We used to save chicken backs and wings and necks for soup. (Not stock--soup.)
I don't consider it "wasting good chicken meat to make stock" if the meat is used. My mother would take a stewing hen, for instance (I don't know if anyone sells stewing hens anymore, but when we had chickens we sure did) that was too old and tough to make a good frying or even roasting chicken, to make stock, and then package the meat.
But that's a matter of preference.
One of the butchers I use is quite happy to give me a bag full of chicken carcases for stock making, free.
one of the gourmet market gives ham bones at a buck each for soup and if I lucky they can have up to a lb of meat still on the bone.
Back when I was a kid, the butcher at the nearest grocery store would give people "dog bones" for free, knowing darn good and well that quite a few people made soup out of them, including us.
Bay is one of those things that it took me years to think it was worth it i cant tell you what it is but it makes a difference stock made with out it tastes well empty
I discovered that trick a couple of years ago. I wish I'd known about it earlier.
1) roast a chicken, with veggies; have roast chicken for 1 meal. I use a big roasting pan and pop the lid on after the first 15 minutes because I like to do this a lot and I hate cleaning the oven. The chicken comes out lovely and moist, and if it's too pale I take the lid off at the end and put it under the broiler for 3 minutes.
2) I cut the easy meat off the chicken, to keep in slices in tupperware for sandwiches, or to decorate ramen or rice.
3) I put the remaining hacked carcass (frequently a day or two later) in the crockpot, add water, or water plus canned broth, to halfway up the side, simmer 2 hours (I sometimes go longer but if you destroy the connective tissue around the bones it turns out that chicken ribs and vertebrae are teeny and hard to find) pour thru sieve, defat and save broth, let pile of meat and bones cool enough to pick through, pick meat off bones, discard bones.
I like to recombine meat and broth and either pop in the fridge to become the base for several small soups, or put it back in the crock pot and make a big pot of soup. I add whatever veggies sound good and happen to be handy. Sometimes I brown them, sometimes I don't have time.
Ginger, a can of coconut milk, and curry makes a really nice soup with this, but aren't actually necessary. My soup tends to be really low in salt, as Mom cooked without, so I forget to add any. I figure you can always add it at the eating stage if you want it.
I refer to this process (especially the soup stage) as "pwned chicken."
Everything that I might drain from a veggie can [beans, corn, green beans, etc] goes in a gallon bag I keep in the freezer and when it's full, it goes in the stock pot with whatever meat item I might have.
I find the liquid from canned beans (such as black beans, kidney beans, etc.) unbearably "canny" in taste, enough to annoy me even in a soup, so I wash them. Others are fine if I need the extra liquid.
Hmm. That's a thought. I'll have to keep that in mind.
I love making soup also. I learned to make a bouquet garni where you tie up all the herbs together. Now I let them loose to wander around and infuse the stock with their goodness. I almost always have a large batch of soup going. It makes a meal.
Good soup is indeed a meal. Soup and bread, often enough.
I have a large pot of potato and mushroom soup in the fridge - and a large bowl of it inside me - as I write!
If you make your own stock - I sometimes do but not always - a pressure cooker is good at speeding the process up. One of the things I like to do with a chicken is to poach it in water (perhaps with a Knorr Stock Pot gel added) with an onion stuck with cloves and a bouquet garni. The meat is wonderfully tender and flavoursome, even if you buy a frozen chicken. But then you boil up the bones with perhaps more onion, a leek and some carrots, for a couple of hours (or 20 minutes in the pressure cooker). The resulting stock can be used as stew, or what makes it even better is if you freeze it, and then use it to cook up another chicken.... and even another. That was the best soup ever, but whether I'd ever have the patience to repeat that, I'm not sure!
My mother had a pressure cooker when I was a small child, but one day it...um...blew out its pressure gauge and painted the ceiling with whatever was in it. My mother quit using it after that and I've never been tempted. I understand that the newer ones have less tendency to "flip their lids" and "blow their stacks" than the pre-WWII model my mother had.
Right now, however, despite discarding old pots and reorganizing, I don't have storage room for another pot. I've still having to hot-swap some in and out of the oven/stovetop space.
Working at home means I don't have to cook fast...I can afford to put on the big stock pot and just let it simmer away for hours.
You probably have a bigger kitchen than I do! I don't have room, although I do get my slow-cooker out on a regular basis. But the pressure cooker is good for some things - I especially like it for preparing Seville oranges for marmalade each January.
|From: Kathryn Cramer|
2010-10-17 02:51 pm (UTC)
yesterday's soup-making (from Kathryn Cramer)
I bought a 14 quart stock pot about a month ago, and used it yesterday to make about 3 gallons of an experimental soup: green tomato soup using an avgolemono base.
It came out pretty well. (My mother had three bowls of it at dinner.)
