RECIPE: Thanksgiving Turkey Soup Stock

Last night I carved my first turkey. Having emerged back into carnivorous living after 15 years meat-free, this was a genuinely novel experience. My inner scientist was reliving memories from the cadaver lab in college, my inquisitive child was exploring the newness of the entire experience, and my 15 year old vegan self was in shock, then likely passed out completely since I heard no word from her.

I clumsily picked apart the bird and was left with the bones. A perfect, perfect excuse for homemade soup stock.

Making soup stock from bones is powerful medicine. The long cooking time in stock allows the heat of the water to penetrate the bone, releasing really potent nutrition into the stock. What is leftover is nothing short of medicine — cures for the common cold, liquid bone-building nutrition, numerous nutrients that can penetrate into our bodies and revitalize, nourish, and rebuild us during these dormant winter months.

Below is a stock recipe which the household turkey is contributing to. Again I have an opportunity to give thanks for its life and maximise its gift to the household. Again I have a chance to be grateful for such nourishment and celebrate its life by going forth and celebrating my own.

Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Stock:

  • 1 Organic turkey carcass
  • 10 to 12 cups water
  • 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup carrot slices
  • 1 celery rib, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 burdock root, scrubbed clean and chopped
  • 1/2 large onion, cut into chunks
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1 small whole dried red pepper
  • 2 sprigs rosemary (or 1 tbsp. dried)
  • 1 sprig sage (or 2 tsp. dried)
  • 1/2 tbsp. dried oregano
  • 4-8 whole peppercorns
  • sea salt to taste (or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos if you tolerate soy well)

Place broken bits of turkey in a large soup pot over medium-high heat and cover with water by at least an inch. Add vinegar, carrots, celery, burdock, onion, garlic and herbs and spices. Cover and bring slowly to a boil; reduce heat to low and skim off any scum on surface. It is important to simmer your stock and do not continue to let it boil. This leads to a richer tasting stock. Furious bubbling breaks up particles and causes clouding also. Cover the pot and simmer approximately 3 to 4 hours.

Remove from heat to strain. To remove smaller bits in the stock pour the liquid through a fine mesh sieve placed over a large pot. Discard turkey bones, meat, and vegetables. Place stock into shallow containers and refrigerate immediately. Refrigerate soup stock overnight and skim any congealed fat from the surface in the morning, if desired.

The stock will last for about a week in the fridge. You can freeze the stock and it should maintain taste and quality for about three months. This nutritive stock can be used for turkey soup, as the liquid for boiling brown rice or other whole grains, or as a healing broth for the ill over the winter season.

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  1. I love making stock from thanksgiving turkey! I use a similar recipe but also add sweet potatoes and I toss in a few bags of tea as well – last time I used an indian detox tea, but generally it’s just a black tea, usually chinese.

  2. Anne,

    This is a great idea! I can imagine the tea would add a delicate flavor to the stock. From a health standpoint, tea adds antioxidants and the tannins in black tea will help leach some of the minerals out of the stock bones. AWESOME TIP!

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