Pressure Cooker Turkey Stock Revisited


This post is dedicated to loyal reader Jason. Jason asked me what I thought of this recipe for "Perfect" Pressure Cooker Chicken Stock, from Kyle Connaughton by way of Heston Blumenthal's test kitchen.
Perfect Pressure Cooker Chicken Stock [saveur.com]

My initial reaction was mixed. They were not bragging when they said "Perfect". This is an attempt to make the ultimate stock.  I found myself asking: "Why so fussy?" Why buy specific ingredients to make stock, like chicken wings and ground chicken? My goal with pressure cooker stock is to use things up. I take scraps and leftovers, add a few aromatics, and turn them into a delicious base for future meals. *Making stock feels like culinary sleight of hand. I use scraps that would normally be discarded, and turn them into a stock far better than any of that "broth" they sell in a can at the grocery store.

Even though his recipe looked finicky, I was intrigued by Mr. Connaughton's explanations. Why does a pressure cooker makes such good stock?  Why did he make specific choices in the ingredients and technique? He explains it all. By the time I was done reading, I wanted to try some of the tricks in Mr. Connaughton's recipe. Making stock from my leftover Thanksgiving turkey was the perfect opportunity.
*Also, I wanted to try out my Kuhn Rikon Family Stockpot with a whole turkey carcass. It swallowed it easily, with enough room to spare to squeeze a second carcass in if I wanted to. Wow. Every other pressure cooker I've owned needed the turkey carcass broken up to fit in the pot. I'm loving the Kuhn Rikon more and more.

The first trick I wanted to use is thin-slicing the aromatics. Mr. Connaughton says thin slicing increases the surface area, which helps extract more flavor from the aromatics.
*He uses chicken wings in his stock for the same reason - smaller bones mean better flavor extraction.

The second trick is adding a cup of white wine to the pot. I've done this in the past; I learned my turkey stock recipe from Cooks Illustrated, and they always added white wine to their turkey stock. I stopped doing it when I went to the pressure cooker method; I assumed the wine flavor would get lost under pressure. Also, I didn't want to open a bottle of wine just to make stock. According to Mr. Connaughton, I was making a mistake. Wine was going back into the recipe.
*Even better, I had a half bottle of white wine left over from Thanksgiving. No wasted wine!

These two simple tricks were worth the effort. The wine adds a hint of fruit and acid to the turkey flavor in the stock. I used the stock in a simple turkey noodle soup, and I re-filled my bowl three times.
*Okay, maybe four times.

I know I'm adding some extra steps here. One of the advantages to my original recipe is its simplicity. But, if you have leftover turkey bones and want to make the ultimate pressure cooker stock, this is the technique to use.
*And yes, I will eventually try the Perfect Pressure Cooker Chicken Stock recipe as written. But right now, I'm set with stock. I had two turkey carcasses left over.  I made twelve quarts of stock. I'm out of freezer containers!

Recipe: Pressure Cooker Turkey Stock, Updated
Inspired By: Kyle Connaughton, Perfect Pressure Cooker Chicken Stock, [saveur.com]
Cook time: 75 minutes

Equipment:

Ingredients:
  • Carcass from a roasted turkey (I had the bones from a 12 lb bird)
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 medium onions, trimmed, peeled, and sliced thin
  • 2 large carrots, trimmed, peeled and sliced thin
  • 1 large leek, white and light green parts, trimmed, peeled, rinsed carefully, and sliced thin (or substitute 2 bay leaves)
  • 6 quarts of water, or just enough to cover the ingredients

Directions:
1. Prep and fill the pressure cooker: Put the turkey carcass in the pressure cooker. (If you have a smaller pressure cooker, you may have to break the carcass into a few pieces to get it to fit.) Add the white wine and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer while you clean and slice the vegetables. Add the sliced vegetables to the pot, and add water to cover the turkey by about 1 inch.

2. Pressure cook the stock: Lock the lid on the pressure cooker, increase the heat to high, and bring the cooker up to high pressure. Lower the heat to maintain the pressure at high and cook for 45 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, and allow the pressure to release naturally, usually about 20 minutes.
*Make sure you read your pressure cooker manual for the details of how to lock the cooker and bring it up to pressure. Every model does things a little differently.  Also, because of all the water in the cooker, it will take longer to come up to pressure and cool down.



3. Strain the stock: Strain the stock into another pot through a fine mesh strainer and cheesecloth. See my stock straining post for details.

4. Defat the stock: (Optional) Refrigerate the stock overnight, or up to 2 days, so the fat floats to the surface and forms a hard cap. Remove the fat cap from the top of the stock.

5. Use or freeze the stock: Use the stock immediately, or freeze for later use. I portion the stock into both 1 quart and 2 cup containers for freezing; see the picture at the top of the post.

Variations:
*Add some herbs - if I have them on hand, I add a quarter bunch of parsley or parsley stems, and/or a sprig of fresh thyme. I wouldn't use rosemary, because it can be overpowering.

*Add some garlic - Adding a clove or two of garlic to the broth gives it a nice flavor.

Notes:
**I don't add any salt when I make stock.  That means, when I use it, I cannot forget to add salt.  If I don't add it, whatever I'm cooking will taste flat.  (Especially if the recipe is depending on all the extra sodium that store-bought stock contains.)  Remember, seasoning to taste is the key to good cooking.

