Homemade stock is a great way to add flavor and body to many different dishes. Flavorful chicken stock is a staple at my house, and sometimes I'll make a batch of rich beef stock. But one of my favorites is turkey stock. Whenever I make sous vide turkeyat home, especially for Thanksgiving planning, I always turn the bones into a wonderful stock.
Now that I almost always sous vide my turkey instead of roasting it, making a turkey stock ahead of time and using it to make turkey gravy is really important.
There are many ways to make a stock, depending on what you are planning on using it for, but at its most basic, it's just water, meat, bones, vegetables, herbs and spices simmered for a long time. I used to always make it on my stove but using my pressure cooker or Instant Pot not only speeds up the process, but it also produces a richer, deeper stock than simmering it...plus I don't have to tend the stove for an hour or two!
My go to stock method, especially when I'm making gravy, is to get a whole turkey that I can sous vide and remove the breasts, legs, and thighs, which I will cook later. If you have already roasted a whole turkey, you can use all the bones leftover once you've removed most of the tasty meat from them.
I then take the turkey wings and the body of the turkey and broil or roast it in the oven until the skin and meat begins to brown. This browning adds a lot of deep flavor to the stock but if you want a lighter stock you can skip the roasting.
To start the stock, I will saute some aromatic vegetables until they develop some color. Then I add some herbs and spices, the roasted turkey pieces, the neck and gizzard and cover it all with water. Seal the pressure cooker, bring it up to pressure (15 psi) and let it go for about 60 minutes.
Once it's done, remove the pressure cooker from the burner and let it depressurize naturally. Strain the bones and vegetables from the stock and it's ready to use. You can also freeze the stock and use it later. I usually freeze it in Ziploc freezer bags that are laid flat so it's easy to break chunks off over the next month.
The vegetables, herbs, and spices you use will depend on what you want your stock to taste like. A basic combination is carrots, onions, and celery with a bay leaf or two and some coriander, cloves, and peppercorns.
Some people really like the sweetness red pepper adds and most any vegetables, herbs, and spices will work, depending on what you are trying to accomplish. I know some people who don't use anything except for the bones themselves because they want the essence of the turkey to shine through.
I was planning on using about 80% of the stock for gravy, so I wanted to make a richer, more flavorful stock than I would have if I was just going to use it in unknown future dishes. I tossed in some garlic as well as rosemary, and thyme. I also didn't have any celery on hand so I just omitted it...like I said, it works with just about anything!
The longer you cook your stock the more flavor is pulled out of the ingredients. A 30 to 45 minute cook will result in a much weaker, lighter stock, which is sometimes desirable. I've found 60 minutes results in a real rich, great all around stock. Some people let it go longer but at some point all the flavor is extracted and you are just breaking down the ingredients way too much.
I generally just strain my stock using a colander but for a more refined stock you can use a chinois or cheesecloth to remove more of the particles.
In addition to being perfect for making turkey gravy, the stock is wonderful when a few tablespoons are added to sauteed vegetables or stir fries. It's also a great base for a turkey, vegetable, or meat soup.