D.I.Y.convenience foods soup

Thrifty Stock

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A hodgepodge of veggie trimmings otherwise destined to the compost heap are reclaimed!

Chicken necks, meat bones, and a handful of fresh herbs from the garden add character making this a truly frugal recipe.  Having a store of Thrifty Stock in the freezer enables you to stir up a pot of soup easily and inexpensively.  The whole process takes half a day, but requires very little hands-on time making it perfect for a stay-at-home day.  See How to Make a Muslin Stock Bag for directions on creating a handy helper for your soup-making endeavor, or simmer trimmings, bones, and spices loose and strain through a fine-mesh sieve at the end.

The Ingredients:
Miscellaneous Veggie Trimmings…
carrot peels and ends
celery leaves and bitter green stalks
onion skins and root ends
cabbage cores
shriveled mushrooms
tough asparagus ends
wilted parsley
broccoli, cauliflower, and kale stems
nothing moldy or slimy
no potato peels

leftover chicken or turkey carcass, necks, wings (no skin or fat)
meat bones (no fat)

1 tsp whole peppercorns
2 Tbs. sea salt
herbs of choice: thyme, garlic, parsley, fennel, sage, marjoram, bay leaves, lovage, etc.

1.  Reserve veggie trimmings and meat bones in gallon zippertop freezer bags in the freezer.  When you’ve filled 2-3 bags, thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

2.  The next day, dump it all in a lightly oiled turkey roaster, mist with olive oil, and roast uncovered at 425 degrees F for an hour or so, stirring 3 times.

3.  While that is going on, wash up your water bath canner (if enamel it must not be chipped) and put it on the burner with 2 gallons of water to heat.

Enclosing the ingredients in a muslin stock bag eliminates the need to strain the stock afterward.

4.  When the veggies and bones are well-roasted (I confess I sometimes skip the roasting step entirely) scoop them into a big muslin drawstring bag (see How to make a Muslin Stock Bag), add a teaspoon of whole peppercorns, 2 Tbs of sea salt, and extra herbs of your choice.  Pull the drawstring tightly closed and place carefully in the heating pot of water.  Add more water to nearly cover the stock bag (up to 2 inches from the top of the pot).  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 3-4 hours, until it is flavorful and volume is somewhat reduced.  This perfumes the house wonderfully; you had better bake some bread, too.

5.  Taste and adjust salt if needed.  Salt is the principle flavoring in commercially prepared stock, along with monosodium glutamate (another form of salt that many people are sensitive or allergic to).  Here you can determine the amount of sodium.  If the flavor is not concentrated enough for your liking, you cam simmer the stock longer.

6.  When done, turn the burner off and allow the pot to cool 1 hour on the stove.  When it is cool enough to handle, carefully lift the stock bag from the pot into a colander set in a large bowl.  The contents of the bag can be fed to chickens (minus bones) or empties into the compost heap.  Since the ingredients were all contained in the muslin bag, there is no need to strain the stock   It will be clear, its color depending on the veggies you used.  And since there is no fat or skin involved, there is no need to skim grease off the top.  (Hurray!)

7.  Ladle stock into freezer containers leaving 1 1/2 inches headspace or wide-mouth Can-or-Freeze jars following the headspace marking indicated on jars.  This allow for expansion in the freezer.  You may have a kitchen utensil other than a ladle that you can use for scooping the stock that will save you time and drips on the counter.  You can also freeze a portion of the stock in ice cube trays dedicated to the purpose and later pop them into freezer bags.  Label containers and freeze at 0 degrees F. Use at your leisure (within 1 year) to make delicious economical homemade soups and happy memories.  Enjoy! 

Thrifty Stock in the freezer is like money in the bank!

* Care of Muslin Stock Bag:

After emptying the stock bag, turn inside out and scrape any loose particles free.  Rinse and toss into the washing machine.  Wash in warm or hot water with detergent, no fabric softener.  Tumble dry low in the dryer or line dry.  Fold stock bag away in your dish towel drawer and it will be ready for its next use.

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