It's stock time again in the Flartus household! Unfortunately, we ran out of chicken stock before we collected enough bones for the next round. We almost had to buy stock--horrors! But, unbeknownst to me, Miss Chef was keeping tabs on the situation. Solution: buy bones, instead of stock.
Problem: the local Harris Teeter doesn't have chicken bones (shame on you, H-T!) Solution: contact one of the local farmers who sell chicken at the markets.
Problem: chicken bones were priced at $2.20 a pound! I accept that organic, free-range chicken is going to cost more, but these bones are more expensive than most meat cuts! Solution: skip the chicken bones, and buy the cheaper beef bones sold by Baucom's Best. (yup, free plug for our favorite this week, lol.)
This is the background behind my "Ode to My Love" from last week. Miss Chef was out of town, so I had to drag my lonely self to pick up the 10 lbs of bones she'd ordered. I'm glad they were wrapped up in an opaque bag, or I might have had second thoughts about the whole project.
Miss Chef is taking a few extra steps with this batch of stock. First, she roasted the bones for an hour or two, to give a richer, deeper flavor to the finished product. This also allowed me to decide that I really do not like the smell of beef tallow. Ick. I was very happy we were doing this on a lovely spring day that allowed us to open the windows. Anyway, here they are after roasting.
Already looking better, aren't they? No, they didn't shrink; she had transferred them into the tall stockpot by now, and was getting ready to deglaze the--admittedly gross-looking--fond.
(Layman's definitions: deglazing means getting the gunk off the bottom by adding a little liquid and heating it back up. Like Mom used to make gravy. Fond is the tasty brown stuff left behind when you cook meats; deglazing it up into a sauce adds lots of yumminess. Yumminess is the reason to eat something. Everyone caught up? Ok.)
She added some onions, carrots and celery...like my lovely action / atmospheric shot? The yellow blur in the back is the spatula passing by.
Also a few smashed cloves of garlic...(notice the burns on Miss Chef's hand; sign of a professional cook!)
...a little tomato paste for another layer of flavor, and then filled it up with water and set it to simmer.
That was before. Below is after about 8 hours. It keeps going from nasty to yummy, back to nasty-looking again.
In a little bit, we will strain out all that nasty-looking stuff, cool the stock, and eventually freeze it. Then Miss Chef wants to add more water to the...nasty-looking stuff, and re-simmer it. She says that makes a second, lighter batch of stock that you can use for less-intense flavor.
Getting complicated, huh? I know; that's why I let her do the fancy cooking. Me, I'll take care of the casseroles and other pasta-based yumminess that I can cook all in one pot!
Oh, and Miss Chef is such the consummate cook, she really wants to feed everyone. She even saved a roasted bone for the dog!
There's a whole lot of marrow in there, and it's apparently delicious. (Notice the ball lying forgotten by her tail. This is a much better class of toy!) She's still outside in the growing dark, gnawing away at the marrow. Looked me right in the eye when I said the magic word "din-din," got up and walked away. I feel like my kid just ran out the door without kissing me goodbye.
Anyway, I'll be interested to see how this stock is used around here. I'm not a big beef eater, so I'll have to watch and learn. I don't think I'll ever get bored, with Miss Chef around!