Undoubtedly, there was some over-indulging that happened yesterday, as there is with every holiday, when bowls and platters keep pouring out of the kitchen until there is hardly room on the table for even the place settings. With knees bumping under the table, we proceed to pile our plates high, sampling every dish, until our plates resemble the abundance of the table itself. And if that isn’t enough, even though we’ve already pushed our chairs back (and discretely undone the top button of our pants!) we still find room for that decadent piece pumpkin pie placed in front of us.
While there is a time for feasting (and Thanksgiving, in my books, is certainly one of them), there must also be a time, if not to fast, then at least to purge the extras; a chance to give our bodies a rest from the hard work of processing ample calories (and, depending how “clean” we eat, chemicals!) and indulge instead in foods that nourish and heal.
Animal fats, like all fats, have had a bad rap in the past, and health authorities encouraged us to eat as little of it as possible. But new evidence continues to suggest that not all fats are created equal, and that the fat from animals that have been pasture raised, without hormones, steroids, antibiotics, or GMO feeds, are some of the most healthful, even healing fats we can consume. Not to mention that many of the nutrients our body needs can only be absorbed in the presence of fat.
Our grandmothers really did know best when chicken soup was given as a remedy for the common cold. The nourishing enzymes present in bone broth, along with all of the nutrients that the vegetables have released while cooking, create an easy to digest, nutritionally dense food that supplies our bodies with everything it needs to reduce inflammation and boost immunity. And what better time to make this stock than the day after Thanksgiving, with the leftover turkey carcass and drippings, and a digestive system in need of a little rest.
Homemade Turkey Stock (Bone Broth)
Carcass of one turkey (or two chickens)
1-2 gallons (4-8 litres) of water (Depending on how long you simmer the broth, and how much evaporates. It doesn’t need to be precisely measured at this point.)
4-6 carrots, cut into quarters
4-6 stocks of celery, with tops, cut into quarters
two medium white or yellow onions, peeled and quartered
4-6 bay leaves
1 tablespoon peppercorns
Apples, fennel, leeks, garlic, parsley, rosemary, ginger, thyme
Do not add:
Broccoli, cauliflower, kale, chard, cabbage, brussel sprouts; nothing from the brassica family
Place turkey carcass in the bottom of a large stock pot, and fill approximately 3/4 full of water.
(If using a regular dutch oven sized pot, fill the pot 3/4 full; once it has reduced to half, fill it back up to 3/4 full and allow to continue reducing. Continue to do this two to three more times depending on how long you let it simmer. Again, an exact water measurement is not necessary.)
Place over high heat and allow to come to a boil. Then reduce it to medium low heat, and allow to simmer, covered. Stir periodically.
Simmer for anywhere from 2-12 hours.
Add the vegetables and herbs one hour before the broth has finished simmering to retain as many of the nutrients as possible. (Or add at the beginning, if you are prone to forget, like I am.)
At this point, I do not add salt to the stock. I salt it once I am using it in a dish, so I can taste it as I go.
Simmering for two hours will produce a thin, light stock. Simmering for six hours or longer will develop a deeper flavor, and create a thicker, more condensed broth. It will turn gelatinous as it cools. It can be diluted, one part water to two parts broth. Simmering for the full twelve hours will condense the broth to the point where it is completely solidified once cooled. It can be diluted one part water to one part broth.
Once done simmering, remove the larger bones and vegetable pieces with tongs, and then pour broth through a strainer to remove the finer bits. Store in a glass bowl or jars to refrigerate, and then transfer to freezer safe dishes if you wish to freeze.
Makes approximately 4-6 quarts or litres (I use the large, wide mouth mason jars for storage.)