I’ll be honest, sometimes I take the easy way out. I have thrown away more than one chicken or turkey carcass in my lifetime.
I had all sorts of excuses: it takes too long, I’ll never get around to using it, it’s messy, everyone just throws them away, I don’t have room to store all that broth, it’s more trouble than it’s worth.
A few years back I hosted the big family Thanksgiving for the first time in years and decided I’d get all domestic and make broth. One of the blogs I follow had this recipe for turkey stock. I could totally do this. Well, it involved simmering overnight…that was not my idea of fun. I tend to worry. I try not to, but it’s just the way I’m wired. I think of something bad, then horrible, than everything totally spirals out of control. Maybe the outlet will burn out, maybe the stove will catch on fire, maybe the house will burn down. You get the idea. Letting something simmer overnight is just a really bad idea for me.
Then last month, I came across a recipe for turkey broth made in a pressure cooker that said it took less than an hour. Yes, less than an hour. This is so totally doable.
I have my mom’s giant pressure cooker that she used to can beans ages ago. While in years past I’ve grown a proliferation of pole beans, my girls don’t really like my attempts at canning beans, so the pressure cooker hasn’t seen a lot of action. I was game and gave this whole broth-making thing another go.
Basically, you put the turkey/chicken bones, carrots, celery, onions, garlic, and some herbs in a pressure cooker. Cover the whole mess with water. Seal your pressure cooker, and then bring it to 15 pounds of pressure for 15 minutes. Now this is the part that gave me a few palpitations. I had visions of the weight flying off and whacking someone in the head or crashing through a window. I stayed nice and close, adjusting the heat so the pressure stayed high without going crazy. When the times up, you take it off the heat and let the pressure release naturally.
The pot is really hot, and it weighs a ton. So let it cool awhile before you strain it into bowls, and then put it in the fridge overnight. You can remove any fat (if you wish), and put it smaller containers to freeze.
I was totally impressed with the amount of gel in this broth.
Gel is a good thing. Apparently, it aids the liver in removing toxins from the body. The recipe suggested asking your butcher for chicken feet–if it doesn’t gross you out. The Mr was grossed out simply by the jell-o like consistency of the broth minus any feet. I love him enough to care about his liver function and toxin levels. Don’t worry; the broth turns back to a liquid when you heat it up.
The next day, I started dividing it into glass and plastic containers for the freezer.
I do believe I’m set for the next few months. While I’m not a big fan of the overnight-cooking method, the pressure cooker broth is a breeze. And the turkey soup I made from the last of the Thanksgiving leftovers was quite tasty.
I love getting good food for free–after all that carcass was headed for the trash. Now I have beautiful stock stacked in my freezer. My dad isn’t a fan of poultry, so we’ll be serving ham on Christmas Day. I imagine I’ll still pick up a small turkey on sale this month. I need to practice my convection roasting in our new oven, so next year I’ll be an old pro.
Check out the full recipe at An Oregon Cottage.
Did your turkey bones end up as broth or in the garbage? What’s your favorite way to make stock? What’s on the menu for Christmas Dinner?