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Old 01-09-2011, 12:44 PM   #1
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ISO: Secret to "turkey" tasting turkey stock

For years, I have struggled to make the "perfect" turkey stock. I'm closer, but still think something is missing...here's how I make turkey stock:

I take the turkey, remove as much of the meat as I can, put the bones in a roaster, add water, pepper, fresh bay leaf, sage, parsley, rosemary, and thyme (I tie the sprigs and put them in), celery, celery seed, carrots, onions, fennel (small amount of the fresh leaves) and a spice ball with pickling spices in it. That goes in the oven at 250 for 3-4 hours (until the bones are brown). I strain that, let it cool so I can remove the fat and make soup from that. It is a "jelly" when cooled, so I think the "stock" part is working, it just doesn't have as much turkey flavor as I'd like.

What's missing? I don't use canned broth or bouillion cubes--too much sodium. Turkey is on the menu again for Thursday. I'm already thinking soup, but first I need to make the stock.

When I do the beef bones in the oven, the stock has fantastic beef flavor...I want the same from my turkey stock (not beef flavor, but fantastic turkey flavor).
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Old 01-09-2011, 01:01 PM   #2
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When I make turkey stock, I simmer the bones for about 6 hours. In addition to the roasted carcass, I add in the raw neck and giblets (not the liver).

You put a lot of competing flavors into the water with the bones. They could be masking the flavor of the turkey. Try simmering longer with fewer non-turkey ingredients. When done, if necessary, you can reduce the liquid volume to concentrate the flavor.

If you always make soup with all the broth, adding the soup seasonings to the simmering stock is fine but expect it to taste like soup, not stock.
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Old 01-09-2011, 01:07 PM   #3
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I never heard of roasting the bones, etc. when making poultry stock.

I just put everything in a big pot, cover with cold water and bring it to a boil slowly. I skim off any scum and then I simmer it until the meat is tasteless. Then I strain out the bones, bits of meat, etc. I taste the stock and reduce it if it doesn't have enough flavour.
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Old 01-09-2011, 01:21 PM   #4
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I have heard that boiling your stock causes the marrow in the bones to firm up before they can leach their flavor into the broth. As I understand it you have to raise the temp slowly to a simmer and no higher to get the best flavor. then of course long and slow cooking.
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Old 01-09-2011, 01:38 PM   #5
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One of the few things I make VERY well is turkey in gravy. It is a deceptively simple method with a shorter than short ingredient list. While it doesn't have the traditional look of a whole bird, I prepare turkey this way whenever I'm asked to do turkey dinner.

Preheat your oven to 400, and get a big roasting pan out. Cuts the legs and wings off. Next, cut the carcass in half, leaving the breast whole on top with the breastbone and partial ribs. The bottom will be the back and more of the ribs. Arrange the pieces in a roasting pan skin-side up along with the neck and giblets (minus the liver), and lightly rub them with some canola oil and salt. Pop 'em in the oven and roast until everything is golden brown. All we care about is color, so remove them when they're done.

Take a large stock-pot, and put the back, wings, neck, and giblets in the bottom. Next, put the legs in, followed by the breast. It's okay to press down to flatten pieces. You want to get them as compact as possible. De-glaze the roasting pan into the pot (with water, not wine), and add just enough water to cover the turkey, along with another generous dash of salt. Bring it to a simmer, and cook for six hours. Notice there are no bay leaves, sprigs of thyme, carrots, celery, or even black pepper!

After eight hours, remove the turkey pieces to a bowl - they will be fall-apart tender. Pour the mix of stock and fat through a fine mesh strainer into another large pot (you have two right?) to remove the vast majority of small bits you miss. Wash teh first pot, then use a gravy separator to yield a pot of stock and a bowl of rendered turkey fat. Note that quite a bit of that turkey flavor is in the fat! When the meat has cooled enough, separate it from the skin and bones into another bowl. Discard the skin and bones, as they have given their all.

Get the stock reducing some on a back burner, and make a roux with the turkey fat and some flour in the pot you've cleaned a couple times now (don't use butter or another oil). When the roux is golden in color, whisk in your stock. Bring it to a boil (which will be the point you reach maximum thickening power), and continue to simmer (and whisk now and then) until it reduces to the sauce/gravy consistency you desire. The last step is to season with salt and finely ground white pepper.

I usually reduce it to a gravy, and then fold the turkey back into it. This concoction is one of my favorite things on earth. I can eat it straight or as a dish in itself with rice/potatoes/bread. You can also add veggies and make a pot pie, dilute it a bit to make an amazing soup... or my favorite... Pilgrim sandwiches.
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Old 01-09-2011, 04:22 PM   #6
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I'd suggest editing the aromatics.

With so many competing flavors, and strong ones at that, it would be pretty hard to taste the turkey.
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Old 01-09-2011, 04:25 PM   #7
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Okay--my understanding is that broth is when you cook it on the stovetop and don't remove the meat from the bones, whereas stock is made by roasting the bones after the meat has been removed. Have I confused the two?
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Old 01-09-2011, 04:52 PM   #8
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You can make stock by roasting or not. Roasting makes a "brown" stock whereas not roasting makes a "white" stock. Both are good. When I make mine I let the bones simmer slowly, not a boil.

Also keep the bones covered.. if you make it too thin you can reduce the stock later. Don't try making, reducing and flavoring all in one go. I usually don't add the veggies and spices until near the end of simmering the bones.
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Old 01-09-2011, 05:23 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CWS4322 View Post
Okay--my understanding is that broth is when you cook it on the stovetop and don't remove the meat from the bones, whereas stock is made by roasting the bones after the meat has been removed. Have I confused the two?
Technically, "broth" is made from just meat and no bones.

"Stock" is made from bones. And meat most often.

The distinction is that one uses bones and the other does not.
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Old 01-09-2011, 05:26 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by joesfolk View Post
I have heard that boiling your stock causes the marrow in the bones to firm up before they can leach their flavor into the broth. As I understand it you have to raise the temp slowly to a simmer and no higher to get the best flavor. then of course long and slow cooking.
Boiling will emulsify the fat and water and give you greasy stock.
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