Although I've lived in very hot places (Dallas Texas in the summer) I've lost my taste for the heat. So this week, as the temps creep close to 100 degrees, I'll probably find a pool or river to dunk into.
But last week, when the high temp hovered around 70, I was cold. And I felt an unquenchable desire to partake in an Autumnal activity,* so I made stock.
Chicken stock. I got a sale priced organic, happy chicken that I brined** with lavender. When it was brined (overnight), I butchered it and put the carcass in a pot with some lamb bones I found in the freezer and the last twist of reishi mushroom.** I didn't have mirepoix (two parts onion, one part each carrot and celery) so I put in what I had -- carrots and onion with a few odds and ends like yellow beet greens.
Books are written about the making of stock. Pre boiling the bones to remove excess blood. To roast or not roast the mirepoix. White mirepoix (parsnips vs carrots)? There are so many "rules" to stock making that one could follow!
I'm really relaxed about stock at home. Sure, I avoid boiling any stock, preferring the gentle bubbles that render lovely, clear(ish) stock.
The only thing that I never leave out is remouillage, literally re-wetting the bones in French. After the stock is cooked and strained in a chinois, I pour filtered water over the bones and stuff and cook it again for at least an hour. That's my remy and the reason my soups are fantastic.
If there is one wish I would have for any cook, it's a freezer with stock and remouillage. I freeze stock in various containers (depending on the amount of stock I have) with amounts marked in Sharpie.
The frozen remouillage (Remy -- as it's labeled in my freezer) melts in a separate pot as the veg browns in the oven with the bones (or not -- sometimes I just throw it all in a crock pot and go to work).
However one makes stock (but please don't let it boil too much) is less important than simply making stock. It's good for the soul to have a pot of chicken stock on the stove. And your next batch of stock, flavored with remy, will be better yet.
Yours in food love,
* My ex-husband's grandfather, whose nickname was "Kicky" had all sorts of funny sayings. This is my favorite: "In the summer when it's hot and sticky, is not time for dipping dickie. But when the dew is on the pumpkin, is the time for pippy dunking." What a riot!
** My basic brine comes from Ruhlman: 7-1/2 cups of water, 6 Tbspns salt. Then I go nutty and add lavender, herbes de provence, garlic, herbs from the garden like rosemary, hot chilies, bay leaves. Any combination of things that catch my fancy. And a tablespoon or so of some sugar either agave, honey (tho I don't use it, my sweetie's allergic), maple syrup, sugar.
*** This fungus has amazing antioxidant properties so I've used it in all my stocks for about a year or two.