Being Thrifty

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.

Pressure Cooker

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.

Big Bowls of Broth

I was totally impressed with the amount of gel in this broth.

Look at that Gel

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.

The Final Product

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?



6 thoughts on “Being Thrifty

  1. Looked great, and you really made a lot of gel! Did you get another freezer? I have always had a small oven, so I cook my turkey overnight, carve it in the morning and put the carcass in a big pot with all the onions and vegetables and start simmering it for the rest of the day into the night. Gets all the mess out of the way before the company comes for dinner. That way the oven if free for the rest of the food. Works every time.

    • We did a lot of running up and downstairs to make use of the second oven. I wonder if the Mr misses waking up to the smell of turkey on Thanksgiving morning. We didn’t get another freezer, but we may have to start eating all those berries we picked with you last summer.

  2. I like the new little broth concentrates you can buy at the store, less storage. But I have always thought I should make broth. Maybe I’ll give it a shot with your inspiration.

    I’m not sure what we will have for dinner yet. I am thinking ham, too. I am intrigued by friends that do not have what I would call traditional – ham and turkey. I have one friend who has a different theme each year for the meal – I’m not sure I can go there. I think last year was Mexican.

    • My sister-in-laws family has a tradition of going out for Mexican food on Christmas Eve. It’s interesting how each family gets used to a certain tradition. My mom often hosted her extended family on Christmas Eve, but she usually had to work that day, too. We would have a long list of things to do, and the whole family brought something to share, so for me Christmas Eve is a potluck and White Elephant gifts. My girls look forward to new flannel pj’s on Christmas Eve and ham and scalloped potatoes the week after.

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