Brown Turkey Stock

Makes about 10 cups
  • Active time: 30 min
    Total time: 5 hr
Published in Gourmet Live 05.23.12


  • 6 pounds turkey parts such as wings, drumsticks, or thighs
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 medium yellow onions, left unpeeled, then trimmed and halved
  • 3 celery ribs, cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 3 carrots, quartered
  • 6 fresh parsley stems (without leaves)
  • 1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 5 quarts cold water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt


  • If using turkey wings, halve at joints with a cleaver or large knife, then crack wing bones in several places with back of cleaver or knife. (There is no need to crack bones if using drumsticks or thighs.)
  • Heat 1/4 cup oil in an 8- to 10-quart heavy pot (see cooks' note, below) over moderate heat until hot but not smoking. While oil is heating, pat turkey parts dry. Cook turkey in 4 batches, turning once, until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes per batch, transferring to a large bowl. Add remaining tablespoon oil to pot, then cook onions, cut sides down first, turning once, until golden brown, about 5 minutes total, and transfer to bowl with turkey. Cook celery and carrots, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 3 minutes. Add browned turkey and onions and remaining ingredients to pot and bring to a boil over high heat, skimming froth as necessary. Reduce heat and gently simmer, partially covered, 3 hours.
  • Remove pot from heat and cool stock to room temperature, uncovered, about 1 hour. Pour stock through a large fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl and discard solids. Measure stock: If there is more than 10 cups, boil in cleaned pot until reduced; if there is less, add water.
  • If using stock right away, let stand until fat rises to top, 1 to 2 minutes, then skim off and discard fat. If not, cool stock completely, uncovered, then chill, covered, before skimming fat (it will be easier to remove when cool or cold). If you are thickening your gravy with cornstarch, bring 1 cup stock to room temperature to liquefy. Reheat stock before making gravy.


  • Stock can be chilled up to 1 week or frozen in an airtight container 3 months. If you don't have a big heavy pot, or if you just prefer browning in the oven (instead of on the stovetop), turkey parts and vegetables can be browned in a dry large heavy roasting pan (without oil) on lowest rack of a preheated 500°F oven. Roast turkey parts first, starting skin sides down and turning once, until golden brown, 30 to 45 minutes. Transfer to stockpot with tongs, then roast vegetables in fat rendered from turkey, onions cut sides down first, stirring halfway through roasting, until golden, 10 to 20 minutes total, and then add vegetables to pot. Straddle roasting pan across 2 burners, then add 2 cups water and deglaze by boiling, scraping up brown bits, about 1 minute. Pour pan juices into stockpot with rest of water and remaining ingredients and simmer as in stock recipe above.
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