Turkey, Thanksgiving, Poultry, Butter, Quick & Easy, Wheat/Gluten-Free, Fall, Winter, How To

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Make the Absolute Most of Your Turkey Bones With Bone Butter

Throw yourself a bone.

10/27/2021 6:03:00 PM

Throw yourself a bone.

Before you stick them in a stockpot, slowly cook poultry bones in butter to give your gravy, stuffing, and other dishes a poultry-rich boost.

as I had in the past, I tried simply sautéing them in a little butter. The resulting roasty turkey-flavored fat and fond (that is, the dark toasty bits that get stuck to the bottom of the pan) would become the base for my gravy, and afterward, the bones would go into the stock as usual.

Then it hit me: If I can make a little bit of bone-flavored butter for my gravy, why not make a lot? Why not have a whole pint of the stuff to slather all over my Thanksgiving spread?Cooking bones in butter until they’re a rich caramel brown infuses the butter with a deep poultry flavor.

Photo by Joseph De Leo, Food Styling by Rebecca JurkevichFor a brown poultry stock, I usually roast the bones in a 425° oven until they’re deep mahogany, then simmer them in a stockpot with aromatics—usually the trimmings from my stuffing prep—for as long as possible. With bone butter, I realized I could just cook the bones on the stovetop in butter until they hit that deep golden brown color. They’ll have imparted plenty of fat-soluble roasted poultry flavor compounds to the butter, but they still retain plenty of water-soluble flavors (not to mention collagen for body) for the stock, as well. headtopics.com

My basic bone butter recipe, if you could call it that, is as follows:Get some bones and some butter.I typically try to use equal parts by weight of each, but it all depends on what’s on hand. Bone butter is not an exact science. Just make the most of what you have.

Chop up the bones if necessary.A turkey spine is too big to fit into my sauté pans, so separating it into segments around two inches long—usinga heavy-duty cleaverif you’ve got one—makes the whole procedure easier. (Plus, smaller bone bits will give you a better extraction once you put them into your stockpot.) Give the chopped bones a quick rinse and pat dry to remove any errant bone fragments. But you can totally skip this step and use whole leg, wing, or neck bones if you're short on time.

Cook the bones in the butter.You’re not making a confit exactly, but I like to let the bones simmer low and slow in the butter for at least 30 minutes. You’re looking for a nice, tasty-looking golden brown. If any scum rises to the surface, skim it off.

Remove the bones and strain the butter.Daub any excess butter off the bones if necessary and plop them into a stockpot with aromatics and whatever else you like in your stock. Pass the bone butter through a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth into a heatproof container. Keep it in the fridge if you plan to use it within a week; otherwise stash it in the freezer for long-term storage. headtopics.com

Now, the types of bones you use will vary depending on your menu and method of preparation. At the very least, your turkey will almost certainly come with its neck tucked inside its body cavity. And while neck bones alone work well enough, I like to boost the flavor with even more bones whenever possible. In my household, I almost always make

a spatchcocked turkey, because it cooks in a fraction of the time of a traditionally roasted bird and results in more even cooking of the breast and leg meat. To spatchcock the turkey, I cut out the backbone and usually remove the wing tips as well, which make for excellent bone butter.

Once you’ve made a bunch of bone butter, perhaps you’re wondering what to do with it. The answers are myriad. Read more: epicurious »

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