Monday, September 16, 2013

Ahhh, Fall weather

This weekend, my son's football team had a double header followed by a parade.  We'd had such crappy hot weather lately that I hadn't really been looking forward to it.  It's tough to watch the little kids out there with all that gear on in such blistering heat!  Anyway, it was such a welcome relieve that the weather broke and we went from extremely hot to high 60's over night.  I know, welcome to Indiana weather!  The boys played hard and won both games.

I love Fall!  It's not too hot, it's certainly not snowing (most of the time anyway, it is still Indiana), you can break out the light jackets and have a bonfire.  Fall food is pretty awesome too.  Weenie roasts, s'mores, stew, chili, soups.  I love making fall food.  The house always smells so wonderful.

Last night, I was going to break out the beef broth and make some veggie soup.  I'd lost track of my stock supply and was actually out of beef stock.

 ***Side note, there is a difference between stock and broth, I use the terms interchangeably even though I shouldn't.  There is a long-drawn out definition of the difference on the Cooking Geek that you can read here.  Just know that for me, they mean the same thing.

So I realized that I was out of beef stock and made a change to chicken and dumplings for dinner as I still had chicken stock on hand.  But supplies are low!  LOL.  That's another nice thing about Fall doesn't heat the house up to unbearable levels to have a pot of stock simmering on the stove.

This week, I am going to make stock.  It's pretty easy and oh so yummy.  I get soup bones packaged up when I have our beef butchered each year but you can talk to the butcher at your favorite grocery or butcher shop and ask about soup bones.  They should be really inexpensive.

I actually season the soup bone with salt and pepper and brown it in a skillet with a little bacon grease to kind of carmelize the outside of it.  I then put the bones in the big stock pot and add whatever veggies I have in the drawer.  Carrots, celery, onions, celery leaves, green peppers and garlic all go in and I'll add salt, pepper, a bay leaf, some thyme, basil or whatever else strikes me as needing to go in.  Then I fill the pot with water.  Bring it to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  

Do not be alarmed if you get icky, foamy stuff at the top, just use a slotted spoon and scoop it out, not a big deal.  I will let this simmer for a very long time, maybe a couple of hours.  It will reduce quite a bit, that's why I use my biggest stockpot.  I will taste it as I go as I use the taste of it to determine when it is done.  I don't think there is any set time that you leave it on simmer.  I think it is done when it tastes like beef broth that I want to eat veggies in.

I let it cool for a little while and then strain it to get the remains of the veggies out.  Then I will put it in Ziploc bags for the freezer.  Be sure to get the air out as best as you can, this will let them lay flat.  Also, as always, label and date what it is.

This is not only a stock that tastes so much better than store bought, it is MUCH cheaper and you know what is in it and if needed can control (or totally omit) the salt if you need to.  I can almost smell it now.  Making stock is on this week's agenda and I can't wait to smell the house as it is cooking.  It's definitely a "Fall" smell for me.

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