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Posts Tagged ‘Beef’

Should this post be entitled “How to Make Homemade Chicken Stock” or are we past that?  For now, I am going to assume that you don’t need a tutorial or a recipe for the stock itself, but I am going to share with you some of my favorite tricks for freezing it once it is made.

Oh, I will sneak in one pre-cooking tip as well.  I always buy whole chickens from local farmers, so I have the neck (a la A Christmas Story) and the bones to contend with after I roast the bird.  While the chicken is still fairly hot, remove as much meat as you can and freeze that for soups and such later.  Remember to date your freezer bag.  Then, pop the carcass in another freezer bag.  When I have four carcasses in the freezer, I know it is time to make stock.

I prefer to do two large pots of stock at a time, since it is less work to do two in one day than it is to make one on two separate days.  So, I have quite a bit of stock to deal with when it’s done.

For a giant turkey, however, I just make the stock the next day as we drag out the holiday decorations and watch White Christmas :).

Here is what I do:

1.  Place a large colander over another large container/pot that is heat proof.  A third stock pot is perfect if you have one, but the inside of your crock pot or rice cooker works, too.

2.  Strain the contents of one pot into the empty container.  Now you can pick through the carcass again and take out any meat that came off the bones.  Discard the veggies, bones and skin.  Repeat with the second pot.

Big Ol' Pot of Stock

3.  Now, what to do with a giant pot of stock?  Grab your freezer bags and label them with the contents, the date, and the quantity.  Do not forget to label with the quantity.  Trust me.  So annoying to have several bags of frozen stock in the freezer and have no idea which one you should defrost :).  I usually do some 4 cups, some 2 cups, and sometimes 8 cups.

Labeled Bag

4.  To prevent your bag from flopping over as you fill, turn the top over and set the empty bag in side another bowl.  Measure your stock and pour it into the bag.  Turn the top back over and seal.

Put Your Freezer Bag in a Bowl and Turn the Top Over

5.  I lay the bags flat on a big cookie sheet which fits in my chest freezer.  Freezing the bags flat seems to be the best way to store them once they are frozen.

And, if you live in a cooler climate, you can stick the bags out in the garage or on the porch to cool for a bit (or freeze solid in 30 minutes, depending where you live) before putting them in the freezer.

Let me know if you’d like me to post how I actually make the stock.  Next week I will be posting a couple yummy chicken/turkey soup recipes to use up the homemade stock and shredded poultry.

For more kitchen tips, visit Tammy’s Recipes.

Enjoy!

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italianbeefandbeansoverpastaban.jpg

Last week was the debut of Tammy’s Italian Beef and Beans at our house.  Her suggestion is to serve it over pasta.  You can see that in her beautiful photo above.  I actually chose to serve it as a soup.  Although, I think it would have worked out well to add pasta to the soup.

I doubled the recipe, and the only thing I changed from her original is that I only used two cans of tomatoes and omitted the red pepper flakes.  I could have sworn I had two large cans of tomatoes in my pantry.  While my ground beef was browning I realized that I actually had, um, none.  Mom to the rescue!  My mom lives in an apartment attached to our house, and I cannot begin to tell you what a blessing that is for all of us.  And quite convenient when I realize I am out of tomatoes mid-browning.  When I asked if she had any canned tomatoes, she happily offered one can.  I just didn’t have the heart to tell her I actually needed four.  I could only bring myself to ask for one more.  As it turned out, I think four would have been too much for my tastes.

The final verdict:  While it didn’t blow me away, we enjoyed it and I will make it again.  And really, when has a tomato beef stew ever blown me away?  Never.  Ok, then this is a keeper.  It is actually quite similar to another beef and black bean soup that I make, but with a slightly different combo of veggies, beans and seasonings.  Always good to keep things simple, yet interesting.

I appreciated that the recipe was easy to double, hearty enough to just add bread and salad or fruit and call it dinner, and like most stew type dishes, tasted even better the next day.

Italian Beef and Beans

(I doubled this to feed my family of seven, and we had leftovers.)

1 pound ground beef

2 large carrots, peeled and chopped

2 ribs celery, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced (I always press mine.)

2 14.5 oz. cans diced tomatoes (or 4 cups fresh) (I used only 1 can for a single recipe and felt it was plenty.)

2 cups beef broth or water (I had to use water – I was out of broth.)

2 teaspoons brown sugar (I used sucanat.)

2 15.5 oz. cans of beans (Tammy suggests red or white kidneys or black beans.  I used all red kidneys.)

1 1/2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning (I don’t own this, so I just threw in two palmfuls of some combo of oregano, parsley and basil.)

1/2 to 1 tsp. red pepper flakes (I omitted these as my family is wimpy when it comes to heat, so I don’t even own them.)

1 1/2 tsp. salt, or to taste

In a large stock pot, brown your beef and drain.  (I always buy local, grass-fed beef which is lean, and I figure the fat is healthy, so I just brown the beef while I cook the veggies and skip the draining altogether.)  Dump in everything but the salt.

Simmer for 45 minutes – 1 hour to finish cooking veggies and allow the flavors to develop.  Add salt to taste.

Thank you Tammy for yet another winner!

Enjoy!

 

 

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