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We made turkey stock of out our Thanksgiving scraps. We simmered the turkey bones (unroasted) and all the vegetable trimmings for about 7 hours, and then chilled everything and stashed it in the refrigerator overnight.

But the chilled stock doesn't have any jelly-like thickness to it. It's pretty much a tan-colored liquid.

Without the gelatin-induced thickness, is this a failed stock? Can we use this "pseudo-stock" when a recipe calls for stock?

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What was the ratio of bones and meat to water? –  SAJ14SAJ Nov 28 '12 at 17:51
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Umm, I don't really know how to answer with a ratio. There was a lot of water - enough to cover all the solid bits, including the turkey carcass. There was at least two gallons of water. –  KatieK Nov 28 '12 at 17:53
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Did you add your drippings to this stock as well or did those go in the gravy? Depending on how long the turkey was roasted, I imagine most of the tendon and fat may have melted into the drip tray, unlike a chicken which cooks so much faster (leaving a carcass with much more intact tendon). Nonetheless, if it tastes good, it is good. Don't throw it away! –  ashkan Nov 28 '12 at 19:38
    
It was a brined and roasted turkey. The pan drippings all went into the gravy. –  KatieK Nov 28 '12 at 19:39
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2 Answers

up vote 11 down vote accepted

My best guess is that your stock is very weak. Two gallons of water to just the bones from one turkey will not be a strong stock.

It may well well have gelatin in it, but very thin.

I make stock for a single turkey with the wing tips (not the 'drumstick' part), the back, the neck--everything but the breast and leg/thighs in with about 1 gallon of water to start, which reduces to several quarts over the course of three-four hours.

This produces a very shaky jelly--much thinner than the one in a jar of Smuckers for example.

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The recipes I saw say to cover all the solid ingredients with water. How in the world did you do that with only one gallon of water? –  KatieK Nov 28 '12 at 17:58
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You don't have to literally cover them--if a tiny bit sticks out, over the course of 3-4 hours, and the very occassional stir, it will all get submerged. I use a wide dutch oven (which is not ideal) so that I can get the back in without having to cut it up. Another option is to take a cleaver to all the bits and pieces, and cut them up into chunks of about 2-4 inches in size. I just don't own a cleaver. –  SAJ14SAJ Nov 28 '12 at 18:01
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If you have a heavy knife, you can use the back of the knife to crack the bones, which will help the water get in there, even if they're not all cut up. –  Joe Nov 28 '12 at 18:13
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@KatieK these recipes contain certain assumptions about pot geometry. A ratio for classic stock would be between 1.3:1 and 1.6:1 meat/bones to water. If you fill a tall stock pot with bones and (almost) cover them with water, you get this ratio. It is not "wrong" to make a very thin stock as you describe it, but you shouldn't wonder if it doesn't look and taste like classic stock. –  rumtscho Nov 28 '12 at 20:25
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I should also share that I cut my turkeys into parts (leg/thigh, breast, cut the "forearm" and "hand" off the wings, cut out the back. I do this primarily because I think the turkey roasts much better in parts. I then roast the bits bound for the stock pot at 500 until they are visibly brown for a richer stock, then put them in the stock pot. But they are far from cooked through when I do it. –  SAJ14SAJ Nov 28 '12 at 20:37
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If you heat some up, and add a little salt, does it taste good? Then its a successful stock.

If you want it to be thicker/stronger, simmer it a while to reduce it. As SAJ14SAJ says, that's a fairly large amount of water vs. the amount of bones.

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Of course, don't add salt to it and then simmer it down, or it'll turn into a salt lick. (and be careful about boiling it down -- I once didn't pay attention, and boiled it dry, but the non-water bits burned something fierce ... smelled like burned hair, and the pot never really came clean after that. –  Joe Nov 28 '12 at 18:14
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Yes, I'm saying to take out a little bit, put it in a cup, microwave it, and add some salt to that. You just want it salted appropriately to taste it. –  derobert Nov 28 '12 at 18:53
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