I used to be just as guilty as anyone else. I would cook a turkey or chicken, eat it for dinner, and with the exceptions of the rest of the white meat, everything else went into the garbage can. It was only within the last year that I learned how much of a waste that really was, and began to learn to get the most out of my meat.
The first is obviously the meat eaten at dinner, which is usually only the most succulent white meat. The remnants get picked over and put into the fridge. Now you have the carcass. For the love of cake and chocolate, pick every single tasty piece of that dark meat from those bones! It may not be the most appetizing meat to look out, but it has the best flavor, and soaked in a good barbecue sauce, it makes an awesome sandwich. Also you can make basic gravy from some stock, butter and flour and toss in the bits of meat to make some awesome gravy for open faced sandwiches. I’ll give you the basic gravy recipe soon.
Now you have the bones. The best thing to do here is to make a rich and flavorful stock for later use. You can throw the bones back in the oven to roast them a little more for a deeper stock, or simply throw them into a deep pot the way they are. They can also be placed in the refrigerator for a couple of days, or frozen for at least 30 days before you have to use them. With the bones in the pot cover with water and add in some black peppercorns, bay leaves, thick chopped carrots and celery, and some onion. Let it simmer over low heat for about 2 hours and you’re done. Let it cool, strain, bag, and freeze. We freeze in 2 cup portions. The stock can be used for anything from gravy, to rice, to stuffing, to chicken and dumplings.
Now for preserving the left over meat you can’t eat right now. The easiest way is to freeze the meat into recipe sized bags for later. Turkey and chicken seem to dry out when frozen, however, you can take that wonderful stock you made from the bones, and fill the bags of meat with the liquid just to the top of the meat, and then you will have moist delectable meat with some added flavor from the stock. We often use the meat for open faced sandwiches, and then reserved the stock for making the gravy. However you decided to use it, you will be glad you took a little time to get the most out of that bird!
4 cups of stock
¼ cup butter
¼ cup flour
Melt butter in saucepan. Whisk in butter to make a roué and cook for about 1 minute. Slowly add in the stock while whisking constantly. Once combines, allow to come to a boil and reduce, whisking constantly. Let reduce until the consistency you like and take it off the heat. You’re done. You can mix in thawed meat once the gravy comes to a boil, and let it heat through. It’s great over some creamy mashed potatoes. So stop throwing away all the wonderful food, and learn a few new things they next time you cook a turkey of chicken.