Diapers and Dragons

Sunday, October 9, 2011

(Mis)Adventures in Domestic Divinity (Part One)

(Because the likelihood of there being more than one part is VERY high.)

So I mentioned that I made chicken stock this week, right? It's a fairly simple thing to do, provided one plans ahead to a certain extent. I save the peels and ends of any vegetables and greens I use in my cooking. The outer layers of onion, celery tops, carrot peels, leek greens--even apple peelings, actually--all go into gallon-size Ziploc bags and get stashed away in the freezer. Then when I have a couple of chicken carcasses, I throw it all in the largest heavy pot I have. I add a bay leaf or two, any odds and ends of fresh herbs that might need using--whatever I have on hand. I pour water over the lot, enough to just cover all the bones and scraps, and bring it to a boil. Finally, I turn the heat down to low, pop a lid on the pot, and let it simmer all night.

(You can do the same thing with a turkey carcass or any pork/lamb/beef bones you might have after a large meal. You can even blend them together. That's the lovely thing about the "recipe": it'll work for whatever you have!)

In the morning, I take the pot off the heat, let it cool a bit, and then put it in the fridge to chill. Later I take off the fat, an easy process when it has solidified on top of the liquid, and voila! I have lovely stock which can be canned or used right away.

At least, that's what usually happens.

Here's what you SHOULDN'T do, if you ever decide to try it out:

1. Underestimate the quantity of bones and scraps you have in the pot and overestimate the amount of water you need to pour over it all.

2. Realize you're going to get into trouble when it starts boiling, so pull out another smaller pot and transfer some of the makings into it, adding water to both pots to compensate.

3. Grab the first lid you can find that fits the smaller pot, rejoicing because the pots and pans cupboard has become a chaotic mess ever since KlutzGirl took over putting away dishes.

4. Go to bed believing catastrophe has been averted.

5. Wake up around 3 a.m. from a dream in which something strange is burning. Realize that the smell has not vanished with the dream. Lie in bed for a while trying to get your sleep-addled brain to process what might be going on.

6. Wonder suddenly if the stock might have overflowed or something of the sort.

7. Grab a robe and rush downstairs to check.

8. Walk into a kitchen filled with smoke streaming from the smaller pot. Realize that the lid you grabbed had a steam vent, and as a result all the liquid has boiled away. Open the lid to discover a disgusting mass of charred, reeking remnants of bone, cartilage, and vegetable scraps thisclose to bursting into flames.

9. Spend the next half an hour cleaning up the mess, salvaging the pot, and trying to air out the house. (This will not happen, and the house--and all its inhabitants--will reek for the next 36 hours or so.)

10. Crawl back into bed next to your husband, who has amazingly enough slept through the entire ordeal despite a freakishly sensitive sense of smell. Thank your lucky stars, because he will mock you enough when you tell him in the morning, without adding the extra delight of being woken by the marvelous stench of burning bone in the wee hours of the morning.


I think my halo is slipping.

3 bits of love:

Lauren said...

Now *this* is the Marisa that *I'm* familiar with. Whew! You were sounding sooooo crunchy, I thought you may turn to homeschooling next!

Pam Elmore said...

After all that 3 a.m. scrubbing and cleanup, your halo is still intact as far as I'm concerned.

PS -- This is one reason I make stock in a crockpot.

Anonymous said...

It's okay - I burned out a pot while I was standing AT THE STOVE. Our small red pot is now dark brown...
What will be really amazing is if you try this all again. :)
- SoccerSister

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