I Implore You! Don’t Throw Out That Turkey Carcass!

This is an impromptu post that I am inspired to write as I prepare my Thanksgiving menu and shopping list.

I take my Scottish thriftiness seriously, and cooking is no exception. As long as I can remember, I have saved poultry bones to make broth for soups. This practice is nutritious as well as thrifty. Homemade broth tastes SO much better than what you can buy in cans and cartons, and it is easy to make! Sally Fallon informs us in Nourishing Traditions that bone broth is one of the best sources of protein, as well as usable calcium. Bone broth includes all of the macrominerals: sodium chloride, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and sulpher, as a true electrolyte solution. It’s like a free superfood! So here is how to take advantage of all those nutrients just hanging out in your post-holiday-dinner turkey.

Turkey Bone Broth

**Before you start the broth, pull out the turkey wishbone for a nifty vintage crochet project! I’ll post this one soon.

Place all of your turkey, or other poultry, bones (except the wishbone)  in a pot large enough to hold them comfortably. You may add onion and celery chunks for flavor, but I use just bones. Cover with water and heat on high until boiling. Reduce heat so that the pot remains at a low simmer. Simmer for 3 to 3 1/2 hours, adding more water as needed. Cool slightly, then strain broth with a colander. NOW you can discard the bones.

At this point, the broth is great to make Turkey Noodle Soup, using some of the leftover turkey, or divide it into 2 cup containers and freeze for future use in soups and sauces. Third alternative, make this yummy Cream of Celery soup! My teenage daughter and her friend asked for seconds when I served this soup (made with chicken broth) for lunch today.


Cream of Celery Soup

Stage 1:

  • 4 cups celery in 1″ chunks
  • 3 cups potatoes in 1″ chunks
  • 4 cups poultry broth (If the broth is heavy, use 2 C broth and 2 C water)
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Bring to a boil in a pot. Cook until soft. Blend with a submersion blender. (Or blend and return to pot.)

Stage 2:

  • 1 cup very finely minced celery
  • 1 cup minced onion
  • scant 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons butter

Saute onion in butter until translucent. Add celery and celery seed, and saute until tender. Add to soup in pot.

Stage 3:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup (or more) sour cream OR heavy whipping cream
  • White pepper

Whisk into soup about 10 minutes before serving.

Heat soup gently–don’t cook it at this point. Serve as soon as it is hot. Crusty bread goes well with this!

Soup recipe adapted from Mollie Katzen’s The Moosewood Cookbook.

In true Scottish American and Native American style, may you use every part of the buffalo–um, turkey!

Happy Thanksgiving!