Super Simple Stock

DON’T THROW AWAY YOUR TURKEY BONES!!

Or any of your animal bones. I mean, it is more than a week past Thanksgiving. So if you still have your turkey I suggest you do something with it quickly!

Anyway! It’s time to make stock! If you can’t tell, I’m super excited.

look at that stock... it's so lovely... :)
look at that stock… it’s so lovely… 🙂

Seriously, kids. This is one of my favorite parts about roasting a whole bird, and that’s making stock. Turkey stock, chicken stock, beef stock (even though beef isn’t a bird, I know)… It doesn’t matter. If I’ve got good bones, I’m using them.

The reason why I say good bones is because personally, I will only use healthy bones. When I make stock, it’s from antibiotic free, cage free animals. Now, some of you are going to say that this still isn’t the best option, and I know. I’m doing the best with what I’ve got.

You can make it with any bones, but the healthier the animal, the healthier the stock. We are soaking its bones, you know!

Anyway, when I found out our turkey was coming from a local farm this year, I was stoked. Not because of the meat, but because of those bones! I was going to make turkey stock this year!

As you get to know me, you will find that I hate food waste. What if there was a way to use those inedible pieces?

Well, my fellow anti-food-wasters, rejoice! There is a way!

Throw your bones, vegetable ends or ugly veggies in a pot with spices, and you end up with a flavorful stock that won’t taste like a bowl of meat flavored salt water.

If you usually skip over the intro piece to get to the recipe, I highly suggest you don’t this time because there is a lot of info on making stock below.

When you research stock, or “bone broth” as those in the blogosphere like to call it, you’ll find many different methods to making it. Some people will tell you to roast the bones and the veggies, which will result in a darker, more flavorful broth. It is also more time consuming. If you’ve got the time, be my guest!

Isn't that just beautiful...
Isn’t that just beautiful…

My preferred method is to just throw everything in a pot and cover it with water. If there is a little bit of meat still on the bones, leave it on! As for the vegetable ends, I go with flavorful, hard vegetables. These will mostly include celery, carrots and onions (also known as mirepoix) but I’ll throw in broccoli stems and the cut ends of bok choy sometimes as well.  

To keep all of these veggies, I throw them in a labeled bag and freeze them until I need them. Do note that once you freeze celery there is no turning back. It will be mushy due to it’s high water content. But it’s totally okay in stock!

Yes, I know that i spelled veggie wrong. It's a family joke.
Yes, I know that i spelled veggie wrong. It’s a family joke.

Make sure that you season your stock as well. I had some leftover herbs from thanksgiving, so I was able to throw in some fresh sage, rosemary and thyme (don’t tell me you didn’t sing that J ). I also put in bay leaves, poultry seasoning, plenty of fresh garlic, pepper, and a healthy dose of salt.

No, you do not have to put in as much salt as you will find in store-bought stock, but it does need flavor! It is also okay to go a little under what you think it might need. This way, you have room to season later.

This all needs to get covered in water. For myself, I ended up using 11 cups of water and I almost made my slow cooker pot overflow!

Wait, what did I say? There is a way to make this easier by putting it in a slow cooker?!

YES! How exciting!!

Easier does not mean “set it and forget it”, unfortunately. You still need to be a present parent to your stock baby. But if you are going to be home all day, I highly suggest this method. You don’t have to hover over your stock the whole time and it makes your house smell amazing.

Once you are done, you can either use it immediately or chill completely so that the fat can float to the top and be removed.

If you end up with jiggly bone jelly, congrats! This means that the gelatin was completely leached out of the bones and you did a good job.

If your stock didn’t turn to jiggly jelly, don’t lose heart! This would be my first stock that I have made that jelled over, and I’m pretty sure this is my 4th time. The stock is still usable, so don’t throw it out!

The recipe is going to have a bunch of approximate values. If you have a small carcass or a little bit of bones, you’re not going to put in that 11 cups of water I told you about. The best rule of thumb is to have more bones and meat than vegetables.

So, have fun, get creative. Use all those pieces that usually get thrown away and make something beautiful.

Cheers!

Gem

Simple Stock

  • Yield varies
  • Prep Time: 10-20 minutes
  • Total Time: 8-12 hours

Goods you need

  • Bones from an animal, 2-4 lbs.
  • about 1 lb vegetable ends OR ingredients 3-6
  • 2 small onions
  • 4 carrots
  • 3-4 stalks celery
  • 5 cloves to a bulb of garlic, to taste
  • 1 Tbsp+ salt, to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 3-4 sprigs thyme
  • 1-2 sprigs sage
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Water to cover

Let's get to it!

  1. Place vegetable ends or vegetables, bones, and seasonings in a crock pot.

  2. Pour water over just enough water to cover your ingredients. If a few pieces poke out, that is okay.

  3. Turn slow cooker on high and turn to low when water begins to boil, usually in about 3-4 hours. Stir occasionally.

  4. Let stock cook on low for another 4-6 hours, being sure to stir. When stock is to taste, turn off your slow cooker.

  5. Take out bigger pieces in the stock with a slotted spoon.

  6. Using a colander and a cheese cloth, strain the rest of the liquid into a large bowl.

  7. When completely cooled, scrape fat off the top. This fat can be discarded or used in other recipes.

  8. Stock can be in the refrigerator for a few days, or it can be frozen in quart size bags of two cup quantities each. Be sure to freeze on a flat surface such as a cookie sheet.

Pro tips

To test doneness of stock, taste a piece of meat on the bone or a veggie. If it tastes like nothing or almost nothing, it is done. Leaving it on past that point won't hurt the stock, but you run a greater risk of your bones crumbling or breaking. Just be careful, okay?

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