We had a terrific Thanksgiving this year…
…banner courtesy of my kids.
It was just the 4 of us: me, Dave, our son (6) and daughter (4). We shopped early, used Good Eggs to deliver our turkey and a bunch of organic produce on Tuesday night, and cooked only our favorite dishes. We kept the day really simple. Dinner at 5:30, because that’s when we usually have it, and because we couldn’t bear the idea of rushing to serve the entire meal by 3:00 while also running interference between little kids, who would then be hungry again right at bedtime. It worked. And we have lots of leftovers.
The day after Thanksgiving, I’m all about leftovers.
A nice soup is my answer to what to do with the turkey carcass, extra raw vegetables and herbs you may have on hand after Thanksgiving. Basically, you 1) make turkey bone broth in a slow-cooker while doing other stuff, 2) add leftover turkey meat, beans and vegetables, and you have a crowd-pleasing, nutritious meal in a bowl. Easy.
You might balk at how long it takes to make turkey bone broth.
Don’t. It’s worth it.
The active time is minimal, and if you have a slow-cooker, you can allow it to do your cooking while you sleep and/or are at work or chasing after your kids. You will have SO MUCH BROTH, you’d better have some jars on hand to freeze the extra!
Here’s my yield from this batch of turkey bone broth (minus 3 cups which I used to make the soup recipe I’ll share with you later this weekend):
As a working mom who prioritizes making organic, nutrient-dense meals for my family, I rely on what I call slow food shortcuts. Once every two weeks, I make a massive batch of grassfed beef bone broth and another batch of chicken bone broth in a slow-cooker, and freeze them in small glass jars so we always have some on hand. I sneak it into all kinds of dishes, not just soup – it’s my #1 Immunity Secret during cold season. It’s also super tasty!
This post is in two parts: right now, my turkey bone broth is done. The beans are cooking in the slow-cooker. The veggies are prepped. I’ve written the recipe.
Part One, which I share with you here, is how to make a turkey bone broth in a slow-cooker. Part Two, which I’ll share on Sunday, will include the Turkey, Bean & Vegetable Soup whose base is this turkey bone broth.
I’m excited to capture the responses from my family tomorrow night…For now, get started on the bone broth!
Turkey Bone Broth
Makes about 5 Quarts of broth (enough for several batches of soup, plus more broth to freeze for later).
Active Time: 10 minutes to prep, additional 10 minutes over a 24 hour period to check on it, remove from heat, transfer to refrigerator.
Total Cooking Time for broth: 24 hours, plus another 8 hours overnight to cool in fridge. If you’re using a slow-cooker, it’s best to start this recipe at night.
1 turkey carcass, with most of the meat removed (ideally from an organic, humanely and pasture-raised, and/or heritage turkey)
1 yellow onion, chopped into large chunks
2 carrots, peeled and chopped into large chunks
2 stalks celery, chopped into large chunks
2-3 stalks of fresh thyme, tied together
2 T raw apple cider vinegar
1 bay leaf
Water (to cover the carcass)
It is easiest to make bone broth in a 6.5 Quart Slow-Cooker, but if you don’t have a slow-cooker you can make it on the stove-top in a stainless steel stock pot. It just requires more hands-on time and “soup-sitting,” as the broth should be on a simmer continuously. (NOTE: I actually started the turkey bone broth on the stovetop this time, because my slow-cooker was in use; I brought it to a boil and then simmered, covered, for about an hour. Then I transferred it to the slow-cooker. Normally, I would just start it in the slow-cooker.)
1) Toss the turkey carcass into the slow-cooker.
2) Add enough water to completely cover the bones.
3) Add chopped vegetables, thyme, bay leaf and apple cider vinegar. Stir a few times with a wooden spoon, making sure all the bones and veggies are submerged in water. Add more water if necessary.
4) Turn the slow-cooker to HIGH for 12 hours.
Go do something else. (i.e. Sleep.)
5) After 12 hours on high, lift the lid and add about 3 cups of water. (Some water will have evaporated in cooking.) Stir. Cover again.
6) Re-set the slow-cooker and cook another 12 hours on HIGH. I checked the broth a couple of times within this 12 hour period, giving it a gentle stir with a wooden spoon, and adding another 1 cup of water.
After 18 hours it looked like this:
7) After the broth has cooked 24 hours, remove the slow-cooker from heat, and place on a counter, out of reach of small hands. Let it cool enough to handle (1 hour or so).
8) Strain out the veggies, bay leaf, thyme stalks and all the bones. Toss this heap of stuff into the trash.
9) Pour the broth into a stock pot with a mesh strainer placed inside it. (Not an affiliate link.) Skim off any remaining bits of detritus from the broth using a slotted spoon.
10) Place the pot of broth on the bottom shelf of the fridge, and cool overnight.
11) The next morning, you should see a layer of gelatin on top of the broth. (Homemade gelatin is a superfood, containing proline and glycine, used for centuries to improve digestive health, immunity, and strong bones. Don’t throw it away! Reserve it in a glass container in the fridge for later use. More on that here.) You do need to separate the layer of gelatin from the broth in order to make a tasty soup.
Photos of the finished meal to follow tomorrow night! Stay tuned…
What meals do you like to make using Thanksgiving leftovers?
Written by Abigail Morgan, L.Ac., Photos by Abigail Morgan, L.Ac, All Rights Reserved.