Good morning friends! Welcome to my homestead kitchen on this winter morning! A cold front is moving across the country and here in eastern North Carolina we are expecting rain and chilly temps. The barn is full of hay, the now momma goat is snuggling with her babies, and inside our home the rich smell of stock cooking fills the air, giving a feeling of warmth and contentment.
I love stock! Do you? I have not bought commercial broths in something like three years, I can’t stand the lack of flavor or nutrients in most of what is commercially available. I put up stock in quart jars for later use after making a large batch, but fresh is always the best, while it still gels good. For some reason the canning process leaves it without the ability to gel, but I am not sure why. I may have to research the science behind that. Anyway, even canned it is wonderful to grab a jar of stock off the shelf, toss in some onions, garlic, and lentils and have dinner in 20 minutes.
Sometimes I toss in bones of just one animal, other times I toss in whatever I have such as today’s stock. This is primarily venison, but we killed some of our roosters a couple days ago and I put the necks in for the lovely added flavor they should impart. My favorite stock is chicken/turkey, but some dishes do well with the darker stock made with venison or beef if we are blessed to get some bones. I would love to make fish stock, but fish are in short supply most times in our home, though I would like to change that this year if possible. I bet sunfish, even if too small for just eating, would make great stocks! I always add onion and garlic and celery and peppercorns to the stock as well as some apple cider vinegar to help draw the calcium from the bones. I often simmer the stock for 2-3 days until I have a rich, thick stock and the bones look hollow or turn into mush. The dogs and cat then get the veggies and bones with a little of the stock, and the rest goes into the fridge to allow the fat to congeal. I skim the fat and reserve it to clarify for making soap. That night we always have fresh soup with the best stock ever along with a fresh loaf of bread or ciabatta. Mmmmm….
What do you do with your stock? What do you like to include when making it in your part of the world? What health benefits have you seen using your own stock? I would love to hear your ideas!