Monday, March 30, 2009

Making and taking stock

Since we have moved out of eating salads, I have started making soups to go with lunch for son and myself. Hubby is not a soup person, has trouble transporting it and...well lets be honest. He just does not like it. It happened in childhood, when his mom would try to do creative means to stretch the food dollar. With six kids and one income, creative moves are a must. One of her standards was navy Bean Soup, but according to the hubby, it had no taste whatsoever. I think the reason may have been that my MIL never knew the secret of a good stock.

A good stock is a critical ingredient to making a good soup. Most people will take the easy way out and buy ready made stock in a can. It is time saving, but not necessary. The cost of ready made stock is high, and the ingredients can sometimes be "bad". High in sodium, high in fat, high in MSG and more. So why not make your own ? It is very easy .

First thing you need is meat with bones. Why bones ? The marrow ads a richer flavor to the finished product. Next, you will need vegetables.It is safest to stick with the long keeping varieties such as carrots, cabbage, rutabegas and so forth. Include onions and garlic in that mix as well, and no need to peel them. The peels add flavor and nutrients to the product. I make my stock at the same time I cut up my weekly lunch/snack veggies.

The ends go into a crockpot along with the meat and spices. This batch included raw chicken legs, leftover chicken vesuvio, some cabbage that would not fit in the other crock where I was making corned beef and cabbage, rutabegas , water , bay leaves, thyme and parsley. I put it on high for 6 hours and then flipped it to low and let it steep overnight. In the morning I strained out the meat and veggies ( some would use the meat left for chicken salad) and put the liquid in the fridge. In a few hours the fat has risen to the top, where it can be skimmed off and discarded

For a few minutes effort I get 8 cups of fat free, low sodium chicken stock to use in a range of soups and dishes. For example, did you know that you can replace oil with stock when stir frying veggie ? You can also replace the water that you cook pasta or grains in with stock for a whole new taste sensation. OIn days gone by people made stock out of any leftover dribs and drabs of food that were leftover or resulted from food prep. Outer cabbag leaves, onion skins, carrot or beet tops, leftover turkey carcases- you name it. It was a frugal and tasty move !


Sugar Bush Primitives said...

Thank you, Thank you for the lesson in making soup stock. I can't wait to do it.

Thank you for your comment on my "Loser" blog. Believe me, it was not my idea to write the first part. LOL!


The Incredible Shrinking Family said...

I think a lot of people believe that making stock is a mysterious and tricky art, simply because we have never seen it done. Then once we do it ourselves, we wonder why we never started in the first place. It is such an easy,healthy and frugal thing to do , and once you have a batch made and work with it, you come to understand what they mean by this stuff being liquid gold .

And believe me, spirituality plays an important role in the whole weight loss journey- as it does every aspect of life ! Some day i will have to write about something I call "the sacrament of meat loaf".

Marisa (Trim The Fat) said...

I am so glad you posted this!!! I just saved my chicken carcass from last night's dinner in the hopes of figuring out how to make my own stock!!! Thanks:)

The Incredible Shrinking Family said...

Just toss that carcass, skin and all into a crock pot or a stock pot. Add the holy trinity of veggies( celery, carrots and onions- and other root goodies if you have them) with garlic and cover it at least an inch with water. Toss in a bay leaf or two, some thyme and perhaps some sage and parsley, and simmer it till everything looks quite played out- or overnight in your crock pot. Cool, strain, chill, skim and you will be ready to play !