December 07, 2010

Charred Homemade Turkey Stock: The Best (Worst) Kitchen Fail Ever

I'm going to begin this Kitchen Fail story with a really great tip for making your own chicken, vegetable, beef, turkey, etc. stock that I inherited from my father. Every time you cook vegetables, save the odds and ends (carrot or parsnip tops, mushroom stems, celery leaves, etc.) in a big freezer bag. That way, when you're ready to make stock, you won't have to use up so much fresh produce in order to add flavor, because you'll have a giant bag of great flavor already on hand.

So I had filled an enormous Ziploc bag with veggie odds and ends in the month and a half since we moved here, and was really excited to use it with the turkey bones and carcass leftover from Thanksgiving to make a flavorful stock that I could use to make soups this winter. Probably because I don't have real dependents, like a puppy or a child, watching my veggie bag grow turns me into a really proud mama. Cool, right?

I put my sacred veggie bits, six cloves of garlic, and the turkey...stuff in a large pot with about a cup of red wine, and then filled the rest of the pot with warm water, as I've done about a billion times since I started making my own stock. I turned the heat to medium-low (but not medium-low enough, apparently), and T and I left to do some errands.

First things first. No, we shouldn't have left the house with something on the stove. You're right. But we did, and I have before, and I've never had a problem. Based on what we came home to, I promise I'll never do it again.

We rolled into the garage and started fighting over who would take up the groceries, when I smelled something really terrible. I ran upstairs and burst into the most acrid, smoky, choke-inducing mess I've ever encountered. Our whole house was clogged with smoke, the source of which I quickly discovered was the fuming mess I had left on the stove.

Charred Turkey Stock, cooling on the porch.

All the water had evaporated out of the pot, leaving the veggies and turkey bits to absolutely char themselves in our absence. We opened all the windows and left the house for about four hours to go eat pizza and escape the stench, which had, of course, managed to attach itself to our hair and clothes anyway.

Our house still reeks of burnt turkey mess (despite major aerating), and I wake up in the middle of the night every night, convinced that the house is on fire. It is not great. But I did learn a lesson about leaving the kitchen unattended, without burning down our (rented!) house in the process. If that isn't something to be thankful for, I don't know what is.

1 comment:

  1. my grandad said you should always put the charred turkey and vegetable bits left over from a disaster in a ziplock bag and pop it in the freezer. Then you'll always have it when you really need to get someone back for something mean they did to you!
    Great story!