When life gives you a turkey, make turkey broth.
Whether you are a hunter or not, most of us bring home only a few turkeys in any given year, so you owe it to yourself to make a nice broth from the carcass.
You can make broth from a skinned or plucked turkey, and you can either use the wings in this broth, or save them for another recipe; either is fine. You can also use a cleaned gizzard and the heart if you want.
Incidentally, I am calling this turkey broth and not turkey stock because it is rich enough to use on its own. It would be a great broth for tortellini.
I set the turkey broth to a simmer for 8 hours, or overnight. I don’t let it boil. With 90 minutes to go, I add the vegetables, herbs and some crushed up, dried mushrooms. Any kind of mushroom will do. It adds a savory note to the broth.
Strain your broth through a paper towel set in a sieve that is itself set over another pot or a large bowl. Then you ladle the broth through this instead of pouring it all through. Why? This keeps the broth very clear, almost as clear as a consomme.
I only add salt after I strain. Or, you can simmer the broth down until the ambient amount of salt in it tastes right. A typical wild turkey will yield 3 quarts to a gallon of broth. A big store-bought turkey will yield a gallon or more.
Again, this is way more of a rich broth than a base stock — golden, clear and oh-so full of turkey goodness.
Wild Turkey Broth
- 1 turkey carcass, hacked into large pieces
- 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 3 leeks, washed well and chopped (including green tops)
- 3 celery stalks, chopped
- Stems from 1 bunch parsley, chopped
- 1 parsnip, chopped (optional)
- 2 or 3 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1 small handful of dried mushrooms, crushed (optional)
- 1 fennel bulb, chopped (optional)
- Break up the turkey carcass into large pieces so it will fit in the pot. Use the largest stockpot you have. If you have not cooked the turkey already, roast the carcass with a little oil and salt at 400F until it is nicely browned, about an hour. Or, you can make a lighter broth by covering the uncooked turkey carcass with water, bringing it to a simmer (not a full boil) and skimming off any scum that floats to the surface. Do this for 15 minutes or so and then proceed.
- Let the turkey simmer very gently -- you want the surface of the pot to barely shimmy, not bubble much at all -- for at least 2 hours and up to 12 hours. When you want to finish your broth, add the vegetables, herbs and mushrooms and simmer gently for another 90 minutes.
- To strain, set a paper towel in a strainer and put the strainer over another large pot. Ladle the broth through the paper towel to filter out any debris. You might need to change the paper towel midway through the process.
- Now you can either add salt to the finished stock or jar it as-is. If you plan to freeze the broth, leave about an inch of headspace in the jar, otherwise the expanding broth-ice will crack the glass. You can also pressure can this stock.
Robert V says
This is very similar to my broth recipe. Except the dried mushrooms, I’m excited to try that. I also use a Chinese cleaver and garden looping shears (yes, I kinda clean them) to break up the bones and expose the marrow, seems to add substance to the broth.
Brian Netzel says
Hank- I have made your venison stock recipe every year since I found it, but happen to have a wild turkey carcass and intend to do this now. Question- with the venison stock recipe, you start with cold water. same story here or does it not matter as much with the smaller bones/joints, etc.?
Hank Shaw says
Brian: It matters less here, but I like to add either store-bought chicken feet or straight gelatin to these broths.
Kathleen Hargadine says
Hank – years ago I came across your recipe for brining a wild turkey. Sadly, I misplaced it and cannot seem to find it on your website. Is it possible to get ahold of it again? Thanks a million!
Hank Shaw says
Kathleen: I never had any such recipe, sorry. I never do that. If you are talking about brining a turkey breast in preparation for smoking it, I do have that recipe. It’s here: https://honest-food.net/smoked-turkey-breast-recipe/
Kathleen Hargadine says
Hank – thanks for your quick response! I appreciate the info/link to your brine for smoking. I have used your recipes for years and absolutely love your site!
PS I do brine my wild turkeys and use the salt/water ratio you recommend for other brines – – along with lemon, white wine, bay leaf, brown sugar, onion, spices.
They turn out tender and juicy. I thought I had used your recipe for that, but when I couldn’t find it, I flew by the seat of my pants from memory and everything turned out great!
ROBERT G says
This recipe does not disappoint. Though I love fennel, I only used 1/3 of the bulb. The resulting broth was amazing! Thanks, Hank!
Hi Hank! I think it’s great that you used all of the bird…no waste! The stock looks wonderful and rich. Thanks again for joining us for Grow Your Own!
The real keeper is plucking the feathers… Way to go!
maybelles mom says
How exciting to get a wild turkey. They are very very tricky. I can’t wait to read more about the use of the meat.