Bones - turkey carcass, chicken carcass, or beef bones
2carrots(or one large)
1-2tbspapple cider vinegar(optional)
1bunchherbs(assorted, see notes)
Cold filtered water(to fill pot)
Cut up the vegetables into large pieces. I like to cut the onion through the stem end into quarters or eighths. The carrots and celery stalks I cut into 2-3 inch long pieces.
Make your Bouquet Garni: Collect the herbs, bay leaves, and peppercorns into the center of a square of cheesecloth. Gather the corners so you have a tight bundle, and tie off with the bakers twine. Containing the bouquet in cheesecloth like this keeps the smaller leaves, peppercorns, etc from floating throughout the stock. This is especially helpful at the beginning, when you are skimming the foam from the top. You don't want to remove these aromatics, but they float to the top and can get caught in the foam quite easily.
Add the carcass, aromatics, and vegetables to your stock pot. You want to be able to submerge (or nearly submerge) the contents with water so select your pot size based on this. For a single smaller turkey carcass (from an ~ 12 pound bird), I can use my 8 quart stock pot. For a larger bird or if you are making stock from more than one carcass, you would want a larger stock pot.
Fill the pot with cold filtered water until the water is nearly to the brim, and all the contents are covered. Keep some water handy in a measuring cup nearby - you will add some during the day while the stock simmers.
Add apple cider vinegar (or other acid) if desired. The acid will help break down the cartilage and connective tissues, and extract more nutrients from the bones, making this stock that much more nutritious!
Cook on the Stove Top
Set the pot to high, and monitor carefully while it comes up to heat. You want to end up with a very gentle simmer. You should see a bubble every second or two, but you don't want the whole pot bubbly. This takes some time to dial in while the stock is heating up.
As the stock heats, foam will collect on the surface, particularly during the first hour. Skim the foam from the surface with a large spoon. The foam is just impurities surfacing from the bones. If you don't skim them, they will eventually incorporate into the broth, making it slightly cloudy and not nice and clear.
During the first hour or so, I monitor very carefully to skim the foam and ensure the simmer is not to high. Once you are confident the temperature is stable you can leave it to simmer, and just check in on it from time to time.
If the liquid level gets lower than an inch or two from the top of the pot, top it off with more water periodically during the day.
Simmer for at least 4 hours, and up to 16. I like to go for at least 8 hours to maximize the flavor and nutrition extracted. I typically start the stock first thing in the morning, and let it simmer away until an hour before bed, when I'll remove it from the heat and let it cool slightly.
Cook in the Instant Pot
You can also cook this stock in about an hour in an instant pot instead.
Add all the ingredients, and cover with water (below the max line).
Cook on high pressure for 45 minutes with a full natural release (about 20 minutes).
(Note, you will still get a clear broth with this method since pressure cooking minimizes boiling of the stock.)
Strain and Store
Once the stock is finished cooking, remove it from the heat and let it cool for about an hour.
Strain the stock and discard the solids. (They won't have any flavor left in them!) I like to remove the big pieces with a basket strainer I can skim through the pot. Then pour the stock through a fine mesh colander into a large bowl for the final product.
To store, you have a few options: (1) Keep it in the fridge and use within 3 days to make soup. (2) Portion it out into freezer bags in useful amounts (I like a combination of 1, 2, and 4 cups), seal, and freeze flat on a cookie sheet. This will keep for at lesat 6 months in the freezer. (3) If you have a lot of stock and are short on freezer space, you can condense the stock first before freezing (see below).
Condense the Stock
This step can be done the next day if you don't have time the day of stock-making.
To condense the stock so you have less to store, first measure the volume of stock you are starting with and take note.
Then, transfer the stock back to the stock pot and simmer for several hours, until the volume is noticeably reduced. This can be a more aggressive simmer/low boil.
I try to estimate about a 1/2 reduction, and will measure the height of the liquid before and after as a way to approximate this.
I have noticed that once you get to about half the starting volume, the stock doesn't reduce much beyond that, at least it goes much slower.
Measure the final condensed stock volume and determine what dilution factor to use when you reconstitute the stock. For example, if you started with 12 cups, and reduced down to 6 cups: 12/6 = 2. So you would want to double the volume of the condensed stock for use (i.e. to one cup of stock add one cup of water). This doesn't have to be exact, but gives you a ballpark idea. Keep this in mind when deciding portion sizes to freeze. If you like to have 1 cup portions of stock handy, then freeze down 1/2 cup, so that when you double the volume you will have 1 cup to use.
Herbs to use for your bouquet garni: This can really be a mix of whatever you have on hand. If you recently smoked or roasted a turkey, use some that you have leftover from that. My favorites include: