I grew up in a household where it was considered a sin to throw food away. My parents would routinely utter "Think about all the starving children in Africa" every time I would linger over a less-tasteful part of the evening meal. Now, with grown kids of my own, the desire to use every last morsel of a meal is etched in my psyche.

This year, I've decided to splurge on a heritage turkey for our Thanksgiving meal. These beautiful specimens are rare by today's standards, as they are raised in a natural manner typical of the wild variety. Culinary experts herald their meat as the tastiest and healthiest on the market.

When I return home from the market with my prized possession, I vow to utilize every last bit. Of course, my family will only be interested in the meat, so I have to don my creative cap to find ways to use the remaining carcass. It's a challenge to turn bits and pieces into something appetizing, but I have a couple of recipes that will maximize the return on my investment.

Simple Turkey Stock

This simple recipe makes a great poultry stock that can be used as a base for soups, stews, gravy and other dishes.


  • One turkey carcass
  • 4 quarts of fresh water
  • Two garlic cloves, halved
  • 1 teaspoon parsley
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 sliced fresh onion, or 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

To prepare the carcass for stock, remove meat from the bones of the carcass. Cut up the remaining carcass and store covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

To make the stock, place all of the bones in a large pot and add the water and remaining ingredients. Slowly bring to a boil, then lower heat and continue to simmer for 2–3 hours (longer for a richer stock). Be sure to check the pot regularly, as the bones will create a foamy substance that should be removed periodically. After 2–3 hours, remove pot from heat. Pour the stock through a fine strainer to remove solids. Store in freezer-safe containers for up to one year.

Makes 3–4 quarts

Turkey and Vegetable Quiche

This recipe takes a little effort but the dish is outstanding and makes a wonderful change from the ordinary.

  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 zucchini, finely chopped
  • 1 red pepper, cored, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup turkey, finely chopped
  • 6 eggs
  • 1½ cups heavy cream
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 (9-inch) ready-made piecrust, in pie pan
  • 1 cup chopped fresh baby spinach
  • 1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup crumbled bacon
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 425° F. In a large bowl combine onions, zucchini and peppers. Add olive oil and salt and pepper. Gently toss. Place on a large baking sheet and roast about 20–25 minutes. Remove from oven. Add turkey, toss well and set aside. In a food processor combine the eggs, cream, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Arrange roasted vegetable-turkey mixture inside piecrust. Sprinkle spinach, then basil on top of vegetables and turkey. Pour egg mixture over the top. Scatter cheese over egg mixture and bake at 375° until golden brown and cooked through, about 35–45 minutes. (When cheese starts to turn brown, tent with foil). Allow to cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving. Cut into 8 wedges.

Serves 8

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About the Contributor
Maria Desiderata Montana