Thanksgiving Leftovers: Making Boullion Cubes
Every Thanksgiving once the turkey carcass is picked clean, it goes into my 6 quart crockpot with a lot of water and gets cooked down alternating between “low” and “warm” for about two days. I know it’s done when I can pick out a little bit of meat from the pot, eat it, and taste pretty much nothing–that means the flavor is all cooked out into the stock.
I strain it and dispose of the bones and gook, and then I either freeze the stock itself or, if I don’t have much room in the freezer like this year, cook it down at a slow simmer over several hours into a very strong concentrate that I can then freeze in small portions and reconstitute with water as needed through the winter.
The only tricky part of doing this is the math, and it needs some low-key babysitting to make sure it doesn’t burn. If I started with 2 quarts of stock, I want to cook it down to maybe half a quart of concentrate, or just under. To intensify the flavor even more, as it got pretty close to the target amount, I added about a third of a cup of leftover gravy to the liquid.
Once I had it down to the target 2 cups, I poured it in 1/4-cup quantities into muffin tins. I put them into the freezer, and once solid, they can be saved over the winter to drop into a pot or mug with hot water to make soup.
I’ve gotta say, this broth concentrate is delicious. I use port wine in my gravy and to baste the turkey, so especially once the gravy was added this stuff is incredibly rich and flavorful. I can’t wait to cook with it.
This of course works for chicken stock too, it isn’t just a Thanksgiving thing. But for the turkey stock, it’s a beautiful way to deal with the stock without taking too much room in the freezer.