The general concept is this: First make a big pot of chicken stock and then make that into avgolemno soup. Before adding the lemon & the rice to the soup, reserve about a cup of the soup to cook the tomatoes in.
Core and quarter the green tomatoes (I used about 8 or 9 lbs for the final 12 quarts of soup.) Put the tomatoes in a big pot and cook them in the reserved liquid until soft. Run the green tomatoes through a food mill and add to the soup. (I also put in what was left in the food mill after milling for texture.) Add lemon juice to taste. (I initially had put in a cup of lemon juice, and added another half cup after we had the soup at dinner.)
I have managed to get it all in the refrigerator, but I need to go buy some more freezer jars so I can freeze more of it.
I have enough soup so that if I freeze it, I can have a quart a week for quite a while.
2010-10-17 02:59 pm (UTC)
Re: yesterday's soup-making (from Kathryn Cramer)
Wow! That's a LOT of soup. Sounds good.
|From: Kathryn Cramer|
2010-10-17 03:37 pm (UTC)
Re: yesterday's soup-making (from Kathryn Cramer)
On Friday, I visited a local organic farm, and the farmer was describing proper storage of green tomatoes for ripening. And, on hearing this, I realized I was storing my green tomatoes all wrong and they weren't going to ripen, they were just going to get moldy; and so I had better learn to cook with green tomatoes right quick.
Friday night, I made lentils with green tomatoes, which was very good. I waited until Saturday to do the really heavy cooking.
(The farm I visited was Essex Farm in Essex, NY. Mark and Kristin Kimball are really interesting -- and extremely hospitable -- people. Kristin's book, The Dirty Life, just came out: http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/article/20101010/LIVING09/101008013/Author-captures-‘The-Dirty-Life-on-new-farms ).
It's really interesting. We've never really made chicken stock ourselves at home (probably since the only one who might be bothered to try is usually at work...) Anyway, whenever my mom DOES find the time to make soup, its usually vegetarian. We've just never had many meaty soups in our family. Do you recommend anything for a vegetarian stock? I think she uses V-8 and bullion cube(s) depending on the size...
I've never made a purely vegetable stock, but the advice I've seen elsewhere on all stock-making is to include a lot of strong flavored herbs and vegetables. Minimal level would be onions, garlic, carrot, celery (with leaves), parsley (any kind.) You could add others (a stray radish left over from something else, spinach or chard leaves, etc.--anything you've trimmed away while preparing vegetables because it's too old, too tough, raggedy looking, etc.) I don't know what herbs you like. I'd put in a sprig of rosemary, a bay leaf (or more, depending on size), sage, basil, etc. and also black peppercorns. Dried herbs will do. If you want tomatoes in the final stock (and the soups you make from it) then tomato paste or diced tomatoes or both would work. The trick with vegetables, I think, is balancing those that will yield bitter or sweet flavors to the stock. (Something that meat in the stock helps with.) I expect experimenting would be necessary, depending on the vegetables you have available to use.
Personally, I wouldn't use V-8 or bouillon cubes because of the high salt content (I try to keep stocks minimal on sodium, because as you reduce them they get saltier.) That's just a preference, though. If you don't have concerns about sodium levels then it's not a problem. My mother used bouillon cubes and so did I at first.
I see. That makes sense. Does the final stock end up extremely flavorful if you include strongly-flavored herbs and veggies, or does the flavor get a little diluted and so you want stronger flavors to start with?
It's the dilution factor. You start off with your ingredients and water--so the flavors are diluted to start with. As you reduce the stock, you concentrate the flavor again, but you're not going to get to the same intensity that you get if you take a mouthful of parsley or celery leaves or a carrot. What you do get is the lovely blend of a more delicate level of flavor--and then when you make soup with your stock, and reiterate the founding flavors, they come in much more brightly than if you were making soup with just water, not stock. You don't need as much in the soup, to bring out those flavors again.
I'm hoping next summer to have enough garden vegetables to make some vegetable stock, but our summer weather's so chancy (in terms of rain and extremes of heat) that we may get just enough to eat and no more.
2010-10-21 11:11 pm (UTC)
I experimented the other night with a recipe I found on the net.
1 package of Chorizo sausage
7 or 8 chopped up cloves of garlic roasted on the grill (leftover from the previous night)
1 medium onion rough chopped
3 cans of Black Beans (drained/washed)
3 cans of Chicken Broth
1 can of diced tomatoes (drained)
2 teaspoons of red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon of cumin
1 package of mixed vegetables (carrots, corn, peas, green beans)
strip the casing from the chorizo and then tear it apart and brown in a dutch oven with olive oil. add the garlic and onion
once the onions are translucent add the remaining ingredients (except one can of beans) and bring to a boil
once it boils up take the third can of beans and mash them up and then add them in.
turn the heat down and wait till it thickens up (i had to add some cornstarch).
When you're ready crack open a beer and ladle out into a bowl and throw in a dollop of sour cream.