I mentioned in the Simply Living: Nutrition post about making your own Meat Stocks and how simple it is to do. Here is the way that I keep Stock 'stocked' in my freezer:
- After we've had roast chicken for dinner, (even if I bought that roast chicken at the store!), I put the leftover carcass in a large pot or in my crockpot.
- I add large pieces of an onion, 2-3 stalks of celery cut into 2-3 inch pieces, 2-3 carrots cut like the celery, fresh or dried herbs (like parsley, thyme, rosemary, oregano … whatever I have.) You can also add garlic or shallots. Whatever tickles your Meat Stock fancy.
- Top it off with water and whatever wine was left over from dinner. (Wait! Leftover wine? Not at MY house!) Let it simmer for as long as I want. Really, it doesn't matter. The longer it simmers, the more flavors it picks up, but it really doesn't matter. I do recommend at least 2-3 hours.
- If I don't have time to do that after dinner, I put the bones in the fridge and throw them in the pot any time within the next 3-4 days or I put it in the freezer to get to when I have time.
- After it has simmered, I strain the bones and veggies out using my colander, and refrigerate the broth. After any fat hardens on the top, I skim it off and ladle the broth into freezer containers. This same process can be done with beef bones (from ribs, roasts, steaks, etc …) for Beef Broth and with fish discards for Fish Stock. You can experiment with various seasonings and vegetable combinations with the different meats, but you really can't mess this one up!
- Another thing I do regularly is save vegetable discards (like ends of carrots –I cut the root off-, the tops of green onions, etc …) and freeze them in a freezer bag that I just keep adding to as I make meals. You can add your meat bones to that same bag and make stock whenever you have time.
- This long-time simmering thing is really convenient to get going on a Saturday morning before you start cleaning, or before you head out to baseball games or soccer games, or gymnastics meets, or horse shows, or a day at the beach. (I've got it all covered!) When you return, not only will your house smell yummy, but the chicken is perfectly content still in its pot. Then just strain it, and put it in the fridge. Putting it in the freezer cartons will take you less than 10 minutes tomorrow after the fat hardens!
See? I told you it didn't take much time or effort!