Don’t throw away your turkey bones! They are easily turned into a delicious Vegetable Soup, in two stages, starting with Slow Cooker Stock.
I guess we all have our weak spots and stock is one of those for me. I always feel horribly guilty if I just throw away the chicken bones after a roast. Even so, at times, you feel life is too short so I do just chuck them. But the one thing I can never bring myself to bin is the turkey carcass. Even though making stock isn’t really an Everyday Cooks kind of thing, it really can be in the slow cooker.
For years I made stock in a pressure cooker but it got to feeling like hard work because you have to attend to it, and I didn’t feel like it so I stopped making stock altogether. But I had a bit of an epiphany when I realised I could make it in the slow cooker. It is so forgiving. You can leave it for days (and I have) and it’s okay. Probably not weeks, but 3 or 4 days doesn’t hurt. Ideally, though you put it on one day and sort it out the next, which really takes the pressure off (no pun intended).
The only downside – to making stock in general – is that it can smell a bit. If you keep the lid on it’s really not too bad, but I do find that using the extractor and burning incense or strong scented candles – or whatever you do to get rid of cooking smells – helps. Oh, and keep the kitchen door closed.
At this time of year, it takes all my energy just to deal with the leftover turkey, so I take it off the bone one day and make the stock on the next 2-3 days (because it will take two batches to deal with all those bones). Finally, I freeze the stock or make it into Christmas Vegetable Soup, which is great for lunches on cold days.
Slow Cooker Stock
- Turkey or chicken bones
- 1 large carrot
- 1 medium onion
- 1 bouquet garni
- 6-12 peppercorns
- 1 bay leaf
- Other spices - see Note
- Break/cut and flatten the breast bones. Especially with a turkey as, otherwise, it takes up too much space
- Put the bones in the slow cooker. Depending on the size of your cooker, you may need to do this in more than 1 batch. I always do 2 batches for a turkeyDon't cram the cooker, leave room for plenty of water or you won't get all the goodness out of the bones
- Scrub the carrot and trim. Cut into 3-4 pieces. Add to cooker
- Peel the onion and cut into 4 pieces. Add to cooker
- Add the herbs and spices
- Cover with water to just below the top of the slow cooker. If the stock is too weak, we will reduce it later
- Set your slow cooker to Auto if you have it (this gets the temperature to High, then turns it to Low)
- Use Low if you think you will leave the stock for more than a day
- Leve to cook for 12-24 hours
- When you're ready, strain the stock through a colander to remove the bones
- If your colander has large holes you may need to use a sieve to remove small seeds or pieces of meat/bone
- Leave the stock to cool or use immediately for soup.
Everyday Cooks tips:
- To dispose of the bones, wrap in newspaper before putting in the bin
- If the stock is too weak, reduce by boiling in a large saucepan with the lid off until it has halved in volume. (This may take up to 20 minutes, but keep an eye on it).
- Reduce and freeze in an ice cube tray to add to stir-frys or stews
- Spices to use: I have pared down my spice cupboard, so I only use the three spices/herbs I've listed, but you could add mustard seed if you have it. The only one you really need is the bouquet garni.