Turkey Leftovers

After eating turkey yesterday for our Thanksgiving Dinner, I processed the rest of the turkey today.

This was what I was working with:


As you can see, we ate little more than one complete breast (and even so, we were all STUFFED!).

So the first thing I did after dinner was cleared away was to put the entire thing in the fridge, where it sat overnight.  And the next day (today) I set about dismembering the remains.

I pulled off the legs, drumsticks and wings and removed as much meat as I could. I then cut off the second breast and cut that into pieces.  And finally I picked as much of the little bits of meat from the bones, resulting in an entire dish of dark and light meat that will be used for several recipes this week (buffalo frittatas for lunch, Turkey and Vegetable Soup and a Turkey and Avocado salad wraps.  I also served a turkey salad for lunch today, and plan on using it several more times in the lunch boxes.  Any that is left at the end of the week will be bagged up and frozen for use later on.


I also removed all the skin, but that went into the pan with the bones, and used it to make bone broth.  I like turkey skin (and chicken skin too) when it is crisp and hot, but not once it goes cold and slightly soggy.  Instead, I put the leftover skin in the bone broth that I make so that we do benefit from the nutrients in it.

All the bones, skin, gristly bits went into the biggest pan that I own, along with the onion, garlic and herbs that were inside the cavity.  I discarded the orange however as simmering that can make the broth get a bitter taste.  I also added a big glug of apple cider vinegar, a chopped carrot and a chopped celery stick. This is essentially the same method that I use to make chicken bone broth, it is just the fact that turkey bones are very much larger.


Then I topped it up with water and simmered it for hours and hours and hours.  I like to simmer my bone broths for at least 12 hours, preferably longer.  Normally, I let them cook in the slow-cooker, but in this case, the carcass was too big to fit (besides, I have pulled pork in mine at the moment!).  So this broth is being simmered on the stove-top, and I won’t leave the ring on overnight, so it will get no more than around 15 hours of simmering time.  If I make bone broth in the slow cooker I tend to leave it for at least 24 hours.

Once done, I will strain off the broth, remove the fat using my gravy separator and pack the resultant bone broth in glass jars for storage.


Usually after straining, I put the bones back in the pan, add more water, more carrot, onion, celery, herbs etc and another glug of vinegar and simmer it for another 15-14 hours, which results in yet more broth.  I repeat this for as long as the bones are holding together, with each repeated batch of broth becoming less flavourful, but no less nutrient packed.  I want to extract as much nutrition out of those bones as I can!  I tend to make the subsequent batches in the slow cooker (the turkey bones have cooked down and will fit after the first batch!), so they usually get a longer cooking period – at least 24 hours.

I don’t even waste the fat.  The fatty, rich bone broth that I have separated off will be chilled in the fridge, and tomorrow I will be able to separate the 2 layers, pack the turkey fat in jars to be used for cooking and add the jellied broth to the rest of the bone broth.

This is one reason why I LOVE cooking turkeys – it might take time, but you end up with loads of leftovers, lots of bone broth and lots of fat that can be used for other things…  I suspect that even by paying for a higher priced free-range turkey I save because I utilize every single scrap of that bird.




3 thoughts on “Turkey Leftovers

  1. Pingback: Diva’s Thanksgiving Turkey Leftovers soup! Gluten free too | Divainthakitchen

  2. Pingback: Library or Work Lunch #1 – Yesterday’s Leftovers | So Glamorous Darling

  3. Pingback: Packed Lunch (10/25/13) | salixisme

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