Turkey Stock for Freezing

Make your own turkey stock to get more use out of your Thanksgiving bird! // savvyeat.comLet’s talk turkey. Turkey stock, specifically. Do you toss the turkey bones as soon as Thanksgiving dinner is over, or are you giving them a second life and turning them into stock?

Listen, you put a lot of time, energy and money into that roasting that turkey. Sure, you’ll get to enjoy it for multiple meals – both at the big Thanksgiving feast, and then in plenty of leftovers. But why not extend the use of your turkey a little further, and use the bones to make a turkey stock that you can use all winter long? Bonus: it also allows you to use up all those vegetable odds and ends that you surely generated while cooking all your sides.

Making your own turkey stock is as easy as 1-2-3:

  1. Save your veggie scraps as you’re cooking dinner – carrot peels, onion skins, celery leaves, herb stems. If you’re cooking in advance, just toss everything in a freezer bag and freeze until it is stock-making time!
  2. After Thanksgiving dinner, remove all the turkey from the bones to refrigerate or freeze for leftovers, and set the bones aside. If you aren’t making your stock until the next day, refrigerate the carcass now too.
  3. Simmer your turkey bones with the veggie scraps and maybe a few spices. Strain and refrigerate or freeze.

Easy as that! You’ll need to set aside a few hours for the stock to simmer (the longer it cooks, the more flavorful it will end up being). BUT it is nearly all inactive time, so you can use those hours to digest your turkey dinner, relax after a long day of cooking, or decorate for the next holiday.

Turkey Stock

Cook Time: 3 hours

Turkey Stock

This turkey stock is super flexible, so feel free to alter the amounts of vegetables and herbs to your liking. If you have a bunch of onion skins, toss some of them in the pot. Same goes for the tough green parts of leeks, shallot skins, carrot leaves, rosemary stems or sage sprigs.

Ingredients

  • Bones from one turkey
  • 3 stalks celery OR the leaves from 6-9 stalks of celery
  • 2 carrots OR the peels from a bunch of carrots
  • 4 sprigs oregano OR the stems of 6-8 sprigs of oregano
  • 3 sprigs thyme OR the stems of 5-7 sprigs of oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf (optional)
  • Water to cover the bones

Instructions

  1. Put the turkey bones, celery, carrots, oregano, thyme, peppercorns and optional bay leaf in a large stockpot. Pour in water until the liquid sits around 1" above the top of the solid ingredients.
  2. Simmer over medium-low heat for at least 3 hours, up to 8 hours.
  3. Remove from the heat and skim any fat or foam off the top that you can.
  4. Strain the stock. You can either do this by pouring the stock through a fine-mesh sieve set over a large container, or by lining a colander with cheesecloth and pouring the stock through that. Discard the solids and refrigerate the stock.

Make Ahead and Storage

If you don’t plan to use the stock within 3 or 4 days, you'll need to freeze it. Pour it into freezer-safe containers (be sure to leave at least 1" of head space to allow for expansion!) or into ice cube trays to freeze. If you go the ice cube tray route, move the stock to freezer-safe plastic bags or containers once the stock is frozen through. Use within 6 months.

http://www.savvyeat.com/turkey-stock-thanksgiving/

And before we go, one safety note for you: If you plan on using the turkey leftovers or making your own turkey stock, be sure to refrigerate your bird within two hours of it coming out of the oven. If it sits at room temperature for longer than that, dangerous bacteria can multiply, making your poultry unsafe for consumption. Nobody wants that!

PS: Still feeling overwhelmed by Thanksgiving planning? Use this flow chart and planning tips for a low-stress Thanksgiving menu!

PPS: This is the turkey recipe I’ve used for the last four years. It has never let me down!

Tea-Poached Pears with Goat Cheese & Puff Pastry


Tea-poached pears with goat cheese and puff pastry are a elegant and impressive-looking appetizer // savvyeat.com

Poached pears that are sliced and served with goat cheese and puff pastry make for an elegant and impressive-looking appetizer at any cocktail party or holiday dinner. Try poaching them in a spiced black tea for a more complex flavor.

