It’s not Thanksgiving. It’s not Christmas. Yet, I am about to roast a turkey. Why? Well, during the holidays, the birds go on sale and are very inexpensive. Oftentimes, if you spend a specific amount at the grocery store, you can get a free turkey (usually, requiring you to spend $50 on other groceries). With these sorts of promotions, I have begun to get one turkey for the holiday and one for later.
Several of my friends have asked me what I do with a turkey, when it is not during the holiday season. Well, I will tell you. Cook it as usual. Have a meal, maybe, “Christmas in July” (or June). Actually, with this bird, I am going to cook and de-bone it and package the meat in meal-sized portions, using my handy dandy “Food Saver”. We will have at least 6-8 packages of turkey meat to use in all sorts of meals (pasta dishes, soups, Cajun meals, even burritos or enchiladas). And, having something to pull out of the freezer allows me easy meal preparation, not to mention meals that can easily be prepared in less than 30 minutes. (What you think about that Rachel Ray! :))
After you have roasted the turkey and packaged up the meat, DO NOT throw the bones away. PLEASE! You will be missing out on the best stock ever! Here’s what I do: Place bones in a crock pot/slow cooker. Add water, seasonings (salt, pepper, thyme or Herbs de Provence) and a couple of carrots, an onion and a few stalks of celery (roughly chopped). Cook all night long and you will wake up to a beautiful smell that permeates the entire house. Ahhh!
Allow the stock to cool. Then, package in ziptop bags, place flat on a cookie sheet and freeze. This method of freezing stock, soups and stews takes up much less space. When frozen completely, you can store the stock in your freezer; then, use your cookie tray for its intended purpose–BAKING COOKIES! 🙂
Have you ever done this? If so, what are your favorite recipes for using leftover turkey?