Fresh & New: February 19 - 25

Peggy Paul Casella, Resident Wordsmith (and Farmstand Associate)

When snow and record-low temperatures drive us inside, we might as well fill our homes with the aromas of rich stews and hearty soups, am I right? Good thing we just received a massive frozen soup order from Good Spoon Seasonal Foods. With recipes like Thai Sweet Potato Soup, Senegalese Chicken & Peanut Stew, Grass-Fed Beef Chili, Moroccan Vegetable & Chickpea Stew, and more, Good Spoon will satisfy your craving . . . without any of the fuss.

Of course, if you're more of a DIY type, the Farmstand has all the ingredients you need to make stock, soups, and hearty seasonal stews from scratch. Below is my very basic recipe for beef or chicken stock, which can be made on the stove top or in a slow cooker--you're choice. (And here's a great recipe for vegetable stock, for all you vegans and vegetarians out there.)

Not only is homemade stock delicious, it's also packed with nutrients that can reduce inflammation in the body and stave off disease. Drink a steaming cup on its own, or use it in any of these recipes:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic Homemade Beef or Chicken Stock

Ingredients:

  • 4 pounds beef bones [marrow bones, short ribs, oxtail, hooves, knuckles, skull] or chicken bones/bone-in pieces [whole carcass, feet (nails snipped off), wings, legs]
  • 2 medium onions, halved and peeled
  • 4 large carrots, scrubbed and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 medium celeriac roots (or 1 large), peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 8 whole garlic cloves
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme or rosemary
  • 8 sprigs fresh parsley with stems (optional)
  • 8 whole peppercorns (optional)

To make beef stock: Preheat the oven to 450°F. Place the beef bones in a roasting pan and roast them for 25 to 30 minutes, turning occasionally, until browned. Remove the pan from the oven and transfer the bones to a large stockpot, along with the onions, carrots, celeriac, and garlic. Scrape any juices from the roasting pan into the pot. Pour in about 1 gallon (4 quarts) of cold water (it should cover the bones by 1 to 2 inches) and add the herbs and peppercorns to the pot. Set the pot over high heat, bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 4 hours, or until the stock has reduced to about 2 quarts. Check on the stock occasionally as it simmers, and skim off any foam or fat that accumulates on the surface. When it is done, strain the stock through a fine-mesh sieve into another large pot or bowl.

To make chicken stock: Place the chicken carcass or bones in a large stockpot, along with the onions, carrots, celeriac, garlic, herbs, and peppercorns. Pour in about 1 gallon (4 quarts) of cold water (it should cover the chicken by about 1 inch). Set the pot over high heat, bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 4 to 6 hours, adding water as needed to keep the bones submerged. Check on the stock occasionally as it simmers, and skim off any foam or fat that accumulates on the surface. When it is done, strain the stock through a fine-mesh sieve into another large pot or bowl.

To make stock in a slow cooker: For beef stock, follow the roasting instructions above, then transfer the bones, vegetables, herbs, and peppercorns to a 5- to 7-quart slow cooker. Add cold water until the slow cooker is three-quarters full. For chicken stock, place all the ingredients in a 5- to 7-quart slow cooker and add cold water until the slow cooker is three-quarters full. Cover and cook on low for 10 hours or on high for 5 hours. When it is done, skim off any foam or fat that has accumulated on the surface of the stock, and strain it through a fine-mesh sieve into another large pot or bowl.

To store homemade stock: Let the strained stock cool to room temperature, then refrigerate it overnight and skim the fat from the surface. Transfer the stock to airtight containers or zip-top freezer bags. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

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