After Thanksgiving Turkey Soup

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Yield: about 6 quarts


  • 1 turkey carcass
  • 2 to 3 medium size onions, roughly cut into several large pieces
  • 3 to 4 fat carrots, roughly cut into several large pieces
  • 2 large stalks celery, roughly cut into several large pieces
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, or as needed
  • 3 to 5 large cloves, garlic, bruised (smashed gently under the side of a chef’s knife)
  • 2 bay leaves, gently crushed
  • 1 teaspoon, dried thyme or 3 to 4 stems fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole peppercorns
  • 3 to 4 stems fresh parsley


  1. Place the turkey carcass in a shallow roasting pan. Include any meat clinging to the bones, and any other turkey bones you may have, including wings. Break off and discard any bones that appear so tiny that they might blacken in the browning process. Scatter the pieces of one onion around the bones. Place the pan with bones in a 350 degrees F oven, and roast for about 1 hour, turning the bones occasionally for even browning. The bones are roasted sufficiently when they are a rich brown color.
  2. While bones are roasting, sauté the remaining cut-up onion, along with the carrots and celery pieces, in a large skillet or pot, using just enough oil to keep them from sticking, until lightly browned. Add bruised garlic during last 5 minutes of cooking. Set aside.
  3. When bones are browned sufficiently, remove the roasting pan from the oven, and transfer all of its contents to a large stock pot. (Discard any blackened pieces.) Place the empty roasting pan over two burners, and add a cup or two of hot water. Scrape up all of the browned bits in the pan, and add to the mixture to the stock pot.
  4. Now, add to the stockpot: the sautéed vegetables, bay leaves, thyme, peppercorns and parsley. Pour over 8 quarts of cold water - or more, if needed, to cover everything in the stock pot by 3-4 inches. Bring the water to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, uncovered, 3 to 4 hours, to extract all the flavor from the ingredients. During simmering, stir occasionally, and skim off sediment as it rises to the surface, using a large shallow spoon.
  5. Strain finished stock through a chinois (“china cap” conical strainer) or other strainer into a clean pot or bowl. Discard the solids. If furthur reduction is desired, boil the stock to reduce. When reduction is completed, add salt to taste.
  6. Cool and refrigerate or freeze. Stock will keep in the refrigerator for three days.


Browning the bones makes a wonderful, rich soup stock!

Do not add salt until stock is reduced to desired strength - salt will not reduce, and if you salt too early, the end result will be over-salted.

If you wish to keep the stock for longer than three days without freezing it: on the third day, bring it to a full, rolling boil in a saucepan, boil for two or three minutes, then cool and re-refrigerate the stock in a clean container (don’t re-use the original storage container unless you wash it first). Each time you boil the stock, you will reduce it slightly, so the volume will be diminished – but, as long as you boil it every three days as described, you can safely keep it in the refrigerator.