November 2011

white stock, brown stock

An ambitious cooking project is quickly becoming my Sunday tradition. This week I decided to make use of the multiple chicken carcasses Jordan has been hoarding in our freezer and make stock. And while I was at it, I thought that I may as well make beef stock so I bought some beef knuckles at the market.

I followed Julia Child’s recipes for a basic white stock and basic brown stock. The cooking method for both is nearly the same, with an extra bone-roasting step for the brown stock. Making stock from scratch is very simple, but time intensive. The stuff has to simmer for 4 – 6 hours to get the most flavor out of the bones and bits of meat, but it is absolutely worth the time investment. The flavor of canned or boxed broth pales in comparison to that of homemade stock.

White or Brown Stock, from Mastering the Art of French Cooking
3 lbs of chicken or beef bones
2 onions, peeled and cut in half
2 stalks celery, cut into quarters
2 carrots, cut into quarters
herb bouquet (2 cloves of garlic, 3 sprigs of parsley, 1 sprig of thyme, 2 whole cloves, 1 bay leaf tied up in a cheese cloth)
water
salt, pepper

 

For just the brown stock, preheat an oven to 400 degrees. Roast the bones, onion and carrot for 40 minutes until deep brown in color, turning the bones occasionally to brown all sides.

For both stocks, pour bones into a large stock pot, add vegetables and herb bouquet. Fill with water to cover the bones. Simmer uncovered for 4 – 6 hours, skimming the debris of the top occasionally. Once the stock has reached your desired degree of meatiness, season with salt and pepper and let cool to room temperature.

Once the stock has cooled, refrigerate it. The fat will separate and congeal at the top and then you can easily scrape it off. Divide the stock into freezer bags or tupperware and cram them into your already tamale-laden freezer.

And if you are looking for a recipe to enjoy your homemade stock try making easy noodle soup, gravy for chicken and waffles, or tortilla soup.

butternut squash soup with fresh ginger

Despite San Francisco’s sunny, 70 degree days—70 degrees in late October is so worth sky-high rent—it is officially fall and high time to bust out the squash dishes. Butternut squash is cheap, delicious and versatile. You can make soup, roast it, throw it in risotto, on a pizza, in pasta … endless possibilities. This recipe will make enough soup for lunch the next day or to freeze for the next time you don’t feel like cooking.

Butternut Squash Soup with Fresh Ginger
1 medium butternut squash, cubed
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 quart vegetable stock or water
2 t fresh ginger, grated
olive oil, salt, pepper, chili flake

The hardest part of cooking squash is peeling the dang thing. Here is my technique for cubing a butternut squash. Cut the squash into two pieces separating the round part from the neck. Standing the neck up in a cylindrical sort of way, cut off the peel. For the bulbous portion, cut it in half and scoop out the seeds. Peel off the skin like you would a melon. Cut into rough cubes.

Sauté the onion in a bit of olive oil until translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for another few minutes. Add the cubed squash and stock or water. Boil the soup partially covered for 30 – 40 minutes, until the squash is fork tender. Once the squash is tender, puree it with an immersion blender or in a standard blender. Add the grated ginger and season with salt and pepper. I served it topped with a little creme fraiche and chives.

Happy fall!

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