At Sound Food we do a lot of thinking about the community's food system. Have you ever stopped to think about an even more local food system – the food system in your own home? Once you begin to examine what you eat and to make choices that include seasonal ingredients and homemade projects, you'll see that you can easily create a system that is interdependent. By-products from homemade meals and scraps from left-over ingredients can be used to create even more deliciously useful things. This series of articles will explore how making the most out of the food system in your own kitchen can save you time and money.
Taking Stock of your Leftovers
Making stock is a perfect way to stretch your meat and vegetables a little further. It doesn't take long at all and gives you a ready to use supply for soups, stews, sauces, rice, and more. At the T&C a quart of organic vegetable stock costs between $3.39 and $3.99. Below is a recipe that will teach you how to turn your kitchen waste into stock. Think about how much that might save you!
To make this process easy and to close the gap on veggie waste in your home food system, start keeping a stock box in your freezer. Every time you find yourself with vegetable scraps, wash them and toss them into your container.
Good scraps to save: onions, garlic, carrots, celery, mushroom stems, carrots, green parts of leeks, zucchini ends, chard stems, squash seeds, potato skins, and almost any other mild vegetable
Avoid: cabbage, brussels sprouts, broccoli, beets, and tomatoes
When you have accumulated enough scraps, begin making your stock. A good rule of thumb is to use about 4 cups of vegetables to 2 quarts of water (or think of it as a
ratio of 1 cup solids to 2 cups water).
1. Remove scraps from freezer and evaluate. Do you have a pretty balanced mix? Onions, carrots, and garlic are the usual basis for a tasty stock. If you don't have any garlic in your scrap box, peel 2-3 cloves and add.
2. Spread the scraps in a glass baking dish. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Roast at 350F until the scraps begin to caramelize. Stir periodically. (Roasting your vegetables will give your stock a richer flavor. If your goal is a light stock, skip this step.)
3. In a large pot, add vegetables to 2 quarts water. Add about 1 ½ tsp. salt and a few whole peppercorns. If you'd like, add a few sprigs of herbs. (Thyme and a bay leaf or two work well.) Simmer for about an hour.
4. Strain the stock into a bowl or glass container to cool.
5. When it is cool, store it. Ladle it into quart-size bags, seal, and lay flat in the freezer. (This will allow you to cut off the amount that you need when cooking.)
Have you thought you'd like to buy and enjoy some local chicken but worried that it seems expensive?You can get more than your money's worth out of that happy island chicken, if you just know how. Check out the Sound Food website for a recipe for chicken stock. It's tasty, easy, and can be made even after you've enjoyed a few meals from your chicken.
Homemade Chicken Stock
Got a whole chicken for dinner? After roasting it and enjoying it, make stock out of what is leftover!
remains of 1 roasted chicken
2 onions, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, washed, unskinned, and coarsely chopped
2 ribs celery, coarsely chopped (optional)
2 cloves garlic
1. Prepare the vegetables and spread into a glass baking dish or baking sheet. Drizzle with about 1 tbls. olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 40 minutes, stirring periodically, at 450F.
2. Place the leftover chicken in a tall stock pot. Add 6 quarts of water and roasted vegetables.
3. Add 2 bay leaves and 1 tsp. black peppercorns.
4. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 2 hours.
5. Skim the fats from the surface and strain to a large bowl to cool. Skim again, if needed.
6. Freeze flat in quart bags for easy access when needed.