buy one more thing (turkey wings!) but I promise that it is worth it.
Also note: I realize that it’s 2020 and well… it’s 2020. If you can’t find turkey wings (I’m still doing grocery delivery and pickup, so options can be slim), you can use chicken wings in a pinch. Same kind of flavor going on!
I’ve adapted a recipe from epicurious over the years and there are a few important things to note that make this turkey stock recipe top-notch.
Roast the wings first. This adds fantastic depth of flavor for a very rich, golden stock, The original recipe calls for chopping up the wings with a meat cleaver, but I don’t even do that. There are a few benefits if you wish to do it, but I find it’s not necessary.
While the wings roast, I brown the vegetables in a stock pot so they get extra caramelly and delicious. We’re talking that deep golden brown sear on the onions, celery and carrots.
I salt both the wings and the vegetables while cooking them. But I don’t salt the stock until it’s done! You’ll have to taste the stock a few times at the end and season it generously.
I find that straining the stock two or three times removes most of the bits. If you want very clear stock, you can strain it through cheesecloth a few times. I simple use a fine mesh strainer and do it twice or three times. My stock does tend to have some flavor bits left in it, but I don’t mind since I’m using it mostly for gravy!
Okay so TRUST ME when I say this is how you make the big meal come together. It takes an extra step but I promise it is SO worth it. You will not regret it. And if you do it early in the week, it’s even easier!
I promise, it’s foolproof!
Best Turkey Stock Recipe
Homemade Turkey Stock Recipe
- 3 pounds turkey (or chicken!) wings
- kosher salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 onions, cut in half
- 2 carrots, cut into pieces
- 2 celery stalks, cut into pieces
- 1 handful fresh parsley
- 2 springs fresh thyme
- 1 handful fresh sage
- Note: if you want to use the neck for the stock too, I brown it with the vegetables. You can also roast it with the wings if you wish!
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Place the wings in a baking dish and sprinkle all over with salt and pepper. Brush with 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil. Roast for 30 minutes, then flip and roast again for 30 to 40 minutes more, until they are golden brown.
- While the wings are roasting, heat the remaining oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. One hot, add in the onions, carrots and celery with a pinch of salt and pepper. Brown the vegetables until they are golden and caramelly on all sides.
- When the wings are done, add them to the stock pot with the vegetables. Add in the parsley and thyme. Fill the pot with water - about 14 to 16 cups. Bring the stock to a boil. Reduce it to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, you can add a bit more water if a lot has evaporated. Cover and let the stock simmer for about 2 to 2.5 hours, checking on it and stirring occasionally.
- After 2.5 hours, turn off the heat. I remove the large wings and vegetables that are still in the stock with kitchen tongs for ease. Grab a large bowl (or 2!) and begin to strain the stock through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth. Once I finish this, I do it again 1 or 2 more times, just to remove as many bits as a I can. At this point, I taste the stock and season it with salt. You will most like use at least 1 to 2 teaspoons of kosher salt.
- Once the stock sits, you can skim any extra fat off the top. At this point, you can let it cool (I either put it back in a (clean) pot with a lid to cool a bit or cool it down with an ice bath. Once cool enough, place immediately into the fridge!