Living in a circa 1840s farmhouse has taught me to not keep around items that are rarely used, those that only perform a single task on rare occasions. Our old farmhouse simply doesn’t have the storage space to allow me to keep items on hand that are used once a year. If a tool, appliance, or other household item wants to be given permanent status, it better find itself useful on a regular basis.
One of the items that I choose not to keep in our Farmhouse Kitchen is a roasting rack. Sure, I know that it doesn’t require very much space in the cabinets. I still don’t allow one to slumber in our cabinets all year long only to be called into service on Thanksgiving day.
Instead, I use aromatic vegetables like onions, carrots, celery, and herbs to raise the bird up off the surface of the roasting pan. As an added bonus, the vegetables I use to create a raft to keep our turkey afloat also add a delicious flavor to the pan drippings that will become our gravy and the bone broth I make after our meal has ended.
The process is so simple. I remove the peel or skin from the vegetables and slice them in half. I place them on the bottom of the roasting pan with the cut sides down, creating a nice bed for our turkey to rest on as it roasts in the oven. Before I set the turkey on top of whatever vegetables I had on hand, I often sprinkle them liberally with the herbs I have chopped for the dressing and other side dishes.
Don’t worry if all you have leftover from your other dishes is a few carrots or stalks of celery. They’ll work just fine and do the job spectacularly. Use what you have and know that any vegetables and herbs will add flavor in a way that a metal rack couldn’t dream of.
Once the meal is over, those vegetables and herbs can be added to the pot to make a batch of delicious bone broth. They add flavor and color to the broth just like they did to the pan drippings that became our gravy. It’s amazing what a difference they make in both preparations.
I can’t imagine ever going back to using a metal rack to support our Thanksgiving turkey. By using the vegetables that are leftover from the day’s cooking, I don’t have to offer up any precious cabinet space for a rarely used roasting rack and I can add flavor and color to the pan drippings and broth at the same time. You simply can’t do that with a metal roasting rack!