I didn’t cook Thanksgiving this year, but when my friends were about to throw the turkey carcass away, I snatched it up. 5 cups of turkey and 8 cups of stock later…. And here is the longest post I will ever create.
The Turkey Carcass
- 1 large turkey carcass
- Aromatics and spices (like a bay leaf)
- A big pot- or creatively use a small one
Don’t judge me for the photos- I currently own one pot- which was obviously too small for the carcass of an 18 pound turkey- but essentially I just put the carcass in a pot, cover with water, and boil for a while (2 to 3 hours); you can add other stuff to make the stock tasty but you don’t really have to. Options are onions, celery, garlic, spices, the classic bay leaf…
After a few hours, hopefully it is a big pile of bones, meat, and liquid that has become friendly. Spoon off the weird foamy looking stuff on top- this is extra grease and fat that you don’t really need, so just get rid of it. Strain out the liquid and just dive into the solids. Separate the good meat from the bones and other stuff. (Don’t forget to save the wishbone and dry, for fun times later).
I like to use my fingers because I hate to waste even a little bit of it (plus you really get to know your food)- but you could use utensils. Now you should have a pile of delicious meat and a big pot of good looking stock. I ended up with 5 cups of meat and 8 cups of stock- which then became a few more meals that week- including the following Stuffing Dumpling Stew.
But there it is- if you ever throw your carcass away, shame on you. shame.
At this point, you can put the pieces in the fridge to use later. If you do this, the stock may get another layer of film on the top after it is cold, so just spoon this off and discard again.
Stuffing Dumpling Stew
Ingredients for a dozen golf ball sized dumplings:
- 3 cups of stuffing
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup of flour
I think that Thanksgiving has turned into a competition of stuffings, and like a good lover of food, I firmly believe that my mother’s stuffing is the best recipe out there. I will fight you to the death on that one. She uses a combination of wild rice, stuffing box, italian sausage, and the sautéed trifecta- onion, celery, garlic. Add chicken stock and bake off. Since this is all about leftovers, I am not going to give you that recipe..
The stuffing itself tastes better as leftovers, but this year, we decided to get a little creative. We mixed the leftover stuffing with egg and flour, rolled into balls on a floured counter, and put them in the fridge for an hour or so to form.
Now, these dumplings were dropped into the stew we made- and like any stew, it starts with a good old fashioned rue. To make the stew, put butter, diced onions, and garlic in a pan, heat up, add some flour and let it cook into a nice thick rue. The longer you let the rue cook, the thicker and darker your stew will be. I wanted a stew, so we let it cook down a bit on a medium low heat. When you are ready, add the turkey (ours came from the carcass) and the stock, a little bit at a time. Season and add anything else you want. We added some leftover roasted vegetables made in the last post. Simmer for 5-10 minutes or so. Drop in the dumplings. They should take 5-10 more minutes. You know they are done when they float. And you are done. whew.
Ingredients for Stuffing Dumpling Stew- makes about 6 servings
- 1/2 diced onion
- 4 garlic cloves
- 4 tablespoon butter
- 1/3 cup of flour
- 8 cups of stock
- 3 cups of turkey
- 12 stuffing dumplings
- Vegetables- I added leftover beet vegetables from the last post…
Sometimes you just swim in leftovers, especially after Thanksgiving, so you know that leftover turkey (2 more cups) ended up in lunch burritos, sandwiches, whatever- you know that part already..
And yes, we had leftover dumpling stew- so the next post is about what we did with that and this crazy casserole we made. Because Thanksgiving is about leftovers on top of leftovers on top of leftovers. Another reason I love Thanksgiving so much…