What to Do With the Turkey Carcass: Make Like Julia Child

Categories: Holiday Meals
We can never be sure, but Julia Child might have approved.

You've scraped off all the meat and divided it into bowls marked "sandwiches," "turkey salad," and "dog." You're staring at that giant, scraggly carcass. You know you should be plotting out turkey risotto, or at the least turkey noodle soup, but turkey noodle soup is boring, and the trash can is just big enough to stuff the bones into.

Let me propose an alternate future for your leftovers: Julia Child's French onion soup.

Another writer suggested it to me a few years ago, and the soup turned out so good that it's become my ritual every year I've been given custody of a leftover turkey carcass. I stick that half-roasted frame of bones back in a roasting pan, and add a bunch of onions, carrots, and celery (at a ratio of 2:1:1) that I've tossed with a little oil. I turn the oven to 450 degrees, and roast them until as much of the surface becomes cola-colored without charring (too much char and the stock is ruined).

Then I shove the re-roasted bones and vegetables into a stockpot, cover it with cold water, and let the stock simmer for a couple of hours. Then I strain it, stick it back on the stove and let it reduce a little more. I have a concentrated dark stock that makes a more-than-adequate substitute for the beef stock in Julia Child's classic recipe for soupe à l'oignon. I don't bother with gratineeing the cheese -- too lazy. But to omit the splash of Cognac (in my case, cheap brandy) would be heresy.

Yeah, so it's a time-intensive project. But it's the day after Thanksgiving. What else are you going to do. Go shopping?

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