In October 2006, I was at Carnegie Public Library of Steuben County for some reason or another, and while waiting in their comfortably appointed periodicals section, I came across the current edition of Gourmet magazine, where I found a great recipe for making your own stock. It sounded so great I went out and bought a copy of the magazine, and I still have it somewhere in the house.

As the well-known former New York Times food writer and cookbook author Mark Bittman said in a recent posting, if you’re making your own soup, make your own stock. I would say the same goes with gravy, especially turkey gravy for Thanksgiving.

The Gourmet recipe for stock has been my go-to ever since 2006. It makes a large quantity, so often I share with friends. And I freeze left over jars of stock just in case I do a turkey on the grill or in the smoker later the following year. (I think it keeps a year frozen; Gourmet says three months. Make up your own mind.)

This is one of those recipes where if you want to make it really special, go to some place like Lakeside Farms in Angola or Albright’s Meats in Corunna to get your turkey parts. If you call ahead or if your timing’s right, you can get turkey necks or you can request turkey backs that work well in making stock. Just sub out these parts for those listed in the recipe by weight.

Once you try this recipe, you’ll never settle for boxed stock again. It’s time consuming, but it’s worth it. Added bonus: You get to make your house smell like roast turkey well before Thanksgiving.


— Mike Marturello

Turkey stock

Yield: Makes about 13 cups

Active Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 4 1/2 hour


• 6 pounds turkey parts such as wings, drumsticks, and thighs

• 3 medium yellow onions, left unpeeled, trimmed and halved

• 3 celery ribs, cut into 2-inch lengths

• 3 carrots, quartered

• 5 quarts cold water

• 6 fresh parsley stems (without leaves)

• 1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf

• 10 black peppercorns

• 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Special Equipment

• a 17- by 14-inch flameproof roasting pan


1. If using turkey wings, halve at joints with a cleaver or large knife, then crack wing bones in several places with back of cleaver or knife. (Do not crack bones if using other parts.) Pat turkey dry.

2. Put oven rack in lowest position of oven and preheat oven to 500°F. Roast turkey parts, skin sides down, in dry roasting pan, turning over once, until browned well, about 45 minutes. Transfer to an 8- to 10-quart stockpot with tongs, reserving fat in roasting pan.

3. Add onions (cut sides down), celery and carrots to fat in pan and roast, stirring halfway through roasting, until golden, about 20 minutes total. Add vegetables to turkey in stockpot.

4. Straddle pan across 2 burners, then add 2 cups water and deglaze by boiling, stirring and scraping up brown bits, 1 minute. Add deglazing liquid to turkey and vegetables in stockpot, then add parsley, bay leaf, peppercorns, salt and remaining 4 1/2 quarts water. Reduce heat and gently simmer, partially covered, 3 hours.

5. Pour stock through a large fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl, discarding solids. Measure stock: If there is more than 13 cups, boil in cleaned pot until reduced to 13 cups. If there is less, add enough water to bring total to 13 cups. If using immediately, let stand until fat rises to top, 1 to 2 minutes, then skim off and discard fat. If not, cool completely, uncovered, then chill, covered, before skimming fat (it will be easier to remove when cool or cold).

Note from Gourmet: Stock can be chilled in an airtight container 1 week or frozen 3 months.

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