Mom's Easy Turkey Broth


At our house, we call this skeleton soup. It wouldn't be Thanksgiving weekend without the lush aromas of this broth filling the kitchen. My mother says she started making it back in the Depression. "We couldn't afford to waste anything. Besides, the soup is delicious." You could freeze the broth, to use later in homemade soups. But usually, it's so good on it's own, we finish it all up by midweek.

Turkey broth is the easiest thing to do: Take an eight-quart pot. Add turkey bones, bits of stuffing, skin and seasoning. Add some chopped up vegetables, garlic and wine. Simmer, then strain and defat the broth. Finally, just season it to taste and it's ready to spoon up. If you use organic vegetables, don't peel them, just rinse and chop.

The Wine Trick: The wine is optional, but it's a good trick to remember. Alcohol releases the widest range of flavors, ones that aren't soluble in water or fats. Although most of the alcohol cooks off, the tastes it opens up make for a fine broth. Do avoid cooking wines. They taste terrible. Instead, use an inexpensive, but drinkable Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, or other dry white wine.


  • The bones, meat bits, skin and about 1/2 cup stuffing from a whole turkey, or a couple of chickens, or other meats
  • 2 large onions, coarsely chopped
  • 2 large carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 2 large stalks of celery with leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 12 big cloves of garlic, unpeeled and crushed
  • 2 cups dry white wine (optional)
1. Start the broth about 7 hours before you want to serve it. Put all the ingredients in a 8 to 12-quart tall stock pot. Add enough cold water to cover by 3 inches. Bring to a gentle simmer, partially cover, and simmer 5 to 6 hours. The longer it cooks, the richer the taste. Keep the solid ingredients covered with liquid.

2. Strain the broth. Cool. Skim any fat from the broth by running a triple thickness of paper towels over its surface. Discard the toweling and taste the broth for seasoning. Season to taste with salt and pepper. To serve, bring to a simmer and ladle into mugs or deep bowls. Refrigerate or freeze any leftovers.
Makes 3 to 4 quarts; freezes for 6 months
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