Tip: Use a Metal Colander for Easier Homemade Stock

For me, the quintessential aroma of Thanksgiving (and of autumn too, come to think of it) is not pumpkin pie, cinnamon, or hot cider. No, it's the smell of turkey broth simmering. I am not even a huge fan of turkey; I'd prefer to eat some other beast on Thanksgiving. But turkey broth? Give it to me. That stuff is pure liquid gold. I make vats of turkey stock this time of year and stash it away for soups.

But making homemade stock can be both messy and time-consuming. This time around, I am using one little tip to make things easier on myself, and it has made all the difference.

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Here's what I did: I took my biggest metal colander, which just fits inside my biggest soup pot, and stuffed it full of turkey wings and legs and some aromatic onions, carrots, and celery. Then I filled it up with water and let the stock simmer until it was rich and fragrant. (This is a topic for a whole other post, but I actually made this stock in the oven, overnight. I highly recommend this technique!)

Then, when the stock was done, I simply lifted the colander out of the pot, taking the bones and vegetables with it and leaving nearly perfect broth behind.

It saved me the trouble and challenge of trying to pour a huge pot of hot broth and bones into a colander to strain. This method feels not only easier, but safer as well. And you're not dirtying anything extra; no matter what, you're going to have to strain the bones and vegetables out of the broth.

Depending on how small your colander's holes are, you may want to strain the broth again through a fine mesh strainer. But I wasn't feeling fussy, so I didn't.

I was inspired by this post from Fine Cooking on using a pasta strainer for making broth:
Tip from Fine Cooking: Make Stock in a Pasta Strainer

But since I didn't have a pasta strainer, I thought I would try the colander, and yes — it worked so well I'm never making stock another way again.

Have you ever tried this method, or one like it?

More stock tips & help!
Your Guide to Making Homemade Stock & Broth

(Images: Faith Durand)