Homemade turkey stock is key for stuffing and gravy.
5 to 6 pounds turkey parts (neck, wings, thighs, legs, back from a small turkey)
2 -- yellow onions, unpeeled, quartered
2 heads garlic, halved horizontally (to look like a honeycomb)
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
6 -- medium-large carrots, cut into large chunks
3 stalks celery, cut into large chunks
10 sprigs flat leaf parsley
1 pound cremini (or baby bella) mushrooms
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms (or other dried mushrooms or mushroom scraps)
6 to 8 -- fresh sage leaves
4 to 6 sprigs thyme
*Note on Turkey Parts: Many butchers or butcher departments of some grocery store chains may already sell turkey legs, thighs and wings. If yours doesn’t, you can always purchase a small turkey, 8 to 10 pounds, and have the butcher cut it up, removing the wings, legs, thighs, back and neck for you to use in this stock. You can roast the breast separately (it will cook in half the time unencumbered by its legs and thighs, directions for roasting below) and refrigerate or freeze the meat for after Thanksgiving sandwiches (there is never enough white meat left anyway) or other dishes, like Turkey Pot Pie, Turkey Quesadillas or Turkey Soup.
Preheat oven to 450F. Line a rimmed sheet pan with foil. Arrange turkey parts (you can use the gizzards as well if you like the flavor that adds), onion quarters and garlic halves on the tray in one layer. Liberally drizzle with olive oil and using your fingers spread the oil to coat everything. Roast until meat and vegetables are very brown, about 1 hour.
Transfer the contents of the sheet pan (drippings, liquid and all) to a large stockpot. Add the remaining vegetables to the pot. Add enough water to thoroughly cover all the meat, by about an inch. Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour.
Remove as many of the meat solids and bones from the pot as possible, with a slotted spoon, then strain the liquid through a fine sieve (lined with cheesecloth if you want a more clear broth), and discard the remaining solids. (I save these solids and puree them and add them to my two dogs’ food. Adds nutrition for them and less waste for me!)
Stock should be cooled completely to a minimum of 70F before transferred into plastic containers or refrigerated. Can be stored in the refrigerator in airtight containers for up to 1 week, or frozen up to 3 months (mark with date). If you freeze stock, remember to leave enough room in the container for the liquid to expand while freezing or else you will end up with cracked containers and freezer burned stock. It’s a good idea to freeze stock in 8- to 16-ounce containers so you access small amount of stock as needed.