Monday, April 14, 2014

Making stock of the situation.

So, I have a hard time throwing things away. Especially food. I don't like for things to go to waste.  That's why keeping a stock bag in my freezer has been an amazing thing!  I can make stock out of items I would normally throw away!  It's so easy and the results are delicious!

In this batch of stock, I have a leftover rotisserie chicken. I'm going to take all the meat off the carcass and put just the skin and bones into the crock pot. It's not critical that you use bones, I just have some and eat meat.  If you're a vegetarian, go crazy with everything else!

In my stock bag from my freezer you'll find:
  • mushroom stems
  • onion skins (they make the stock really dark and flavorful)
  • old parsley
  • asparagus ends (use sparingly, they're strong, I only saved one bundle's worth)
  • carrot peels and ends ( I also added some old baby carrots)
  • green onion ends
  • celery leaves and ends
  • old bones
You can also put potato peels, sweet potato peels, zucchini, eggplant, cilantro stems, cheese rinds, kale stems, truly anything that's not too strong in the stock pot. It'll turn out fine and if for some bizarre reason it doesn't, you're not wasting money on brand new ingredients.

Throw everything into the crock pot, cover with water and add spice to taste.  For me that was:
  • 1T salt
  • 1/2 T pepper
  • 1 t thyme
  • 1 t rosemary
  • 1/2 t sage

I set the crock pot on low for 9 1/2 hours, but truly, as long as there's water you can leave the stock in there for upwards of 12 hours. 

When it's done, you have rich, flavorful, homemade stock that you can use right away, or put in the freezer. 

This batch yielded about 12 cups of stock.  After sitting in the fridge while I went to work,  I came home and strained it first through a colander and next through a fine mesh strainer, to be sure to get all the little pieces out. 

 Then I divided the stock up into quart-sized containers and put them into the freezer. 

Now the next time I'd like to make soup, or rice or beans or pasta sauce or whatever else my weird brain can concoct, I'll have delicious homemade stock to get me off on the right foot.  I've also already started my next stock bag to do it all over again!