Tuesday, November 20, 2007

What to do with the carcass?

Not being a huge fan of whole chicken (until we discovered that a small chicken done in our covered barbeque was THE way to eat poultry!), I usually ask Dave to carve the bits off the carcass to cook, and then save the carcass for later. We also completely bone out our squirrels: we found that when kept on the bone, it was easy to over cook the meat. By boning them, you can cook the meat in smaller portions and to just the right point.

Anyway, I had a freezer-full of carcasses and I thought I'd deal with them. So yesterday I made a pot of stock out of:

3 chicken carcasses (including necks & gibblets)
2 squirrel carcasses
1 medium carrot, peeled into the pot (i.e. peel the whole carrot into the pot)
1 medium parsnip, ditto
4 sprigs of fresh sage
3 very large bushy sprigs of thyme (probably equal to a couple of tablespoons if I had bothered to strip the leaves off)
sprinkling of grey sea salt
enough water to just cover the carcasses

Brought the water to a boil, and probably boiled it for a couple of hours. Skimmed off some of the scum (you're supposed to skim as it boils in order to keep it clear, but I wasn't able to because the peelings and herbs were floating in the way). Removed the carcasses (falling apart!) and all the trimmings. Put just the liquid back on the stove and reduced it down to about 2 litres (probably from 4 or 5 litres after cooking).

I picked the carcasses of meat and broke up the chicken livers and divided small portions of the bits into ice-cube containers, then poured enough stock over to create the cube & froze. These are Murri's "treats", which he gets in addition to the kibble hockey.

Today, I took the stock, skimmed the surface of scum, and strained it through a coffee filter over a sieve and used it to make my own version of "Italian Wedding" soup:

6 cups stock
3-4 sprigs of basil, chopped
1 cup chopped fresh green beans
2 large turkey & cranberry sausages, sliced into rounds & fried
1 package (12 oz) Tinkyada organic brown rice pasta

I cooked the pasta using their "energy efficient" method: boil the water, add the pasta & cook in the boiling water about 2 minutes, then turn off the heat, keep the lid on and let sit for 20 minutes. Drain & rinse. About 4 minutes to go, I turned off the heat of the soup & tossed in the basil & beans to warm up. Once everything was heated & cooked, I put everything together and served. Very tasty.

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