Carcass 101: Stock (with a side of Dumplings)

I’ve always said I would have been great in a Depression. It’s a rare occasion when I allow food to hit the waste bin and more often than not it’s after several rounds at the table. I am a left-over reinventing queen. My hubby rolls his eyes at the end of nearly every family occasion as I pack leftovers and carcass(es) for the trip home. He later tolerates me as I clutter the kitchen, sometimes taking a shelf’s worth of space in the refrigerator with my various stages of stock-making. But when you see what you can get from what you might have thrown away…whew-ie! Totally worth it.

So here’s a little Carcass 101 with some pot luck tips…

1.  If you have a large carcass, sometimes it’s better to take your time processing it. There are good break opportunities in the process so if your life will be less complicated by slowing it down, put on the brakes. Knowing this has made the idea of starting stock at 2:00pm on a Sunday much less daunting.

2. Break the carcass if necessary to fit in your pot. I generally let my carcass occupy about 2/3 of the pot and fill it with about an inch or two of water. Add water throughout the process to maintain these approximate levels.

3. Throw in some seasoning (sugg. bay leaves, rosemary, garlic, etc.) and whatever veg you choose. Chef Shea Markwell (Cooking School @ The Viking Store) gave me a killer tip on stock veg: as you prepare veg for meals save peels, skins, ends – anything you would compost – then freeze them. Just bag ’em, tag ’em and put ’em on ice until you have the occasion to make stock again.

4. Heat your stock and simmer for several hours. I’ll sometimes turn off the flame for little stints in between once the pot gets good and hot (it keeps cooking, anyway); I just have a hard time justifying such long use of my stovetop.

BREAK OPPORTUNITY: Nothing wrong with letting the pot cool down a bit before sticking it in the fridge. You can pick up the process tomorrow by just heating it up again.

5. Place a large pot/bowl in your sink and set a colander in it. Pour your stock through and set aside the broth. Let everything cool.

BREAK OPPORTUNITY:  This is a great stopping point if you have room in the fridge for both the broth pot/bowl and the rest. Either way, you really should stick the broth in. If you leave it overnight the fat will congeal on top and you can skim it off before freezing.

6. Pick out the meat from the bones and skin and toss it into the ziplock (first label and date the bag) you’ll be freezing the stock in.

IF SKIMMING FAT: once it has congealed, skim the top of the broth with a large spoon and toss it in the bin (not down the sink!).

Skimming fat from stock 1Skim fat from stock 2Skim fat from broth

7. Add the broth to the meat, squishing it around so the meat is surrounded by it. Get as much air out of the bag as you’re able before closing it.

6. Freeze.

And there you have it – Carcass 101. Does anyone have anything to add to the process? What do you do?

When I made turkey stock on Sunday I also made a batch (this one not low fat:)) into Turkey and Dumplings for our supper. This was both my first and second attempt at dumplings…the second turning out better:) I’m going to include a link to the recipe here, as well as my notes.

Epicurious.com: Chicken and Dumplings
– I only used the dumpling recipe (the quick recipe in the footnotes) and the cooking instructions from this recipe, but I’m sure it’s all tasty:)
Instead of Bisquick, I used Aunt Jemima’s Whole Wheat Panacake Mix. I’ve also made a tomato pie crust with this and both turned out lovely :})

PS. While making this I also made my shampoo for the week.

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One response to “Carcass 101: Stock (with a side of Dumplings)

  1. Pingback: Carcass 201: Stock (for real this time!) | Pot Luck Mama

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