Turkey stock is the perfect light stock for cooking legumes or vegetables.
I’m using smoked turkey legs because I want to add that layer of smokiness to my beans and more importantly, I like to control the sodium and fat that I add to my recipes. It’s traditional cooking to season collard greens or beans with smoked pork, usually the ham hock portion. Using a ham hock for a stock gives you way too many calories and sodium. I use smoked turkey legs, fewer calories, and less sodium with the same awesome smokey flavor. Check out my bowl of October Beans, smoked Turkey, and Kale, a great recipe of pure comfort with awesome layers of flavors.
A stock is in simple terms an extract made by cooking meat, fish, or vegetables in water. Stocks are convenient to have on hand and my favorite way of storing stocks is using my freezer. As with all stocks I sometimes reduce stock to a glace, pour it into an ice cube tray, and freeze it. Once they are frozen, shake them out from the tray, store them in freezer bags, and use them as needed.
Why you need a good stock:
Not all foods supply enough of their own flavor elements to make enough savory sauce or dish. That’s where a stock adds that extra layer of flavor. White turkey stock is useful and perfect for cooking legumes or vegetables like beans, and collard greens. My recipe is using smoked turkey legs, of course, you can use regular turkey legs to cook a stock with no smokey flavor. Traditional stock recipes are divided into white and brown stocks. White stocks are usually cooked in water with spices and vegetables. Brown Stocks are prepared by roasting the meats or bones in the oven. Brown stocks have because of the roasting a richer and more complex flavor.
A stock made with a lot of meats, that is carefully reduced will have an amazing flavor, but it will cost you a fortune. The challenge with cooking stocks is to get as much flavor as possible into a stock without spending a fortune on ingredients.
The beauty of my turkey stock is:
- We are using first of all inexpensive products
- We control the fat and sodium we add to a recipe
- We are using bones and meat (stocks made from only bones will not have the same strength)
- A stock cooked from meat and bones has depth and flavor
- The smokiness adds that perfect layer of flavor that you want in a bean dish
- The shredded meat from the turkey legs can be used in soups, salads, collard greens, etc
If you have the space buy a freezer:
A freezer will enable you to cook stocks in larger quantities, keep them in the freezer for up to 6 months and use them as needed. A freezer will also enable you to purchase meats in bulk, say a whole pig or a quarter of a cow is one way to eat on a budget.
Purchase produce at the height of its season and freeze. Freezing does not significantly reduce the nutritional value of the produce. You may be surprised, research shows that certain frozen produce might have the edge over fresh when it comes to health.
- 2 Lb Turkey leg, smoked
- 2.5 Quarts Water
- 2 each celery stalks
- 1 each carrot
- 1 each onion
- 2 each bay leaf
Start the Stock
- Add the smoked turkey legs to a 5-quart stockpot.2 Lb Turkey leg, smoked
- Fill the pot with 2.5 quarts of cold water2.5 Quarts Water
- Add the carrot, onion, and bay leaf2 each celery stalks, 1 each carrot, 1 each onion, 2 each bay leaf
Simmer the Stock
- Bring the stock to a short boil, and reduce it to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for 3 hours
- After 1 1/2 hours remove the turkey legs and take off the meat. Set aside
- Return Turkey bones to the stock and simmer for an additional 1.5 hours. Add more water if a lot has evaporated.
Strain the stock
- Use a cheesecloth or a strainer and strain the stock.
- Strain stock and cool slightly, then chill. The fat will rise to the top in a solid layer, so it makes it easy the remove the fat.
- Reserve the pulled turkey meat and use for my October Beans, smoked Turkey, and Kale recipe
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate