If you like to cook, chances are good that a lot of recipes you come across for stews, soups or sauces require some sort of stock. There's nothing wrong with store-bought stock, BUT, the flavor benefit you get from making your own is UNREAL. I'm of the belief that using homemade stock is one of the single greatest thing you can do to elevate your cooking. And beyond the amazing flavor, making stock is a great way to utilize the bones and carcasses of your wild game quarry, or of your store-bought rotisserie chicken! It's also ridiculously easy to make. Trust me, try this recipe once and you'll never discard your animal bones again.
3 to 4 lbs. of wild turkey bones (or any other animal bones, wild or farm raised)
3 stalks of celery, chopped in half
1 carrot, chopped in half
1 large onion, quartered
1 handful of fresh parsley (5-10 sprigs)
1 handful of fresh dill (5-10 sprigs)
1 head of garlic, chopped in half horizontally through all the cloves
2 tbsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. black peppercorns
1 tsp. fennel seeds
2 dried bay leaves (I like Turkish bay leaves)
1 star anise pod
3 tbsp. vinegar (apple cider or white wine work great)
3-3.5 quarts water
*Note: The above ingredients are just a guide. Part of the spirit of stock is using up leftovers, so feel free to use basically whatever you have on hand! I didn't have a carrot for this batch, so I threw in a pepper. Hate garlic? Leave it out then. Making stock is a lot more relaxed than cooking a lot of other things, so experiment and have fun with it!
Thaw out your bones that you've been saving in the freezer. For this batch I used mostly wild turkey bones from the birds my dad and I killed this Spring in New Hampshire. But I didn't quite have enough, so I added some leftover domestic chicken bones. Part of the spirit of making stock is just using up what you have! So I'm never overly-concerned with mixing different animals. Just know that poultry bones vs. large ungulate bones (cow, deer, etc.) will yield very different flavors, so be sure to experiment to know what you like.
Spread your bones out onto a roasting pan or baking sheet, and set them into the oven at 425 degrees for about 25 minutes, or until they are nice and roasty and your kitchen smells like Thanksgiving!
Layer your roasted bones with your vegetables and spices into an Instant Pot or other electric pressure-cooker. (You can also use a slow-cooker or just a stock pot on the stove, but this requires a much longer cook time, and at least for the stove-top method, requires regular checking and adding water to compensate for condensation loss. I HIGHLY recommend an Instant Pot instead.) Cover with 3-4 quarts of water, but be sure not to fill your pressure cooker beyond the maximum fill-line.
Close and secure the lid, then pressure cook on high for two hours. I prefer to a let the pressure release naturally, but you can manually vent it if you are short on time too. What you are left with is a delicious, golden-brown liquid with depth and flavor that is hard to describe. The alchemy that happens under pressure is those two hours produces a broth that is both a sum of all the ingredients, but also something new and altogether different. And again, I cannot stress enough just how much better this will taste than store-bought stock.
Allow the mixture to cool, and then strain into whatever vessel you'd like. I prefer to use the wide-mouth canning jars from Ball in 1-quart size as seen in the fist photo, but you can use the plastic quart sized takeout containers, or Tupperware, or whatever you have on hand. Then refrigerate the stock if you're going to use it within a few days, or freeze it and it will keep for up to a year. ***IMPORTANT: If you're freezing stock in a glass container, leave the lid off and leave some space to allow for expansion. Only put the lid on after it's fully frozen. Another good trick I learned is to freeze some of the stock in standard ice-cube trays, and then store the cubes in a Ziplock bag in your freezer. One stock cube will equal an ounce of liquid stock once it's unfrozen, and this way your stock is already measure for smaller amounts! Need just a cup of stock? Grab 8 stock cubes from the bag!
I hope you guys enjoy this recipe and that it enriches many of your meals to come. Leave a comment below if you make some stock, I want to know how it turns out!
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