*White wine - I avoid Chardonnay, which is usually made with a lot of oak.  I prefer whatever cheap white wine I can find beyond that; I tend to gravitate towards Pinot Grigiot and Sauvignon Blanc, mainly because I like them, and I don't mind having 2/3rds of a bottle left over.
*One of the keys to cooking is staying calm.  A glass of wine works wonders when I'm facing a disaster in the kitchen.

*Don't have a pressure cooker? Make stock in your oven for a long, slow, even simmer. Use the ingredients from this recipe with the following technique: Turkey Stock Done Right.

*What to do with all that stock? It's time to make soup! See the Related Posts section for ideas.

Questions? Comments? Other ideas? Secret ingredients in your stock recipe? Leave them in the comments section below.

Related Posts:
Tortilla Soup
Thai Coconut Soup
Pressure Cooker Turkey Stock
Straining stock

Inspired by:
Kyle Connaughton, Perfect Pressure Cooker Chicken Stock, [saveur.com]

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14 comments:

Ty'sMommy said...

Fabulous. I love to see posts like this to show people that doing something as fundamental as making their own stock shouldn't be intimidating. Yours looks beautiful!

Oh, and a belated welcome to the blogosphere from a fellow Ohioan!

Live to Cook at Home said...

I couldn't agree more, Ty'sMommy. Making stock is so easy and inexpensive. Every time I roast a chicken or use bone in chicken, I toss the bones in the freezer. Same with veggie peels. When it comes time to make stock I throw it all in a stock pan with a few other ingredients, and simmer it for hours. So easy, cheap, healthy and delicious!

I smoked a turkey last month and made a delicious smoked turkey stock out of the carcass. I made an amazing tortilla soup out of some of the stock. Check it out here: http://www.livetocookathome.com/2010/12/best-sopa-azteca-everaka-tortilla-soup.html

MikeV @ DadCooksDinner said...

@Ty'sMommy: Thank you!

@LTC@H: Ahh...tortilla soup. I love it!

Chris Lukowski said...

Will you be updating your recipe for chicken stock after observing these results? I'm itching to make my first batch once I get a pressure cooker.

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

Maybe someday. My personal technique is usually not this fussy, and matches what I wrote in the Pressure Cooker Chicken Stock recipe.

If you want to use this technique with chicken, substitute 6 pounds of roasted chicken bones ( or 6 pounds of wings, or 6 pounds of backs) for the turkey carcass. In general, the ratio is 1 pound of bones to 1 quart of water; it looks like I went a little over that here.

Chris Lukowski said...

What about the white wine? Have you added it to PC chicken stock based on the findings here? (looks like 1/2 cup per 3qts stock)

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

I have, and you have the right ratio. It adds a hint of acidity to the stock, but I don't do it that often. I'll add it if I have a leftover bottle in the refrigerator, otherwise I skip it.

Can you tell that my chicken stock is Refrigerator Velcro? :)

Michelle Braden said...

I made turkey stock in my Instant Pot Pressure Cooker. It was the BEST ever. It was so good that when chilled it was like gelatin. Next day I made Turkey Noodle Soup. My kids said, "Mom, this is AMAZING!" I will be doing this again soon..... All I did was use my carcass with some carrots, onion, celery, sage, thyme, rosemary, garlic, black pepper, bay leaves, and water. I cooked it on the SOUP setting for 1/2 hour. Then simmered on Saute to reduce a bit. A total of 90 minutes cooking and it was the BEST stock ever....

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

I'm always amazed how much gelatin the pressure cooker gets into the stock.

Chris Lukowski said...

Note for your readers: While the Kuhn Rikon 12qt will swallow a carcass from a 12lb bird without issue, know that an 18lb bird will require a small amount of disassembling. Chopping off the "tail end" where it connects to the main cavity should do the trick. Also of note, one should do this before the carcass goes in the freezer or after you've thawed it out. Trying to whack it off in its frozen state is a bit...difficult.

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

Good tip. Thanks, Chris!

Chris Lukowski said...

Question: Should PC turkey stock be jello-y like PC chicken stock? Mine came out more liquidy even after a night in the fridge, but I guess that's because the bones only weighed in a little under 4lbs and 5.5 quarts of water went in to cover. Also the color was not light yellow but a darkish green/brown, but maybe that's because of the 1/4 bunch parseley + stems I threw in?

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

Gelled stock: You've got it - you had a higher proportion of water to bones. If you really want it to gel, simmer it on the stove for an hour or so. I use it as it is.

Darkish stock: That seems to be affected more by how I cook the bird. Grilled turkey bones make for a stock exactly like you describe it - darker, green/brown; roasted turkey bones give me a clear yellow stock. Don't worry, both taste great; I have a slight preference for the darker stock, because it has some of the smoky flavor from the grill.

ePressureCooker said...

Oh no, you're right, you should absolutely add the white wine. Not just for flavor, but for practical reasons. Wine adds lots of reducing sugars to the stock, and they, in reacting with amino acids, promote the Maillard reaction in high temperature environments. (Adding a small amount of baking soda to alter the pH slightly and some salt will also facilitate the Maillard reaction in moister environments like in the pressure cooker.)

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