06 January 2009

Our family holiday celebration; homemade turkey broth

We alternate hosting the family Hanukkah celebration every other year with my wife’s sister and her family. We did it last in 2006, so this year was our turn again.

In preparation for the party, we had our traditional cookie factory. We actually have the cookie factory every year, and I bring the cookies when the party is at my sister-in-law’s house. (Click here to read about our cookie factory in 2006.)

Our dinner menu included a turkey roasted on the Weber grill, latkes (see photo below), corn, challah, and homemade applesauce. I blogged about making latkes in 2006; this year my daughter and her husband helped with the frying.

Everything turned out nicely, and we had a fun party. After we were done cleaning up, we had this nice turkey carcass, ideal for making homemade turkey broth. Here’s the recipe I used.

1 turkey carcass

1 large carrot

1 medium onion

2 stalks celery

2 teaspoons peppercorns

1 tablespoon dried rosemary

2 bay leaves (or other herbs)

Break down the carcass to fit in a large soup pot. Cover the carcass with water. Cut the carrot and celery into 2-inch chunks. Quarter the onion. Add vegetables to pot. Add seasonings. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 5-6 hours until the carcass is thoroughly cooked and any meat that was clinging to the bones falls into the soup. Strain into containers and freeze.

Seasoning: I don’t salt my stock, but you can add salt if you prefer. (I feel you can always add salt when you use the broth.) In my garden, I had some lemon basil that produced lots of buds by the end of the season. When I harvested the basil, I stripped the buds from the stalks and froze them separate from the chopped basil leaves. I used the buds as seasoning for broth instead of bay leaves. You could use any combination of herbs that you like.

Cooking time: The broth would have had a lot of flavor after only and hour or so of cooking. But I like the depth of flavor that you get if you cook it longer. By the time the remaining meat is falling of the carcass bones, you’ve extracted about as much flavor as you can. (We reserved the chunks of turkey from the soup and froze it for future use in turkey salad.)

Storage and use: I freeze the broth in plastic containers, usually 3 cups in volume. That’s just about right for use in risotto or most of my soup recipes. You can freeze in any size container that you like.

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