In the week after Thanksgiving, I was asked "How can I use the carcass of my turkey?"
The answer is to make broth or stock. These terms are sometimes used interchangeably, so let's first understand the difference.
Broth: Tends to have a lighter, clearer appearance than stock. It is typically made by simmering meat (with or without bones), vegetables, and aromatics. Broth is usually not heavily seasoned, so just add salt. It is usually cooked for around 1-2 hours. Broth is used as a base for soups, stews and other recipes.
Stock: Has a darker color and a more robust flavor than broth. Stock is made by simmering bones (or a full carcass with leftover meat). It can be made alone or with vegetables and aromatics. Stock is cooked for a long duration, usually 4-6 hours, to allow for the extraction of the collagen and gelatin of the bones - which gives it the rich, thick consistency. Stock is perfect as a base for sauces, gravies and as a braising liquid because of its consistency, but can be called for in some soups.
Simply boiling a carcass for 2-3 hours will produce a flavorful broth. You can always add vegetables and other seasonings.
For a more flavorful stock recipe, try this.
Turkey/Chicken Carcass: Remove as much meat as possible from the carcass, but don't worry about getting it completely clean.
Boiling: Place the carcass in a large pot and cover with water and a lid.
Add Vegetables or Herbs: Add roughly chopped onions, carrots, and celery to the pot. Throw in a couple of bay leaves and some thyme (or other herbs you prefer). I look for what's in my refrigerator at the time.
Simmer: Bring the water to a boil and immediately reduce to a simmer. Let simmer for 4-6 hours depending upon your time and how rich you want your stock.
Strain: Over a bowl, strain out the liquid and throw away the solids.
Cool and Store: Allow the stock to cool and then store it in air-tight containers. I freeze 16-ounce containers to easily grab when cooking.