I really really really wanted to write a post for biochem belle's excellent Scientiae Carnival on Sustainability this month, but re-working my former advisor's talk for this upcoming meeting on top of an evil, not-going-away cough has me not quite capable of putting thoughts together in a coherent way. Or maybe it's just all the Nyquil? I'll admit, too, that when I hear the word "sustainability" I first think of things like grass-fed beef and supporting local farmers and whatnot. You know, the environment! And how it relates to food.
So on that note, I'm going to tell you how I make meat stock, which is useful not only for actual soup, but for things like risotto, chicken marsala, and red wine mushroom sauce as well. What does this have to do with the environment? Well, you can make stock almost exclusively from things you were just going to throw away, so it's like recycling! You will need:
1. A carcass. Any kind will do--the bones from a chicken or turkey you recently roasted, lamb leg bone, pork shoulder bone, etc. Shrimp heads, leftover beef, anything, really!
2. Your veggie discards freezer bag. This takes a little planning, but starting TODAY, every time you peel a carrot or take off the outer onion layer or chop the tops from celery, put it in a freezer bag. If you don't cook with these things enough for this to be all that realistic, just go buy the veggies.
3. Some fresh herbs. It doesn't really matter too much what kind; I usually just throw in whatever I happen to have in the fridge. But that said, I'd recommend dill, rosemary, parsley, sage, etc. Pretty much anything but mint. If you live in NYC, I highly encourage getting your herbs from FreshDirect (if you can't make it to the farmers market, of course!)--they're super cheap and you get like 5 times as much as you get in those crappy plastic containers at Whole Foods or wherever.
So you throw it all in a stockpot, dump in a ton of kosher salt and grind a bunch of pepper over it, fill the thing with water, and let it simmer for maybe 2 hrs. Here's what it will look like if you're using the pork shoulder you smoked a couple of weeks ago:
You may want to stir it once in a while, but it doesn't need a whole lot of attention. Plus, the kitties will keep an eye on things for you:
When it's finished, let it cool a little and then pour through a colander into tupperware. You can freeze it if you like! Toss all the mushy veggies and herbs, conscience clean that you at least used them before throwing them out. Also, you'll never have to buy bouillon again!
The Plight of the Post-Doc