Just as the saying goes "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade," the same is true of "when life gives you lots of turkey bones from Thanksgiving, make turkey noodle soup with homemade bone broth."
Making use of the leftover turkey carcass is a great way to save on waste while making something truly delicious. It is the best version of leftovers made out of leftovers. It is the meal that just keeps on giving.
Using leftover meat bones is a fantastic way to make your own bone broth. The broth and stock you typically buy at the grocery store can be expensive and flavorless. By making your own, you can be sure to have something extremely flavorful while saving money at the same time. Did you know that there are lots of nutritional benefits in bone broth?
As the bones cook in water, minerals and other nutrients leach from the bones into the water. This creates a broth that is rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and other trace minerals which the body can easily absorb. Bone broth also contains glucosamine and chondroiton which are helpful at relieving joint pain and other symptoms associated with arthritis and inflammation.
Homemade bone broth is also rich in gelatin, an animal protein extracted from bones, collagen, skin, and connective tissue. Gelatin can help fight against degenerative joint disease by strengthening connective tissue. Gelatin is also needed for the growth of fingernails and hair.
To make your own bone broth, start by adding the bones (and neck if you have it) to a large pot. Cover bones with water and add 1 carrot, 1 stalk of celery, and 1/2 of an onion to the pot. Add in bay leaf and a cinnamon stick for a unique and tasty flavor. (I had so many turkey bones from Thanksgiving that I made two pots)
Bring heat to medium and cover. Cook for 2 hours or until turkey starts to fall off the bones and broth becomes fragrant and slightly thicker than water.
Turn off heat and remove bones from pot and place on a large cutting board. Let sit for 15 minutes to cool. When bones are cool enough to touch, pull the remaining meat off the bones and add to a large bowl. The meat of the turkey neck will be the most tender and delicious. Discard all bones once you separate the meat.
Strain the remaining liquid leftover in the pot through a mesh strainer, catching all of the strained liquid in another large pot or bowl. Pick through strained mixture and reserve all meat that has fallen off the bones during boiling and discard cooked vegetables, bay leaf, and cinnamon stick.
In a large pot, combine pulled turkey meat and strained broth. Add in 2 cups of sliced carrots, 1 cup of sliced celery, 1 large onions (sliced), and 1 package of sliced mushrooms. Cook on medium heat until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Add in 1 package of natural noodles to soup. (I use a preservative free version found in the refrigerator section of my grocery store). Cook until noodles are al dente, about 3 minutes. Let soup sit for 10 minutes before serving.
(I actually eat this soup with a spoon and a fork!)
Think about how rewarding it is to turn something someone may call garbage--into a beautiful one pot meal that is loaded with flavor and nutrition. My leftover turkey carcass turned into 10 hearty servings of deliciousness.
This holiday season, think of ways you can save on waste and make delicious creations out of your leftovers. Leftover mashed potatoes? Make potato pancakes! Leftover ham or ham bones? Make a split pea and ham soup!
Wishing you a healthy and delicious holiday season full of family, friends, and your favorite food!
Kristen Johnson 🙂