We're all on a mission to waste less food and making a flavour-packed stock from your turkey carcass is the ideal way to use up leftovers and get more meals out of one roast. Check out our top 10 turkey leftover recipes for plenty of thrifty meal inspiration.
Turkey stock falls into two categories; the first is a stock you make beforehand with the neck, to use as the base for a gravy. The second is a stock you make after cooking with the leftover bones. You would use this as the base for other recipes in the same way you'd use chicken stock, in soups, sauces, stews and risottos. Take a look at our ultimate turkey recipe collection for everything from traditional roasts to curries with a twist.
How to make stock for gravy
If you're after a turkey-flavoured stock to use as the base for your Christmas gravy, then follow the instructions below just using the neck and giblet that come with the turkey. The giblet is the round, hard deep red muscle that comes in the bag inside the turkey. Do not use the liver.
If you're making a stock with the turkey bones, first pick all the meat off the bones and set them aside. You'll now have cold turkey meat to use in other recipes. The meat can be frozen for up to one month.
Basic stock recipe
A stock can be as basic as turkey bones and water, but a few simple extras can help it along.
- Tip the turkey bones and neck (if you have it) into a large saucepan or stock pot.
- Add roughly chopped onions, carrots, celery (if you have any), a few whole peppercorns, a sprig of fresh thyme and a bay leaf.
- Pour over enough cold water to generously cover all the ingredients.
- Bring the stock to the boil, scooping off any froth that forms on the surface, then turn down the heat and simmer everything gently for 3 hrs.
- Turn off the heat, leave the stock to cool slightly, then carefully strain into a container. The stock is ready to use, chill or freeze.
How to flavour your stock
The above recipe gives you a good basic stock, but if you want to boost the flavour or give it a deeper colour there are a few things you can do:
- To concentrate the flavour, the strained stock can be boiled until reduced by half.
- For a deeper flavoured, darker stock, the bones and vegetables can be roasted until lightly charred before using.
Using up leftover veg
Making stock is a great way of collecting and using up the parts of vegetables you might otherwise throw away. Carrot and onion peelings, celery leaves and parsley stalks can all be added to the stock.
How to make stock in a pressure cooker
Pressure cookers are great at making stock and really extract all the flavour out of the ingredients. Simply follow the basic stock method but cook on medium pressure for 30 mins.
How to make stock in a slow cooker
The joy of using a slow cooker to make stock is that you can just walk away and leave the stock to bubble away gently. Follow the basic stock method and cook on low for 8-10 hrs.
Freezing turkey stock
If you're not using your stock straightaway, leave it to cool, then it can be chilled for three days or frozen for up to one month. Freeze in usable portions and mark clearly what it is and when it was frozen. Skim off any fat on the top of the stock when cold, as this will help it last longer.
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More essential turkey techinques
For a simple step-by-step guide, watch our simple video tutorial how how to make stock.
Our 5 favourite turkey stock recipes
1. Tasty make-ahead gravy
Make the base for this gravy up to two days ahead with your turkey stock. Our tasty make-ahead gravy is one less thing to worry about come dinner time. It's packed with meaty flavour and earthy veg.
2. Asian noodle & turkey soup
Our Asian noodle & turkey soup takes inspiration from pho, a Vietnamese broth traditionally made with beef and plenty of fresh herbs. Warm up from the inside out with this easy, filling dish that takes just 20 minutes from fridge to bowl. Serve with a lime wedge for squeezing.
3. Spiced parsnip & ham soup
Use up Christmas leftovers and let nothing go to waste with our spiced parnsip & ham soup. Throw in cold roasties and parsnips with a glug of cream, combined with your turkey stock and turn standard veg into something special. Stir in a handful of shredded ham and top with a drizzle of cream for an extra dose of decadence.
4. Turkey minestrone
Warm up from the inside out with our terrific turkey minestrone. Packed with healthy ingredients, this comforting pick-me-up was made for chilly winter evenings. Need something nourishing after a Christmas of indulgence? Look no further.
5. Turkey ramen
Use mushrooms, miso and leftover gravy to add irresistible umami flavour to this rich turkey ramen. This dish has it all; chunky noodles, meaty turkey slices, a sensational savoury broth and an egg to top it all off. Forget soggy sandwiches, up your leftovers game with our nourishing noodles.
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What's your favourite use for turkey stock? Leave a comment below...