Rich Turkey Stock - One Thing That Will Make Your Thanksgiving Dinner the Best Ever

Dear god, that sounds like a headline from Cooking Light magazine or something. Sorry about that.

For quite a few years now I've made a large batch of rich turkey stock a few days or the weekend before Thanksgiving. I strongly recommend you do the same. Here's why:
  • The recipe is very easy to make, with surprisingly little time and effort.
  • The rich stock will make several of your thanksgiving dishes richer and more tasty than ever. I use it in gravy, stuffing and for braised vegetables.
  • It can save you a few dollars while massively increasing quality, compared to buying the ubiquitous cans of stock that suddenly appear en masse in the grocery stores in early November.
  • You'll start the "thanksgiving kitchen smells" a few days early!

Rich Turkey Stock
6 pounds turkey wings, drumsticks, and thighs
3 onions, cut into halves, skin on
3 celery stalks, cut into 3 pieces
3 carrots, cut into 3 pieces, skin on

Fresh Herbs: 10 parsley stems, 1 bay leaf
Spices: 10 whole black peppercorns, kosher salt
Equipment: Large roasting pan, large stock pot, thermometer (candy, oil, or instant read)

  1. Preheat oven to 500°F.
  2. Place turkey parts skin side down in a raosting pan. No oil or seasoning needed.
  3. Roast for 30 minutes, then turn peices over and roast another 20 minutes until golden brown.
  4. Transfer turkey parts to a large stock pot.
  5. Add vegetables to the fat in the roasting pan. After 10 minutes stir vegetables around and cook another 10 minutes, until golden brown.
  6. Transfer veg to stock pot. 
  7. Place roasting pan on stove (use two burners) and add 2 cups water. Turn heat to medium high and scrape up brown bits until they are released from the bottom of the pan.  Note: if there is excessive oil in the pan, drain some off before adding the water.
  8. Add the liquid and vegetables to the stock pot.. Add parsley stems, bay leaf, peppercorns, salt, and 4 quarts water.
  9. Bring water to 180 degrees and cook at that temperature  for 3 hours. Do not let the stock boil.
  10. Pour stock through a Chinois or large strainer discarding solids. If you wish, strain the stock a second time using a layer of paper towel or cheesecloth.

Stock before straining

Roasted Turkey Pieces

Roasted Veg


  1. I have always made my brown stock according to Julia Child's cookbook (the first one), but this method (with the oven browning) is superior. Turned out a very nice pot of stock. This is my method from now on! But I admit I just used the giblets and neck from my one turkey; we're only four for dinner this year.

  2. Glad you liked it Elaine. We've got quite a few converts this year. Reports range from "I've never turned my oven up to 500 before" through "The house smelled SO good yesterday".

    One more thought.....often this stock is so rich that after refrigeration it won't actually pour as a liquid, it drops out as a gel until it gets warmer. This is a GOOD thing if you happen to experience the same.


  3. Yes, I was expecting the gelatin to create that effect, since I had quite a few bones (including those from a roast chicken and its juices from a few days earlier.) The final product was wonderful. I used a cup in my cornbread stuffing, then 2 cups for the gravy....and it was all gone! (As I said, I made a considerably smaller batch.) There was so little fat that it was actually impossible to scrape it off the top of the stock.



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