Friday, April 7, 2017

Spring. Stock and Ramen Stock

BLOG: Spring Stuff. Stock and Ramen Stock

I hope everyone is enjoying the almost arrival of Spring.  By now I’m sure that you have ordered your seeds and plants and supplies and fussed over when to uncover what, as the temperatures jump all over the place. As we get further into Spring, I will spend more time here talking about growing - especially growing in the city.  

But first, some thoughts. It has been a hard winter.  Not because of awful cold or snow really.  No - it’s more because of the constant stream of disturbing news, debates, and the like that we are dealing with every day.  Lately, I have been having conversations with folks who are looking for ways to divert their attention, to feed their spirits, and/or to have some fun.  I wholeheartedly agree with these efforts!  As I have written here in the past, we are deeply into activities to simplify our lives. Find what things make you happy and do those things.  Start somewhere!  Create activities and events that bring you joy, that distract you, and that feed your spirit.  Think about the things you’ve wanted to try or do but have so far put off.  DO one of those things.  Take that photography class.  Sign up for those gardening seminars.  Join those cooking classes. Volunteer. It is your bliss - you have to identify it for yourself.  

And, of course, include in your days good food, shared meals, cooking from scratch, and becoming a regular at your local farmers market.  Get together with like minded friends and family for long, lazy dinners, good conversation, wine and delicious dishes. Start some traditions.  A pot luck Sunday dinner?  A dining club?  Once a month group Farmers Market shopping and cooking? What will you enjoy?  

Lastly, in our region, we will gradually start to see wonderful spring products at the farmers markets.  Please - wait for them!  Don’t be fooled because chain “markets” present all sorts of things that aren’t in season here yet.  Those things have traveled a long way and have certainly been treated with something or other.  They also will not have the flavor profile of seasonal, fresh and local products.  Soon we will be seeing:  ramps, fiddle head ferns, morel mushrooms, asparagus, shad, and spring onions, among other things.

Recipes (This is what we do in my house.  There are all sorts of variations but in my endless effort to make cooking and recipes accessible and do-able, these have worked really well).

Basic Homemade Stock and Ramen Stock

Bones:  Ask your butcher for pork bones - 5 - 6 pounds will yield almost 6 quarts of stock.

Roast Pork bones at 350 degrees until they are brown and toasty.  This will take about 45 - 60 minutes until browned but not charred.

Put them in a large stockpot, cover with water, and add 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar.
Off heat, let that sit for about 45 minutes.  Then bring to a boil, skim any scum off, and add 3 - 4 carrots, 3-4 stalks of celery, and a large onion, all coarsely chopped. Add a tablespoon of black peppercorns. 
Simmer  for 12-24 hours.  The longer the better.

Strain and can or freeze - or use!


Bones:  Ask your butcher for chicken bones - backs and necks - (should cost you less than a dollar a pound), 5-6 pounds.

You can roast chicken bones but we don’t.  Chicken bones have a lot of meat on them so we generally don’t roast them.

Put them in a large stockpot, cover with water, and add 2 small onions quartered, and 3 celery stalks, 4 carrots rough chopped and a tablespoon of black peppercorns.

Simmer for about 6 hours.  Strain, and can or freeze or use!

Note: Both of these stocks, but particularly the pork stock, may need to have the fat skimmed off of them.  Allow them to cool, and save that fat for another use!  I always leave a little fat in the  stock.

Ramen Stock

To 2 pints pork stock, 1 pint of chicken stock, add about 1 pound of chicken feet or pork trotters (pigs feet)
Add about a 2 inch piece of fresh ginger and 6 large garlic cloves.
Simmer for about 2 hours - you want the collagen to blend out of the chicken feet or trotters.  You should be able to see that.  The collagen will make the stock more opaque. 

Add one sliced leek - white and light green parts only
Add a standard bunch of scallions - white parts only, chopped -(save the green parts for garnish)
Add about 1/4 pound of mushrooms - whatever you have will work

Simmer for  about 1 hour. 

Strain and do whatever you want to do for your particular Ramen.