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How To Make Turkey Stock, The Most Important Thanksgiving Ingredient

Trust me, this one recipe — which you can make before Thanksgiving — is going to make every thing on the plate taste AWESOME.

1. Roast some turkey parts at 450°F for 45 minutes to an hour.

Here's how: Preheat oven to 450°F. Place about 4 lbs turkey parts (maybe 3 wings and a neck, or two wings and a neck and a back) on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast — flipping over the pieces halfway through — about 45 minutes until they are golden brown.

2. Chop an onion, a stalk or two of celery, and a peeled carrot or two. Grab a bunch of parsley and thyme, a bay leaf, and some peppercorns.

This is all going to get dumped into a stock pot together, so you can put them in something like this to make it easy.

3. Once the turkey parts have roasted to a golden brown, take them out and admire the brown crust on the pan.

This brown crust is GOLD, and it's going to give your stock (and eventually your gravy and everything on your Thanksgiving plate) amazing flavor. HOW? OK...

4. Put the turkey wings and neck in a heavy stock pot.

5. Then pour off all of the grease from the pan.

6. Pour water onto the baking sheet while it's still hot.

7. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up all the brown crusty bits.

This is called deglazing the pan.

8. Pour the liquid from the pan into the pot with the turkey.

9. Add your vegetables and herbs.

10. Add enough water to cover the contents of the pot by 2 inches. Put the stock pot on a burner and heat until it simmers, then let it simmer gently for at least three hours and up to five.

It's best if you let it go longer.

11. When it's done, strain the stock through a fine mesh sieve.

12. At this point you'll have something about 6 cups of liquid, which is now turkey stock! If you don't, continue to simmer until it's reduced to about 6 cups.

13. Once the stock has cooled, pour it into an airtight container, then put it in the fridge or freezer.

It will keep for three days in the fridge and for three months in the freezer.

14. Triumphantly use your homemade turkey stock instead of the store-bought stuff when you make gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes — basically any time a recipe calls for store-bought chicken stock.