Do you hate wasting anything?
Do you keep odd little ends and scraps, tidbits of this and that thinking one day it’ll come in handy?
Do you try (or wish you could) recycle, compost, reuse or utlitize every little thing you can?
Do you often wonder if left unchecked you could turn into a hoarder?
Ok wait, this is starting to sound like the beginning of an infomercial. All I need to say next is something like
“Then the ‘whatcha-ma-call-it-all-in-one-do-everything-never-needs-sharpening-self-cleaning-self-storing-nothing-will-ever-be-easier-make-you-look-younger-lose-20lbs-in-three minutes-perfectly-tone-your-body-in-two-complete-stain-removing-solution-for-everything-the-only-thing-you’ll-ever-need-to-buy-again-and-regardless-of-economy-inflation-and-world-catastrophe-will-never-cost-more-than-$19.95’ product is for you!”
For sake of brain cells and IQ point retention, let’s go down a different path. I’ve been trying to make a concerted effort to be smarter with what I throw away, what I keep and what I recycle. I’ve also tried to be more efficient and less wasteful with that which I use. Ironically in my switch to more natural, from the Earth foods, I’m actually findings it’s easier to do that with cooking.
Take cooking stocks for example. I used to buy Swanson stocks by the dozen practically. At about $1.75 a box I used to think that was cheap even if my total came to close to $35 at the checkout.
Little did I know until recently, just how easy stocks are to make for pennies. Not to mention it’s less sodium, has no carmel color, no sodium glutamate or methodextogross-me-out additives. It’s natural and I made it.
And you can to because I’m going to show you how and walk you through it step by step.
You’re going to need a nice big, deep pot and of course some chicken. You don’t need to buy chicken just to make stock. Here’s where to pennies on the dollar savings comes in.
I rarely ever buy skinless, boneless chicken breasts. I buy all my chicken on the bone. For chicken breasts I filet them off the bone myself, it’s easy, really. Then I save the left over bones and chicken parts, stick them in a freezer bag, date them and throw them in the freezer until I need them.
I also freeze the left over carcass from a whole cooked chicken, those pointy little wing tips etc. Anything with chicken bones in it is fair game.
When I need stock I simply grab about two pounds of chicken scraps out of the freezer and throw them in my pot.
We add two to three cups of carrots, celery and onions all largely cut, no small pieces here.
We’re going to add just a little bit of spice to include three cloves of garlic, cut large, two cloves, seven to eight pepper corns, one large bay leaf, two teaspoons of parsley and two teaspoons of thyme.
To make it easy to fish all these little things out or our broth, tie up the parsley, thyme and bay leaf in a double or triple layer of cheesecloth.
Toss all of this in the pot with your chicken, add five quarts of water and a dash of salt and bring the whole thing to a boil.
Once it’s boiling, reduce your heat, cover and simmer very very lightly for two or three hours. Use a skimmer to scrap off loose parts periodically.
When it’s done it should have a very pale golden color and a light aroma.
To drain it a heavy duty sieve with a turn handle is best but these are a bit expensive and I don’t have one yet. A tightly woven splatter guard works great in a pinch.
Using oven mitts and a steady grip, carefully pour the broth into a separate pot or bowl allowing all the food stuffs to remain in the cook pot.if you get little particles in the stock skim out what you can but don’t worry, we’ll get the rest later.
You should have a pot of gorgeous stock but it’s not ready just yet. Put this whole pot into the fridge and let sit over night. This allows all remaining fat to coagulate and congealed on the surface of the stock.
Once the stock is snug in the fridge take the left over chicken parts and pick all the remaining bits of meat off the bones. You will be surprised at how much chicken you will end up with. I average about 4-6 cups easy. I use this chicken for burritos, chicken salad, soup etc.
The next day carefully skim off the fat left over.
A little trick I learned from my Le Cordon Bleu Cooking Techniques book (which is also where I adapted this recipe from) is to dredge a folded paper towel through the stock to soak up as much of the remaining fat as possible.
You can leave some in the fridge for use in the next week or so but most if it should be frozen for easy access and storage.
I like to use my mini loaf pan because each one hold exactly 1/2 cup of stock. This makes it super duper easy to know how many you need for any recipe.
Find a nice flat place to store this in the freezer and leave it until solid.
You can get creative with the freezing process as well. Ice cube trays, silicone pans or freezer bags as well.
To remove let sit out for a few minutes or flip over on a cookie sheet and run warm water oven the back of the pan until you hear the broth loaves fall to the cookie sheet.
Now you have a bunch of 1/2 cup stock block that look like bars or soap. I don’t recommend bathing with these. Put them in a freezer bag and they’re ready when you need them. They’ll be good for a couple of months; more if air tight sealed.
See simple right? It takes a long time mostly due to cooking and freezer time but it’s so easy even Mr. Sweet Butter could do it.
The only real waste comes from the bones now. I stop short of making bone jewelry.
I need to make beef broth soon so I’ll post that recipe as well. It’s similar but there are a few different steps to it.
Now you can make all the chicken stock you want from the food you have already purchased.
And if you make it in the next ten minutes….
Ok I’ll behave.
- 2 large carrots, largely cut
- 2 large onions, quartered
- 2 celery stalks, largely cut
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and whole
- 6 peppercorns
- 3 cloves
- 1 tablespoon tumeric
- 1 large sprig of thyme OR 1 tablespoon dried
- 6 quarts of water
- Add veggies to a large stock pot. Warm on medium heat for 5 minutes to release the flavor.
- Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer on very low for 3-4 hours.
- Remove from heat an allow to cool 1 hour.
- Using a food mill or a colander placed in a large bowl, separate all food stuff from liquid. (reserve the food stuff)
- Strain liquid once more through cheese cloth or a very find mesh sieve.
- Store overnight in fridge.
- Meanwhile, pick through food stuff and remove all chicken from veggies and bones. Store in freezer for use in soups, enchiladas etc.
- Next day, strain again through cheese cloth or mesh sieve to remove all coagulated fat.
- Pour equal amounts in a muffin pan, ice cube trays etc and freeze. Store in freezer for easy measuring and use any time.