I trust everyone had a good Thanksgiving with family, friends and too much food! My gardener and I have been busy the last few weeks. We had five guests from California who came up for deer season. Early mornings, hunting nearly every day, cooking, butchering deer, packaging meat, lively dart games, lots of laughs and staying up too late made for an enjoyable, if not tiring, two weeks. Everyone went home with plenty of venison and more importantly, everyone made it back home safely.
I hope you've made your own stock before. If you haven't, please try it - the difference homemade stock makes in soups is great... plus, it's really easy to make the stock!
I save bones and not just the carcasses. I save chicken bones that we've eaten the meat from. Why not? I keep a plastic bag in the freezer and just put bones in there as they become, shall we say... available. After Thanksgiving, I had a turkey carcass, two pheasant carcasses and a gallon size plastic bag full of chicken bones. What I got from that? Six quarts of gelatinous, rich stock that I'll use for soups now that winter has arrived in Montana.
Here's what you do: Put bones in a big pot. Add celery, carrots, bay leaves, peppercorns, and vinegar. Bring to a boil then simmer for hours. The longer you simmer it the better it will be. I simmered mine for 9 hours the first day. At night, I turned off the stove and left it. The next morning I continued simmering for another 6 hours or so.
Include wings and feet if you can. These parts contain more collagen, which will give you a more gelatinous broth. If you want beef stock, just use beef bones... roasting them first will give a richer taste to the stock. After the stock has cooled a bit, strain it and pour into Mason jars. I can't see wasting a canning lid for stock, so I use a doubled piece of plastic wrap. Then, put the jars in the freezer. It's that simple... and that good.
Bones (chicken, turkey, pheasant, beef)
3 ribs celery
1 large onion, cut in half (with peel)
2 bay leaves
1 T vinegar
Put everything into a large pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for at least 10-12 hours. Strain, pour into containers, and freeze.