How do I Boil a Carcass for Soup?

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Make a hearty soup with a leftover chicken or turkey carcass.
Make a hearty soup with a leftover chicken or turkey carcass. (Image: Jupiterimages/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Turn your leftover chicken and turkey carcasses into a second meal. Simmering the carcass with vegetables and herbs produces a flavorful broth that you can use to make soup. The broth takes a few hours to come together, but the job is largely hands-off. As a bonus perk, your home will be fragrant with the scent of simmering chicken or turkey soup all day long. The stock will remain fresh in the refrigerator for several days and can be frozen for several months.

Things You'll Need

  • Stock pot
  • Vegetables
  • Herbs
  • Strainer

Remove any large pieces of meat from the carcass and set them aside.

Break the carcass up into smaller pieces and transfer to large stock pot. Add roughly chopped vegetables like carrots, celery, onions, leeks, mushrooms and garlic to the pot. Toss in a few sprigs of herbs like thyme, rosemary, parsley or bay leaves for complex flavor.

Pour enough cold water in the pot to cover the carcass and the vegetables by 1 inch.

Bring the liquid to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer.

Skim off any foamy scum that rises to the surface during the first 30 minutes of cooking. This scum simply fat and removing it prevents the stock from becoming cloudy.

Allow the broth to simmer, covered, for about 4 hours. You can cook the broth for less time if you're in a hurry, but it won't be as flavorful.

Strain the broth and discard the carcass and vegetables.

Allow the broth to cool completely in the refrigerator. Once the broth cools, skim off any fat that settles on the top.

Turn the broth into a soup by combining it with vegetables and cooked meat. You can use the meat leftover from the carcass, or cook extra meat if there isn't enough. Simmer chopped vegetables like carrots, celery and onions in the broth until they become tender, about 20 minutes. Add the cooked meat to the pot until it is just warmed through. For a more filling dish, serve the soup with cooked pasta or rice.

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