After my husband had carved the turkey up, I used the bones to make stock. This is something else I've always wanted to do, but never tried. The process is really easy and I'll be saving all the bones from roasted poultry in the future for stock making. First, I broke up the carcass and threw it into a 6 quart stockpot along with the drippings from the pan and a few chicken bones I'd been saving.
I ran the finished stock through a strainer to get rid of any remaining chunks of vegetable and spices and portioned it out into freezer bags. My yield was 14 cups plus a few tablespoons. What's nice is you hardly lose any water to evaporation since you cook stock at such a low temperature. I think the missing water was actually absorbed by the veggies. The finished taste was fantastic too. It tasted so much more meaty and roasty than store bought. Which reminds me, I just learned the difference between stock and broth: stock is made with bones and meat, where broth is made with meat only. It seems stock typically has more flavor too. Clearly I learned this after I labeled the bags in the next picture.
This may look like a lot of steps, but the active cooking time is actually really minimal and the results are awesome. You can freeze your leftover chicken or turkey bones until you have enough of them. If you're the type of person that never has a solid block of time at home, I'm thinking you could probably do this overnight or while you're at work in a slow cooker that has a low setting. The longer you cook the stock the better the taste is going to be. So if you want to run it overnight for 6-8 hours and then add your vegetables, go for it. Stock seems to be pretty forgiving in terms of ingredients too. According to this book the most important thing is to have a ratio of at least 2 pounds bones to 3 pounds water. Which means for every pound of bones, you should add 3 cups (1.5 lbs) of water. I'm including a recipe here, but if you don't have some of the vegetables or spices, don't worry about it. I used a little more bones and less vegetables than the recipe called for and the stock still came out way better than store bought. Plus after doing the math on how much I saved buying good store bought broth, I actually made like $3 by buying the turkey (not to mention the meat fed us for a week).
Turkey or Chicken Stock
Adapted from Ratio by Michael Ruhlman
4 pounds cooked turkey or chicken bones from roast plus pan drippings
6 pounds water (12 cups)
1 pound onions, chopped (about 2 largish onion)
1/2 pound carrots, chopped (about 4 medium carrots)
1/2 pound celery, chopped (about 4 celery ribs)
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons crushed peppercorns
2 teaspoons thyme
2 teaspoons parsley
4 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
1. Preheat your oven to 180-190 degrees.
2. Add the bones and drippings to a stockpot. Add the water.
3. Put in oven and leave for 3 or more hours.
4. Add the vegetables and spices and cook for 1 hour more.
5. Remove the bones and strain out the vegetables. Let stock cool up to 2 hours.
6. Refrigerate overnight. Skim the fat off the surface.
7. If there are still vegetables and spices left in the stock, strain again. Portion into containers and freeze for future use.