Well, the greatest holiday of the year has come and gone and what do we have to show for it? Heaps and heaps of food. Sure, we all know how to make the turkey last, making all manner of turkey recipes for weeks to come but what about the bones? The carcass. You make stock of course!
I’m a meat eater and I have no problem with that. I have a lot of problems with they way meat is produced, hence my on going effort to try to produce at least some of it on my own, but eating meat is not something I find offensive or wrong. What offends me in the mass produced garbage we are all buying, animals grown in massive barns that will never see grass, let alone sun light, their entire albeit short life. These beasts are pumped full of hormones and left to fester in massive groups where a 30% mortality rate is assumed. I’ll let that sink in a moment, 30% of the bird die before making it 7 weeks to reach their slaughter weight. In 7 weeks time (though some farmers have gotten that figure down to 38 days), from chick to plate and the birds are so abused and altered they cannot stand under their own weight. These chickens are raised in ‘broiler houses’ and have their beaks and claws cut off so that if they wanted to fight they won’t be able to damage the meat. Fighting is further discouraged because by and large these ‘houses’ are unlit. 7 weeks in darkness and in constant pain. Sounds great! This is not extremist, this is the industry. There is no other way to provide you with the meat you eat at the price you are paying.
To scrape together at least some dignity after death for these animals we should at least try and get as much out of them as we can. Once all the edible meat is gone I like to take the carcass and make a simple stock out of it. It’s as simple as can be. Take the bones, some rough chopped carrots, onions and celery and simmer it all in a pot of water with the lid off. Throw in some spices and a bay leave if you’d like. After 6, 8, 10 hours (the longer the better) separate the stock from the bones and veg and freeze it. As the stock is cooling any fat will float to the top and congeal, just lift it out and throw it away. Voila, you have a rich, fat free stock that you can do a million things with.
It’s a great base to make soup from. On a night when I’m in hurry I’ll put some frozen stock in a pot and let it come to boil. Then I toss in some noodles or rice, some chopped veg and maybe a bit of leftover meat from whenever and in no time at all you have a pretty darn good soup. Takes no time at all to boil and I’m sure you have left over vegetables from last Wednesday and that chicken you had on Thursday already in the fridge. Just toss ’em in the pan. It’s like a free dinner. It’s all made from stuff you already have and would have likely thrown out!
I don’t have a place where I can raise my own meat today but I can, at the very least, make the most of the meat I do have.