Monday, 24 December 2007

Turkey stock and chicken ramen

A number of us will be having turkey for Christmas (although pheasant and goose have become increasingly popular again). Leftover meat usually goes into sandwiches, pies, on a cold meat platter or even curry for Boxing Day and the days following. But what do you do with the carcass and bones? There is still so much left of it, it's a shame to throw it all away.

I did a huge turkey for Christmas dinner a few weeks ago for about 15 people and the carcass was too big to throw away, so I made a stock later in the week. I froze the carcass and bones since I did not have the time to make the stock until a few days later. The night before, I defrosted the carcass in the fridge and then took out my slow cooker/crockpot the next morning. If you don't have time to stay at home and watch a simmering stock pot on the stove for a few hours, a slow cooker is a definite life saver. I love being able to just throw stuff into it in the morning and then come home to hot and delicious stews and soups.

In the slow cooker/crockpot

First, place the carcass into a large bowl or pan and pour some boiling water over. This gets rid of the surface fats and makes for a cleaner tasting broth. Then place the carcass in the slow cooker (or stock pot), add in a couple of carrots, parsnips, celery, an onion (or any other veg that you have leftover in the fridge, e.g. broccoli stalk, sweet potato, swede), and a couple of bay leaves. Pour boiling water into the slow cooker, cover, set it on Low and then leave it for the day. I came home from the office about 9 hours later and the smell was heavenly. The stock should be ready after about 4-6 hours in a slow cooker. You can also simmer the stock on a stove for about 2 hours, but I love the depth of flavours from a slow cooked stock or soup.

Using turkey carcass for broth

Skim the fat and scum off the top of the stock towards the end. Ladle out the bones and vegetables. Pass the stock through a sieve and you will end up with deliciously clear stock for soup or other recipes. The above can be done with chicken, pork or beef bones whenever you have any leftovers from a roast. The stock could then be frozen in portions for use in recipes. You can also freeze them in ice cube trays and then just pop a few out for use in cooking.

I did a chicken ramen that evening with the stock. It wasn't chicken stock but it still tasted beautiful. Marinate the chicken slices (rice wine, soy sauce, pepper, corn flour). Reconstitute the shiitake mushrooms if they are dried (soak in warm water for about 15 minutes), or just slice them if using fresh. Cook the noodles in a pan and dish up into large bowls. Then boil the vegetables, mushrooms and chicken and place them on top of the noodles. Pour hot stock over (season to taste with salt and pepper; use soy sauce for Shoyu ramen or miso for miso ramen), drizzle some sesame oil, garnish with chopped spring onions and viola - delicious and wholesome chicken ramen.

Chicken ramen in turkey broth

Do enjoy your Christmas dinner (turkey or otherwise) and have a lovely festive celebration with family and loved ones. Happy holidays to all.


Pixie said...

Great thinking with using the slow cooker for stock, will def. try that out this year! Hope you and your loved ones have a very merry xmas and a wonderful New Year.

Kevin said...

I just made some turkey stock and turkey ramen sounds like a good use for some of it. Happy holidays!

Greg said...

Yes, great idea. The finished ramen looks like comfort in a bowl.

Nilmandra said...

pixie: I find it much easier to use a slow cooker when I can't be in all day. Just throw things in and walk away!

Kevin: Ramen is a nice healthy change after the overindulgence too!

Greg: Thanks, comfort food for winter is always a winner in my house.

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