Making – and taking – stock

I buy a fresh turkey from our local butchers every year for Christmas. And every year I vow that I will be frugal, do the whole domestic goddess thing and make stock from the carcass which I will then use as the basis for nourishing, flavoursome soup for my family. And every year we get sick of looking at the bloody thing and the remains get binned. Well not this year I decided. I’m the proud owner of many cookbooks includng Darina Allen’s Forgotten Skills of Cooking so I figured she’d surely be able to talk me through the process of making stock. Can’t be that complicated really.

Start with the ingredients: a carcass, an onion, a carrot, some lovage or celery leaves, a leek, 6 peppercorns, a few parsley leaves and a sprig of thyme. Or in my case, a carcass, an onion, a carrot, a handful of peppercorns and whatever herbs were left in the fridge after Christmas. So not the best start. But let’s keep on going. stock beginnings

On to method. Ok so chop the carcass as small as you can she says. Now to me chop means use a knife or similar. so I tried my biggest sharpest knife and got fecking nowhere. No cleavers in this kitchen and I draw the line at using the axe I chop kindling with. My husband had broken up the carcass with his hands to get the last of the usable meat of it already so it was in a few pieces. Ah feck it I thought that’ll do.

Chuck it all in the pan and cover with approx 7 pints of water. It took 8 pints to cover it. Hmm. 8 pints of stock is a lot. Bring to the boil – yep that’s easy done. Then skim the fat off with a tablespoon. Peer into pot, lots of foam but nothing that looks like fat. Is that because I didn’t chop it up or did I just have a skinny turkey? Then I realised another problem for me when making stock – a large stockpot full of boiling steaming liquid and glasses do not mix well. I could see bugger all of the fat that I was meant to be skimming off.

After a few minutes I gave up the skimming as a bad job and let it boil for another few minutes before turning down and simmering. For 4 hours. It smelled pretty good I must admit. Rather green in colour but I’m assuming that was down to the proportionately large amount of herbs I threw in. The aroma crept throughout the house and it was one of the first things my husband commented on when he came in from work. Cue enhanced feelings of domestic goddess-ness. hubble bubble

Eventually the time ticked around and the stock is done. The book told me to strain all the fat off completely. I figured the first job was to remove all the solidscreatures from the green lagoon

Hmmm, creatures from the depths. Will this be edible? Well I’ve come this far. I ladled it all through a sieve into another large pan and this is what I’ve ended up with – the stock

Tomorrow I’ll have a go at making soup. This stock making is hard work, I’m curled up with a pizza (homemade cue brownie points) and a much needed glass of red!


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