Sunday, 11 December 2011

A thrifty kitchen blog

I am a fanatical lover of good home-made soup, based on old-fashioned bone broth. The broth is actually my favorite part of any chicken or turkey.The grocery store will occasionally have trays of turkey necks for sale, cheap. It turns out you can special order a big box of them, yeah! The boxes are popular with people who feed their dogs a BARF diet, raw foods only.
I used to cut the necks into chunks, a hard and disgusting job, and toss them raw into the stockpot. It did seem a waste to throw out the meat once the broth was done, but it had no flavor left at all.
We have now figured out how to make the most of the precious resource. Just in case someone can use it, here goes.Step 1:
Throw the necks, WHOLE, into a roasting pan and let them roast for a while on good high heat, 375 or 400.  No fussing, just dry roast them as they are. I have no exact time here, use your judgment. Smell is a pretty good indicator.
Step 2:
This is where your hands get all greasy. Once the necks cool enough to handle strip some of the delicious meat off the outside. You just want the part that comes off easily, so you don't end up with little bones. Once you have done that break the neck into chunks, so you get more minerals out of the bones. You can do it with your bare hands, it is much easier than cutting them raw.
Chop the stripped meat into small pieces. It freezes well if you add broth to cover. It is delicious in Chow Mein or Shepherds Pie. Yesterday I added mushrooms and a broth-based roux, and just served it like that over potatoes. Yum. 
Cover your chunks of bone with ample water, including the stuff that you get when you deglaze the roasting pan. That means scraping the tasty bits off with the help of hot water so you don't lose all that flavor. Add a generous helping of good salt, freshly ground pepper, a bay leaf or 2, a few cloves if you have them, and a good glug of vinegar. The vinegar helps to leach the minerals from the bones. Thank you, Adelle Davis! Any vinegary taste completely disappears during boiling.
Enjoy the wonderful smell while water and salt do their magic.
Few smells spell HOME like simmering broth. (I am such a Cancer)
The end result will add magic to any soup or sauce it is added to. Apart from the flavor, bone broth is excellent support for bones, and helps your body to utilize protein better as well. I had to buy some canned chicken broth for a friend the other day, and was appalled at the price: almost $2 for a mere 12 oz, and Earth knows what's in it! Pour the works through a colander after a few hours. I like to simmer mine for a long time, because we want as much mineral nutrition from those bones as we can get.

Above: a chilled chunk of broth to show the rich gelatin content.

Bon Appetit!

1 comment:

  1. Neck is one of my favorite parts of chicken. It seems hard to eat because you can't almost eat anything from it but I enjoy eating them, really.


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