Cook Turkey Bones In Butter To Create Rich, Flavorful Liquid Gold

During the holiday season, chances are you're going to end up with some leftover turkey on your hands. Maybe you're busy brainstorming recipe ideas for using all that meat, but you can put those turkey bones to good use, too. All it takes is a little butter and about a half hour.

For a savory spread that can suit a kaleidoscope of recipes, slow-cook your turkey bones in butter on the stove and turn 'em into turkey bone butter. As they saute, the turkey bones release their meaty flavor into the butterfat, and also release collagen, creating a richer body that's perfect for melting or spreading. The result is a mouth-watering golden mixture that can add a flavorful boost to your stuffing or the roux for your gravy. This tip isn't just Thanksgiving-related, either. Turkey is a richer alternative to chicken if you're looking to keep dinnertime fresh year-round, and a zero-waste kitchen never goes out of season.

To do it, sauté your cleaned turkey bones in some butter on the stove for 30 minutes to an hour. Opt for unsalted butter here so you can control the salt content to suit your taste. As the bones simmer, skim off any solid bits that rise to the surface of the melted butter. Once it's finished, remove the bones and pass the liquid butter through a fine mesh strainer, then transfer it to an airtight container to cool and solidify. It'll keep in the fridge for up to a week.

Get ready to gobble (gobble) this butter up

Use a kitchen scale to prepare roughly equal parts butter and bones for the strongest, most luxurious roasted turkey-flavored beurre. But, this tip is all about using up your "scraps," so whatever proportions you've got will work just fine. In general, smaller bones have a smaller surface area, which is conducive to a more thorough flavor extraction, so there's no fragment too small as long as it gets caught by the sieve. Also, low and slow is the name of the game here; cooking over too high a temperature will cause the mixture to bubble and create cloudiness.  A slow simmer will bring out the most developed flavor, nutty smell, and a dark gold color.

Feel free to stir in some herbs or seasonings for a more complex flavor. Classic turkey spices like rosemary, thyme, oregano, or garlic would work well, as would more non-traditional spices like saffron, red pepper flakes, or garam masala.

Bone butter has a high smoke point, so you can use it as a cooking fat for sauteing, searing, or braising meats and veggies. You can melt it over popcorn, garnish steak with a pat of it, or use it to bake savory croissants or these cheese and scallion scones. Spread it onto crusty baguette slices or golden slabs of cornbread. Use it to roast vegetables. Stir a pat into some couscous or risotto. Slather it over roasted butternut squash or mashed potatoes, or spread it on a toasted bagel for breakfast.