When I can, I like to save wild game bones for stock. I usually bring large plastic bags with me when hunting, and after everyone has filleted all the breasts off their turkeys, my friends usually don't mind if I take the bones and legs. Then when I get home, I quickly rinse them off with cold water, pat dry, drop them in zip-top bags and stick them in the freezer. If it's just the carcass and bones I'm freezing, freezer burn isn't a big deal. But if I have some turkey thighs with good meat on them, I use a vacuum sealer.
These bones will make the best stock, and they're perfect for soups in the winter. Everyone knows that making your own stock at home is always better than the store-bought. And if you're going to make a wild game recipe that calls for stock, using stock made from the bones of that animal will make it so much more special.
Prep time: 5 hours
Cook time: 1 hour
Stock (makes about 3 quarts):
- 1 turkey carcass
- 1 large brown onion, halved and unpeeled
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 carrots, cut into large sections
- ½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- Small bunch fresh thyme
- 2 celery stalks, cut into large sections
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 large carrots, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 1 cup uncooked wild rice
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 2 quarts of turkey broth, warmed
- ½ teaspoon season salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Cooked turkey meat or leftover chicken, shredded or diced
- Freshly chopped parsley
- To make the stock, place turkey carcass (breast bones, back and legs – if you have them), onion, bay leaves, carrot, peppercorns, thyme and celery in a large stockpot. Fill with cold water until all ingredients are submerged, about 3-4 quarts. Bring to a simmer and cook, covered, for about 5 hours over low heat. Skim off any foam/scum that rises to the top. When the stock is cool enough to handle, strain through cheesecloth to remove solids. Set strained stock aside and keep warm. You can do this step a day ahead, and then reheat the stock when ready to use.
*I didn't have any turkey legs or thighs to use this time around, but if you do, save that meat. After about 1 half and 30 minutes of simmering, check for tenderness. If the meat is tender, remove them from the bones and reserve for later. If you don’t want to save the meat, then skip this step. The meat will just add extra flavor to your broth, but after 5 hours, don't expect to save it; the meat would've done its job and gave up the ghost.
- To start the soup, heat butter in a pot over medium heat. Add chopped onion with a pinch of salt, and then sweat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Next, add the wild rice and stir, coating all the grains with butter and allowing them to get slightly toasted, about 2-4 minutes.
- Add diced carrot and celery and sweat for another 5 minutes. Then sprinkle in flour and stir constantly for about 2-3 minutes to allow flour to cook. Then slowly and incrementally whisk in the warmed broth, allowing the soup to bubble and re-thicken after each ladle-full of broth; lower heat if necessary. (Depending on how thick or thin you like your soup, adjust the amount of broth you use. I used about 2 quarts of stock and saved the rest to thin out the soup for reheating leftovers.)
- Once all the broth has been incorporated, add thyme, season salt, garlic powder and coriander. Simmer soup for about 1 hour or until wild rice and vegetables become tender.
- Stir in heavy cream – use as much or as little as you’d like. Add salt and pepper to taste. Discard thyme sprigs. Stir in cooked turkey meat or any other leftover fowl you may have sitting in your refrigerator. I used leftover breast meat from a chicken that I roasted earlier in the week. Garnish soup with chopped parsley.