Monday, November 2, 2009

Stockin' Up

It's fall. Did you know that? Well, it is.

Which means that it's time for harvesting, hoarding and preserving.

Side Note: I wanted a synonym for the word "preserving" that started with the letter "h" but all I could find was "husband", as in "animal husbandry." I'm just not convinced that's an actual synonym for preserve. I mean really? Are farmers in the business of animal preservation? That makes it sound more like a park ranger type situation. Too bad park rangers aren't referred to as park husbands. Talk about commitment to the job.

...get it? Commitment? 'Til death do us "park"?...anyone?... *taptaptap* this thing on?

Anyway, I have tackled this domestic duty head on: the first step is to make tons of chicken stock while the vegetables are still in season and therefore cheap and environmentally friendlier.

C and I have discovered the most amazing recipe for the most delicious stock. After you taste it (or just smell it cooking!) you won't ever buy canned or boxed stock again, and you won't even want to look at chicken bouillon. It will give you chills. It will also cure chills, as any good chicken broth can. It will warm your home, make your husband love you even more than he already does, make your children behave and your flowers will deadhead themselves. No, seriously.

Don'tcha wanna at least try it?!

The first step is to assemble all the ingredients.

Now, I realize that I instructed you to assemble *all* the ingredients, and the photograph does not include *all* of the ingredients. But I trust you can use your imagination. I'm new to the whole taking-adequate-pictures part of my life, having grown up surrounded by photographers, so you're just gonna have to take what you get.

Here's what you actually in-real-life-not-photographed-above need:

  • 1 really ginourmus pot
  • 3 roasting hens
  • 3 large yellow onions, unpeeled and quartered
  • 6 carrots, unpeeled and halved
  • 4 stalks celery with leaves, cut into thirds
  • 4 parsnips, unpeeled and cut in half, optional
  • 20 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 15 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 20 sprigs fresh dill
  • 1 head garlic, unpeeled and cut in 1/2 crosswise
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns

Variations: Sometimes, other parts of chicken are on sale for real cheap. I have made this recipe with one hen and about twenty chicken thighs, or a ton of wings or whatever. I've even made it with one split chicken, some drumsticks and a picked-apart chicken carcass. Also, with regard to the herbs, I think buying fresh herbs at the store is kinda overpriced. I grow a lot of herbs at home, but sometimes I come up short (plus I don't grow dill). Just supplement dried herbs as you see fit. Generally, when substituting dried herbs for fresh, I reduce the amount by about half, more if the dried herbs are ground. Also, I've left out the celery before with no disasters resulting and for various unexplainable reasons I have a superfluity of whole white peppercorns so I use those instead of black, I just throw in a few extra.

In other words, work it as you will, this thing is pretty hard to kill.

  1. Put it all in the pot.

  2. Looks nice, doesn't it?

  3. Turn up the heat real high until it boils. This may take a while, since there is so much crammed in there.

  4. Once it boils, reduce the heat so that it pipes down a little and let it simmer for four hours.

  5. Cool it until it's about room temperature. (Or you can be like me and procrastinate by sticking it in the refrigerator for a day before buckling down and pulling it out again to strain the broth and debone the chickens.)

  6. Strain all the vegetables out and debone the chicken.
Now you have a choice:
  • you can either dump all the deboned chicken back in the broth and make yourself some "sippin' once, sippin' twice, sippin' Chicken Soup with Rice"
  • OR you can make something else out of it (like chicken salad, tacos, enchiladas, stir fry, casserole, etc)
  • OR you can divide it up and freeze it a pound at a time for later use.

The broth is very freezable too. I usually freeze it in two different sizes of container: one set that holds only about two cups and one that holds more like 6. That is what I find most flexible, and therefore useful, for later recipes which require thawing.

Next fall food discussion topic:

Q:Why On Earth Did I Buy All This Beef?
A: Because That Half-Steer Needed Me.

No comments:

Post a Comment