Nourishing Traditions authors Sally Fallon Morell and Mary Enig write that broth is a sadly ignored source of nutrition. Here's an excerpt from their book about utilizing meat stock and a couple recipes, one for that Thanksgiving turkey, and another for making broth from the stock.
A lamentable outcome of our modern meat processing techniques and our hurry-up, throwaway lifestyle has been a decline in the use of meat, chicken, and fish stocks. In days gone by, when the butcher sold meat on the bone rather than as individual fillets, and whole chickens rather than boneless breasts, our thrifty ancestors made use of every part of the animal by preparing stock, broth, or bouillon from the bony portions.
Meat and fish stocks are used almost universally in traditional cuisines—French, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, African, South American, Middle Eastern, and Russian; but the use of homemade meat broths to produce nourishing and flavorful soups and sauces has almost completely disappeared from the American culinary tradition.
Properly prepared, meat stocks are extremely nutritious, containing the minerals of bone, cartilage, marrow, and vegetables as electrolytes, a form that is easy to assimilate. Acidic wine or vinegar added during cooking helps to draw minerals, particularly calcium, magnesium, and potassium, into the broth. Dr. Francis Pottenger, author of the famous cat studies as well as articles on the benefits of gelatin in broth, taught that the stockpot was the most important piece of equipment to have in one’s kitchen.
Turkey with Chestnut Stuffing
1 16-20 pound turkey
8 cups whole grain bread crumbs
2 teaspoons rubbed sage
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon pepper
4 medium onions, peeled and chopped
1 bunch celery, chopped
1/2 cup butter
2 cups chestnuts, coarsely chopped
Large needle and thick thread
2 onions, peeled and sliced
1 cup unbleached flour
4-6 cups turkey stock
Cooked giblets, finely chopped (optional)
Remove neck and giblets from turkey and use for making stock (see below). Sauté onions and celery in butter in a large skillet until softened. Mix with bread crumbs, seasonings and chopped chestnuts. The stuffing may be made ahead of time, but you should wait until you are ready to cook to stuff the turkey.
Stuff the neck cavity loosely and sew skin flaps to the body of the turkey with a large needle and thick thread. Stuff the main cavity loosely and fasten with skewers or merely bring the legs through a slit cut just behind the tail. Strew sliced onions in a large roasting pan. Set a rack over the onions and set turkey on the rack. Rub skin with salt and pepper and bake at 350 degrees for about 5 hours, basting frequently.
Remove the turkey to a carving board. Sprinkle flour in the drippings and cook over a medium flame about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add stock and blend with a whisk. Bring to a boil and cook several minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain gravy into a saucepan and allow to simmer for 1/2 hour or so until it reduces and thickens. Stir in optional giblets. If gravy gets too thick, thin with a little water.
Turkey wings and drumsticks
Neck and giblets (optional)
4 quarts cold filtered water
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 celery sticks, coarsely chopped
1 bunch parsley
Several sprigs fresh thyme
Place turkey pieces in a large stainless steel pot with water, vinegar, and all vegetables except parsley. Let stand 30 minutes to 1 hour. Bring to a boil, and remove scum that rises to the top. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 6 to 24 hours. The longer you cook the stock, the richer and more flavorful it will be.
Turkey stock will have much stronger flavor than chicken and will profit from the addition of several sprigs fresh thyme, tied together, during the cooking. About 10 minutes before finishing the stock, add parsley. This will impart additional mineral ions to the broth.
Remove turkey pieces with a slotted spoon. Strain stock into a large bowl and reserve in your refrigerator until the fat rises to the top and congeals. Skim off this fat and reserve for other cooking purposes.