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Turkey Stock v. Chicken Stock


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In anticipation of Thanksgiving, I am planning on making a turkey stock this weekend. However, since I am going to the trouble of making a big batch homemade stock, I am thinking that a chicken stock would prove more useful, as I can freeze it and use it on other occasions and in many other applications. So, here is my question: can I get away with using chicken stock on Thanksgiving (for making gravy, flavoring side dishes, etc.), or in your opinion, is actual turkey stock necessary?

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can I get away with using chicken stock on Thanksgiving (for making gravy, flavoring side dishes, etc.), or in your opinion, is actual turkey stock necessary?

Why not? My mother used to make chicken stock in advance, then enrich it with turkey parts and drippings for the gravy. Had a nice enough turkey flavor.

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In anticipation of Thanksgiving, I am planning on making a turkey stock this weekend. However, since I am going to the trouble of making a big batch homemade stock, I am thinking that a chicken stock would prove more useful, as I can freeze it and use it on other occasions and in many other applications. So, here is my question: can I get away with using chicken stock on Thanksgiving (for making gravy, flavoring side dishes, etc.), or in your opinion, is actual turkey stock necessary?

You should have no trouble using chicken stock in any of the dishes. You can always use the drippings from the turkey to make the roux for the gravy to get that turkey flavor.

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Thanks for the advice. Here is my next question: after dinner tonight, I'll have a leftover chicken carcass. Can I freeze this to make stock this weekend? I'm afraid that just keeping it in the fridge may cause it to rot and stink. Or will the carcass be useless?

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Thanks for the advice. Here is my next question: after dinner tonight, I'll have a leftover chicken carcass. Can I freeze this to make stock this weekend? I'm afraid that just keeping it in the fridge may cause it to rot and stink. Or will the carcass be useless?

The carcass can be used, but you will need to add other fresh bones to get that rich flavor and gelatin. Your stock will have a slight roasted flavor. Freezing it is a good idea.

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I generally make turkey stock the day after Thanksgiving and any other time I have a turkey (a couple of times a year. I then freeze bags of the stock and make cubes to use during the year. There is a wonderful Porteguesse soup with kale that I make with it, as well as keep the stock for other dishes. I generally take the wing tips and the neck from a defrosted turkey to make a small amount of stock for gravy while the Turkey is cooking. I have in the past, taken those parts and cooked them with chicken stock to make extra gravy when entertaining a crowd.

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I don't make turkey stock before Thanksgiving. I save the liquid in the bottom of the roasting pan after I roast the turkey, strain it, chill it, and pick off the fat. I use some of the fat to make a roux and the gelatinous stuff underneath as the liquid base of the gravy, supplemented with some chicken stock from the freezer. As soon as I carve the turkey, I pitch the carcass into a stockpot with mirepoix and start a batch of turkey stock. I boil down the finished turkey stock to concentrate it and take up less freezer space. The turkey stock is a fantastic base for gumbo--so good that I rarely have any left for anything else.

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My mother would take the giblets from the turkey and make stock for the giblet gravy. However, several T-Days ago, a group of my neighbors got together to suss out a dinner.

I went to Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking and looked at her stock recipes. I bought Turkey wings and legs (since I wasn't providing the roast turkey itself) and made the most wonderful stock out of them. Seriously. Turning this stuff into gravy was truly a case of "gilding the lily." One can roast the parts in the oven or do as I did and brown them in a pan before extracting the goodies. It's all good.

In my more ambitious days, I would save the carcass and wings of any chicken and freeze them until I got around to making stock. The problem was, of course, that this made much better stock than you can buy and I use chicken stock ALL the time. So, I saved it for special occasions--like when I made French Onion Soup.

Even the shrimp stock recipe I most love calls for CHICKEN stock. Who knew?

This reminds me of Madelaine Kammen's cooking show on PBS. She mentioned, off hand, that she made veal stock EVERY DAY. Veal stock. Which takes 12 hours. Where the hell does one get the bones without breaking the bank?

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I went to Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking and looked at her stock recipes. I bought Turkey wings and legs (since I wasn't providing the roast turkey itself) and made the most wonderful stock out of them. Seriously. Turning this stuff into gravy was truly a case of "gilding the lily." One can roast the parts in the oven or do as I did and brown them in a pan before extracting the goodies. It's all good.

I do the same, but try and stick with the wings, backs and necks (usually available around this time of year). The wings give the stock a lovely texture due to quantity of gelatin that they release. I also like a rich turkey stock, so I roast the ingredients (including the carrots, celery, onions, and garlic) before I add them to the pot. I use a portion of this for the gravy, and for the dressing, and use the left over as a soup base for the Friday after Thanksgiving when I make turkey and wild rice soup.

By the way, I also stick to chicken backs and wings for my chicken stock since I rarely have enough chicken carcasses to meet my needs.

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A word to the wise, though - turkey carcass is about 1.5 times richer and more gelatinous than chicken carcass. Be careful about letting it go as long as you would for chicken, or you'll wind up with an oily mess. (I'd strip out part of the skin, as well).

For TG, I always use the neck and giblet trick (no liver), stretched with chicken stock if you run out. I think thanksgiving flavor is all about the stronger flavor of turkey - chicken seems kind of wussy to me.

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A word to the wise, though - turkey carcass is about 1.5 times richer and more gelatinous than chicken carcass. Be careful about letting it go as long as you would for chicken, or you'll wind up with an oily mess. (I'd strip out part of the skin, as well).

I think of turkey as more flavorful, but not really significantly greasier than chicken. It's not like duck or goose or anything. I let my turkey stock go LONGER than I do chicken stock and the result is definitely not oily. I don't put the skin in the stockpot, though, and I skim foam off the top and keep it at a slow simmer rather than a hard boil. I also chill it and pick off the fat before using it.

After what I said earlier, I'm having to backtrack. My friends are bringing a turkey and a fryer this year to deep-fat-fry the sucker, so I'll need to make a turkey stock in advance to use for gravy. I will not just make a chicken gravy with no turkey fat or stock, although if I was roasting the turkey like I usually do I would stretch the gravy with chicken stock as I previously described.

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