Saturday, December 12, 2009

Bones

"Save the carcass", "Don't toss out that bone"... these are common phrases during dinner clean up around our house. Hopefully it's no different at your place, because nothing makes for a better stock, broth, soup or stew than the 'waste' from your holiday meals. I'm talking about the turkey carcass (in my case, three from Thanksgiving) the ham or beef bones from your Christmas feast and maybe others that you will have after those big holiday meals. And if you are big seafood lovers, don't forget the lobster carcass and the fish head and bones...they make a fine base too.

I don't pick the turkey or ham bone too clean (like my Aunt Rose did), so I have plenty of meat for my soup. This year as we were cleaning up the Thanksgiving dinner, I tossed the turkey carcasses into the foil roasting pan and put them in the refrigerator (I have spare fridge in the basement for jobs like this.)

The next morning, as Kevin started the decorating, I filled my largest pot with water, added two roughly chopped onions and a couple carrots. Into the pot went the meaty bones and on the stove they stayed until mid-afternoon. I then let the pot cool for a couple hours and after skimming the surface, removed the bones and meat. One more straining and the broth was sent to the cooler to sit for the night, while I picked through the meat and bones, separating them.

The next day I skimmed the fat from the top of the broth which had now solidified, and separated the mixture into a number of containers for later use (saving one batch for dinner this week.) As Kevin likes to make noodles for dinner while I'm traveling, I often use a silicon muffin mold to make individual sized broth servings. In my case, this makes broth rosettes! Once solidly frozen, I peel them from the molds and put them into a freezer bag so he can readily access them for his noodles. Other mid-size containers are good for stocks that I can use for a variety of purposes, including a favorite turkey-rice soup. Similar delicious meals can be had from the ham, beef and chicken bones you have after dinners.

At our house it is rare that any of these ever get tossed in the trash before being boiled into a tasty broth. It's so much better than any canned or boxed broth you can purchase and makes the house smell wonderful too. Nothing feeds more people per pound/dollar than a good chicken or turkey. Nothing is more delicious than a good homemade ham or beef broth. And nothing is better to have on hand during these cold months than a good supply of home made stock!

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