Make Stock!

Last night we ate the simplest and most delicious meal: it was basically a salmon sandwich without bread. Instead the salmon was sandwiched with sliced kale between two layers of rissotto: rice cooked in a rich home made stock and mixed with parmesan. It was then baked.

Even the dairy-free portion set aside for myself was just so delicious, and the children ate their fair share, even with K feeling quite dubious about the ‘red tuna’ that was in the dish. He ate it and declared that red tuna was a fish he likes now. You have no idea how momentous that is. The next step is being able to call it salmon. So yay for the stock, for making that meal so very delicious and nutritious.

Making stock is just a matter of course for me now. It is habit to buy the cheaper cuts of meat that are still on the bone, or if I need chicken that week then I’ll buy a whole chook and then cook up the bones. I cannot bear throwing them out, even if there is no room in the freezer for more stock, I still have to cook up the carcass and use it up somehow.  Bones that can be broken to reveal the marrow are snapped. Nothing goes to waste – all the best ‘scraps’ of the veggies, the ones that are still green and vibrant are put into a separate container waiting to be added to the stock pot once a week.

My stock is used for everything: it is used as the liquid for cooking rice, for soups, for making sauces (you do not need to buy most of the condiments in your cupboard you know – they can be made in about 15 minutes at home for a fraction of the price). Often I heat it up and drink it like a cup of tea for breakfast – I add a little bit of salt and drizzle an egg in it while it is heating up. So filling.

NEVER heat your stock up in the microwave. I forget what actually happens to it but basically all the nutrition is wiped out and reversed. It becomes toxic. I never use microwaves for anything. It isn’t any trouble to heat things up on the stove or in the oven and you can enjoy a cup of tea while you wait.

So make stock. It is super easy, super nutritious, adding nutrients and enhancing taste to food that might otherwise need a little MSG to make it tasty. Stock made with bones is also an excellent source of calcium, and if you live dairy-free (like me!) then that is good news too. Making stock fills your house with good smells and also makes you feel like an extremely efficient housewife 🙂

 

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My Chicken Stock

Just a little add-on from yesterday’s post – my chicken stock was the richest, tastiest, darkest, most nourishing stock I’ve ever made … and it DID set into a jelly in the fridge!

The chicken just fell apart when I lifted it out of the stock and it tastes sensational.

For want of more appropriate containers I poured the stock into 2-cup amounts into zip-lock bags and lay them in the freezer, keeping 2 cups of stock in the fridge for the evening’s cooking if required. When I run out fridge stock I plan to replace it with a frozen one straight away so that I won’t have to wait for my stock to defrost whenever I want to use it.

Tonight we are having a meal made from this delicious chicken. Very simple: it is your classic pasta bake:

Chicken (which now looks shredded but is so moist and full of flavour), peas and corn mixed into a white sauce and pasta and topped with chopped crispy pecans.

Of course I had to make a seperate meal for myself , but I used the wonderful gelatinous chicken stock in both the white sauces and seasoned them with pepper and herb salt. Yum.

The pecans I soaked overnight and then dried out in the oven. I am NOT a fan of pecans, but I’m crazy over these. I’ve been snacking on them all day!

And I’ll serve this meal with a fresh salad topped with sunflower sprouts (and more pecans!) and know that whatever amount each member of the family eats, this is a cut above the usual pasta bake in flavour and nourishment.