The holiday meal is done, the table is cleared but your kitchen if full of leftovers. For many a repeat of our Thanksgiving favorites is fine for Friday. After all black Friday can be a hectic day and who wants to spend time cooking? Plus we cannot possible get enough of all of our holiday favorites on Thanksgiving, so round two goes well.
Even after a reheated leftover dinner for many there is still turkey to be had. I have fond memories of my mother-in law scraping the turkey carcass clean. Grandma had a use for every bit of turkey- and the carcass was the base of a great turkey soup base. We have pulled together a few ideas of what you can do with that leftover turkey.
How long will turkey leftovers be safe to eat?
The USDA recommends using cooked turkey within three to four days, kept refrigerated (40°F or less). Refrigeration slows but does not stop bacterial growth. USDA recommends using cooked leftovers within three to four days.
Once you have removed as much meat as possible from the turkey carcass, the bones are a great source for making soup base. But the process should begin when you are prepping to roast your turkey- remember to save the neck bone for stocking-making too. I also create a storage bag of leftover veggies when making the stuffing that can be added to the stock.
- 1 cooked turkey carcass (about 4 pounds), meat mostly removed and bones broken into large pieces
- 2 large onions, quartered
- 4 stalks celery, chopped
- 4 large carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- Few sprigs of fresh parsley or thyme (optional)
- Fill the stockpot. Place the turkey, onions, celery, and carrots in a large stockpot. Add enough water to cover, about 1 gallon.
- Bring to a boil. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Simmer about 3 hours. Once boiling, reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Simmer until reduced by half, 3 to 3 1/2 hours.
- Strain. Set a fine-mesh strainer over a large bowl.
- If not using immediately, divide the stock between several small jars or storage containers. Cool completely, then cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week, or freeze for up to 3 months.
Storage: Turkey stock can stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 3 months.
Stock- and broth-making is typically dependent on collagen from the bones for thickening, and even roasted bones contain a fair amount. This stock won’t set up as thickly as gelatin, but it will still be plenty rich and full of body.
Some favorite turkey leftover recipes:
This Leftover Turkey Soup is a fantastic way to use up leftover turkey (both meat and the bones!) from a roast turkey. It’s such a delicious soup that is ideal to keep in your freezer for those times you are looking for a quick and comforting meal. See the recipe.
For additional recipes for using up that leftover turkey, visit delightglutenfree.com.