Don’t run away, this is easier than you think!! Truly, it takes almost no work at all and it’s delicious, very good for you, and cheap. Did I mention it makes your house smell divine? (If you’re not of the vegetarian persuasion that is … ).
So. I made both beef and chicken stock in that last week, and we’re loving them both. I’ll give the chicken recipe here as it’s a wee bit easier, and you’re more likely to have the ingredients lying around. The recipe I used is from Nourishing Traditions, which I love but haven’t delved all that deeply into yet in terms of actual recipes (it’s amazing in it’s nutrition info!). I am prone to trying out some of the fermented stuff though, fridge scavengers beware :).
This stock is good for you, full of nutrients, and makes great winter soups. Did I mention it’s easy?
Chicken Stock a la Nourishing Traditions, interpreted by SaneMom
- 2-3 chicken carcasses
I save all the bones in the freezer, and make stock when i’ve got enough
- one pkg of cheap chicken parts, like legs/wings, about 1.5 lbs
I use as natural a chicken as i can afford, free range is best as you’ll get more flavor and more marrow, but whatever you’ve got is fine
- some chicken feet, if you can find them! really. just don’t look at them too long. they add gelatin, which makes really rich broth. if you can’t find it, no worries.
- 4 quarts cold water
- 2 T vinegar
- A couple chopped onions
- A couple chopped carrots
- A couple celery stalks if you’ve got ‘em, we never do
- 1 bunch parsley
Dump everything but the parsley in a big covered stockpot. I use the one with a pasta insert, which makes clean up a breeze!
Let it sit for at least 30 min, or two or three hours, depending on how distracted you get. It I start mine at night once the kids are down. This helps the nutrients get drawn out.
Bring to a boil, skim off the scum that rises (gets rid of impurities, improves taste), reduce to a bare simmer, and forget about it for a day. Really. Ok, you should check once in awhile to make sure it hasn’t simmered away to nothing, but I sometimes let it go for 2 days. It will reduce a lot, and get richer as it goes. Syrupy even. I’ve never hesitate to go out for the day and leave it simmering, though you might not want to the first time you make it, just to get a sense of how fast it will reduce.
When you’re tired of smelling it, or it’s reduced to the point that the bones are sticking out of the liquid, then put in the parsley, simmer 10 minutes more, and strain it. (I just pull the pasta insert out of the pot and let it drain that way, you get a wee bit of sediment but not much.) Dump the bones etc in the garbage, or let the animals have it, it won’t have any taste left if you’ve let it go long enough. Stop and marvel the you can crush the bones between your fingertips, and let the kids have a go at it if they’re up. Fun stuff :).
Cool (I set mine on the porch in this weather, and then forgot about it overnight …), skim off the fat if you want, pour it into old sour cream or yoghurt containers, and freeze. The 16oz ones equal two cups, and if you’ve made it nice and strong, then it’s good enough to dilute with water when you make soup. I often use half stock/half water as a base. It tastes WAY better than any bullion cubes I’ve ever tried, is loaded with nutrients, and takes about 30 minutes of actual time in the kitchen. See, I said it was easy!
I promptly made PW’s French Onion Soup upon finishing my stock, because I’d been craving it for days. Of course we just quit eating wheat for a couple of weeks to see if it helps some health issues, so had door-stop-ish millet bread with toasted cheese on top to dip in it. I’m afraid millet bread doesn’t float :).
Winter soups are the best, any favorites to share??