As a self-taught cook, I’m always looking to expand my food knowledge and experiment with new-to-me cooking processes. So when USA Pears said they were looking for bloggers to develop a recipe using poached pears, I decided that the time was ripe (ha, see what I did there?) to experiment with poaching.

The poaching process was far more simple than I had expected. Poached eggs are supposed to be so difficult and intimidating, so I guess I assumed that poaching fruit would be the same. I was wrong – if you can simmer liquid, you can poach pears! A few tips I found that helped things run a little more smoothly:

  1. Cut a thin slice off the bottom of each pear so that they will stand up in the pot without tipping over.
  2. Leave the stems on the pears. They will help you stabilize the fruit as you move them from pot to plate so you don’t have to grab and dent the poached pears.

Red Pears for Poaching // savvyeat.com

Three of my four pears weren’t quite ripe yet (as evidenced by the fact that the neck of the pears didn’t yield when I gently pressed on them), but that was fine. Actually, the underripe pears held their shape well, while the ripe one got a little overly soft. If you can, stick with pears that are barely underripe when you’re poaching them.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to choosing a poaching liquid. I used a spiced black tea- mine was cinnamon-flavored, but something with a little citrus or a chai tea would work just as well. To amplify the spice flavor a little further, I also used my chai-infused sugar, though you could easily use regular granulated sugar instead.

Poached Pears // savvyeat.com

Since I’m not hosting Thanksgiving this year (for the first time since 2010!), I’ve been hunting for some simple recipes I can contribute to my aunt’s big feast that won’t take up any valuable stove or oven real estate. These poached pears with goat cheese and puff pastry are a serious contender, since I could poach and slice the pears and bake the puff pastry the night before, and just assemble them right before serving.

Tea-Poached Pears with Goat Cheese & Puff Pastry

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Yield: 36 bite-sized appetizers

Tea-Poached Pears with Goat Cheese & Puff Pastry

Poached pears are incredibly simple to make, but they look impressive. Serve them with goat cheese and puff pastry for a delicious holiday appetizer.

You will likely have extra pears, unless you are entertaining a huge crowd (in which case you’ll want to up the amount of puff pastry and goat cheese you use!). If that’s the case, refrigerate the leftovers and slice them into oatmeal or ice cream, or make a pear crisp!

Ingredients

  • 4 red or green Anjou pears
  • 3 cups brewed black tea
  • 1 cup water
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar I used my chai-infused sugar , but regular is fine
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • For the appetizer:
  • 2 packages puff pastry
  • 6 ounces goat cheese

Instructions

  1. Peel the pears, leaving the stems attached. Cut a thin slice off the bottom of each pear so that it will stand upright.
  2. Stir the tea, water and sugar together in a stockpot big enough to hold all four pears. You should be able to put the lid on over the pears as well. Scrape the seeds of the vanilla bean into the tea, and then toss the bean pod into the liquid as well.
  3. Cover the liquid and bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low so that the tea is just simmering.
  4. Place the pears in the pot upright and put the lid back on.
  5. Cook the pears at a light simmer (the liquid should be just barely bubbling) for 20 minutes.
  6. Using a slotted spoon, carefully transfer the pears to a large platter or bowl, standing them upright if you can. Refrigerate until cool.
  7. While the pears cool, bring the tea back to a boil and reduce the liquid to 3/4 cups, stirring often. Cool.
  8. For the appetizer:
  9. Preheat the oven to 400°F and cut the puff pastry into 2” squares.
  10. Bake the puff pastry for 16-18 minutes, or until golden-brown, at 400°F. Use the back of a small spoon or the handle of a wooden spoon to create an indent in the top of each piece of puff pastry.
  11. Spread 1 - 1 1/2 teaspoons of goat cheese into the indent of each puff pastry, and top with two small slices of poached pears. Drizzle with the reduced tea and serve immediately.
http://www.savvyeat.com/poached-pears/

Looking for more poached pears inspiration? Check out these recipes from some of my fellow bloggers:

PS: I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.