How many of my readers can confess to having tossed a chicken or turkey carcass in the rubbish in a pang of exhaustion, in a  kitchen full of dirty dishes, after cooking a big meal? I for one do not enjoy standing and picking the meat off a carcass with my fingers.  But I also do not enjoy preparing a soup recipe only to find out, after putting lots of time into it, that it mostly tastes like the stock I bought from the store. I don’t cook a whole bird but maybe once a month, and when I do I buy very high quality poultry, so it always makes me feel terrible to throw any away.  But having it hang around also seems like THE WORST sometimes.

wish bone

So I am writing to you today, two days before Thanksgiving, to put a bug in your ear about how to overcome the carcass-burnout syndrome.

Take that turkey or chicken– dont worry about the meat left on it– toss it in your slow cooker. (You will have to break up a turkey carcass unless you have a very large slow cooker– hack it in two, freeze half in a plastic bag.)

chicken stock, in two jars


Add whatever you have on hand: onion, celery, garlic, bay leaf, thyme, parsley, carrots.  And then if you have it, add about a cup of white wine.  Then about ten cups of water, until it covers the carcass.  Then a tsp of salt.  If you dont have any of this stuff, that’s ok.  I have even done this with granulated garlic, and it is still superior to the store bought stock.

Cook it on low for 8 hours.  The carcass will completely fall apart.  Ladle it through a strainer into a large pitcher or bowl, and let it cool in the refrigerator.  Once cool, you can portion it into freezer bags for later use.  And if you do this right away, the night of Thanksgiving, you can use the stock to make turkey soup the next day.  Let me know if you do this– I would love to find out I had enabled homemade stock into happening.