When you’re cooking Turkey, one thing you can work on immediately (and then freeze) is your stock. This may seem boring, but stock is the backbone of many Thanksgiving dishes, most notably stuffing and gravy.
A bland, uninspired stock means sad stuffing and dull gravy, and sad and dull things have no place at your dinner table. To make happy stuffing and inspired gravy, you need a happy, inspired stock. Beyond following my basic guide to excellent stock, the easiest way to beef up bone broth is to add more bones.
I don’t know if you’ve heard, but bones are valuable—something of a commodity, one might say. Adding additional, non-turkey bones can boost the flavour of your bone water, and each bone brings something different. Here are my favourite bones for making stock that is truly money.
Add ham bones for smoky flavour
I come from a ham family. Though we don’t mind a turkey, salty, cured pork has always been our Thanksgiving main of choice, and the leftover bone was often used to make red beans and rice. But why limit the joy of ham to a single dish (plus a leftover meal)? You can spike your turkey stock with any leftover ham bones you might have knocking around your freezer, or you can purchase a ham hock from your favourite butcher.
While light on meat, simmering the chunky section of bone, connective tissue, and skin will give your stock a super savoury and smokey flavour boost, and infuse the whole pot with melty, rich collagen. After the hock has given its gifts to your stock, remove all the little meaty bits and add them to greens.
Add chicken feet for body
Feet require a little prep work, but the silky, mouth-coating stock you get as a reward makes the creepy pedicure totally worth it. (You can also add wings, but I’d rather consume those as a football-watching snack.)
Add lamb and beef bones for depth
Marrow bones, when roasted, are basically vessels of meat butter. Lamb bones—depending on the part of the lamb—can have a similar quality, but they also have a dark, deep flavour that gives your stock a hunter/angler sensibility. Oxtail brings a similar vibe. For best results, roast these bones at 230 degrees Celsius for about 20 minutes, until they are deeply browned.
Also, don’t feel limited to just one type of non-turkey bone, and don’t be afraid to double cook your stock. Rather than start with plain water, chuck your turkey and other non-turkey bones into some homemade chicken stock. Or buy a carton of turkey stock as your base, and infuse it with other, more exciting bones.