Monday, November 17, 2008

Taking Stock

I figure two gallons and a half of stock costs me about $15 and about six hours of time. Not all of that time is spent messing with the stock--it simmers for four hours or more. But I'm telling you it's hard to get much done the way the house smells while it's cooking.

Is it good stock? Of course. I make it with chicken wings and thighs (and backs if I've saved some from cooking chicken myself) a couple of beef shanks (the marrow from the bones gives it additional body) carrots, onions and celery, black peppercorns, and tomato paste. It is to the box 'o stock as a really good hamburger is to McDonald's. I make it nearly salt free so I can control the amount of salt in whatever I use it in.

And yet, most of the time, I don't know that it makes enough difference to a dish to justify all the fussing, the straining, the pouring, the cleaning of the stock pot. I don't make my own tomato sauce for spaghetti. I can, but frankly, most of the time, my pasta sauce comes out of a jar. I don't make my own pasta most of the time. Again, I can, but it's just Bob and me. Granted, I will have this stock through the holidays. It will moisten my Thanksgiving stuffing, flavor may ox tail ragu for a Christmas party, make my weekly soup richer and better. But I could make a freeze tomato sauce, too.

I just like to make this stuff. I like the way it smells. I like the way I feel when I use my stock in something. I like the way the poor dogs mope around the house, driven to distraction my the scent. I like the way the house will smell when Bob comes home tonight. I just like it.


Blogger Steven Gould said...

I've had that ragu and if this stock is what it takes to be so gosh darn excellent, then let's hear it for stock!

(Todays Captcha is halnet, which I'm sure is what you get when you cross the Hal 9000 computer with Skynet. We're in trouble now.)

November 17, 2008 6:05 PM  
Blogger Maureen McHugh said...

You have had that ragu, and I'd like to think, yes, this is part of what makes it so good. Thanks Steve!

November 17, 2008 7:37 PM  
Blogger Greg van Eekhout said...

I love making stock. It makes me feel like a witch.

November 17, 2008 11:22 PM  
Anonymous Amber said...

I've been considering making my own stock. What do you do with the chicken afterwards?

December 04, 2008 12:26 AM  

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