Monday, September 5, 2011

I'm wearing a sweater

Oh the joy! 
We are experiencing our first 'true' fall coolness and it is wonderful!

Yesterday I made a batch of Mr. Good Barley Soup (recipe HERE) and a batch of Whole Wheat dinner rolls (recipe HERE) and today I made Cheesy Potato Soup - which you know means fall is really here! 

Dreamer came into the kitchen with her sparkling blue eyes and said,
'Oh!  I LOVE soup season!'
Fall is such a special time of year and I am ready to enjoy every minute of it!
On Saturday we took down the summer mantle 'beach theme' and I didn't have the heart to ask the guys to get up in the hot hot attic to dig out the fall boxes, but we'll get to it this week. There is nothing wrong with an 'edited' mantle for a few days ... as long as you dust it!

I'll get to that later.
I'm dreaming about soup right now!

So ... in thinking about all things soup related, I thought I would share my simple Chicken Stock recipe, because I don't know about you, but the $3 carton of organic stock is getting on my nerves.  I didn't mind when it was $2 so much, but  when they INCREASE the price at the same time they DECREASE the quantity, it's time to re-think the quick and easy carton of soup stock. 
When I see them on sale I will buy for the pantry, but for now I am making my own.

It's easy - it helps keep your veggie drawer in good shape, and it is so much more economical!
So let's get to it.
Chicken Stock
(You're going to love how simple this is!)

Chicken bones & skin
celery, carrots, an onion or two, garlic, ginger
sea salt, pepper, parsley, bay leaf, oregano, turmeric (for color)
Time: 10 minutes to put together - 4 hours to simmer - overnight to cool - 
10 minutes to skim off fat and repackage for the freezer.

Tonight I oven roasted 6 large chicken breasts for meals this week and deboned them when they were cool.  I have plans for two suppers and a lunch with that chicken, and I had the oven on anyway, so it is win-win!
A rotisserie or oven roasted chicken carcass works just fine too.

I threw those bones, the skin and the juices from de-glazing the chicken pan into a 16 cup heavy duty pot.  
By de-glazing, I simply mean pouring some boiling water into the pan
and loosening all the yummy bits of stuck on chicken goodness. It's good stuff!
I cleaned out the crisper ( which my Dad says should be called the 'wilter') and tossed a limp celery heart (about 6 ribs and the leaves), 3 large rubbery carrots, one large onion and 4 cloves of garlic in the pot. 
I love the richness of ginger in my stock so I grabbed a chunk and put it in the pot too.
All the veggies were washed and then just coarsely cut up - no pealing or dicing is necessary. 

 I guess the carrots sunk - they are in there!

I filled the pot almost to the brim with water and added some fresh and dried herbs from the garden, 
but dried herbs alone work just fine too. Most of my herbs are from my bountiful garden - everything else did poorly, but the herbs flourished and I've been drying them frequently.
Tonight I used rosemary, parsley, oregano and fresh black pepper.
For every 2 cups of broth I use 1/4 tsp. sea salt - so for this batch I used 2 I'll taste it and add more as needed, but we avoid salt around here as much a possible, so adjust this to your tastes!

I don't know why, but the bay leaf is really a necessary ingredient.  I have varied the other herbs and spices according to what we had on hand, but whenever I've left out the bay leaf, 
the flavor of the stock has not been a full and rich. 
Flat and boring.
That little leaf leaves a lot of flavor behind. I put three in my big stock pot tonight.

I don't have a bay in my herb garden yet ... maybe someday I will, 
but the plants are expensive and I've heard they are tricky to grow.

My stock is simmering away and leaving a wonderful aroma in the kitchen.  In about 4 hours I will strain the stock and discard the contents then put the stock in a large bowl in the fridge to cool.  In the morning there will be a layer of fat on the top that I will remove before freezing in 2 cup portions. 

What did it cost me? I don't know, but I do expect to get 12 cups of broth - so about 3 four cup cartons (they are smaller now) worth and I am quite sure that the electricity and ingredients were way less than $10.
The onions were in good shape, but the rest of the organic veggies were a bit past their prime and might not otherwise have been used - perfect for soup stock in my opinion.

Do you make soup stock?  
What is your 'secret' ingredient?  I'd love to know!

School has started - I'm planning on publishing a list of our curriculum choices for this year soon.
We are LOVING science!  We are getting into a good routine, but I've been very tired lately, so not much else is going on! We start the regular weekly activities this week so I am praying for more energy.  Most days we drag our books out the the back patio table and enjoy the fresh air while we work, but some days have been just hot or wet for outdoor school.  I'll encourage 'school on the patio' until the colder weather requires too many hot chocolate breaks, though it might not be a problem since the new grill has a side burner ... 


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  1. Your homemade chicken stock sounds like the best.

  2. I never thought about adding turmeric! It is suppose to be very good for diabetics, I must try that soon.

    The heat this past summer was miserable. My poor family suffered from the heat and my hating to cook in hot weather (it is a good time to diet).

    Like you, I made one of my cold weather dishes the first day of the cooler temperatures. :)

    Good to "see" you again.

  3. Terra, I don't know if it is the 'best' but it is yummy! Brenda - I didn't need turmeric this time because all those carrots gave it a lovely golden color, but I have added just a pinch when my carrots didn't add a nice hue. I think even chicken stock should have 'eye appeal' as well as great flavor! It's nice to think of blogging again - I've missed it!


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