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My veggie drawer needed some cleaning out for sure! And I’ve needed to finish cooking my soup bones so yesterday seemed like the perfect day to have a pot boiling on the stove. We woke up to rain. It’s hard to complain about the rain here in Eastern Oregon because, well, we need it! Last year’s drought brought a hay shortage and skyrocketing hay prices so even though we are ready for warmer weather, we will bide our time in hopes of a reprieve from the drought.
There is something super cozy about a stock pot bubbling on a rainy Spring day. Let’s get started!
We ask for our soup bones whenever we have a cow processed with the butcher. The meat is tender and good, but we normally reserve it for treating the dog. After cooking, the meat and bones go into baggies again and are put in the freezer.
First things first… I emptied the vegetable drawer.
Although some things like celery, onions and garlic seem like staples in stock, I add in any vegetables that are still good but are in small quantities or droopy. Today I had onions, garlic, celery, carrots, summer squash, asparagus, a couple of mini bell peppers, cilantro and some diced jalapeno.
When you make stock in this way, the recipe is never consistent. That’s ok with me. I am just using what I have so nothing goes to waste.
I don’t normally trim my soup bones, but I did this time, and my husband fried the scraps and bones in the air fryer and gave them to the dog right away.
I put about 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in the bottom of my favorite stock pan (seriously, I use it for EVERYTHING!) and sear the meat on a medium heat.
Next, I add in my vegetables that have been rough chopped and give it a stir. Then I add about a cup of water to the pot. I stir and scrape the bottom of the pan to get the crumbs (also known as “yummy goodness”) that stuck to the pan while the meat was cooking. I add about half a Tablespoon each of dried thyme, marjoram, sage, parsley, rosemary, basil and oregano. Then a Tablespoon each of salt and pepper.
You can add whatever spices you want to your stock. There is no right or wrong combination. Add what you have, in quantities that you think will infuse well. This is the time to have confidence in yourself and be creative! You may find that you have a definite preference so take notes on what you loved or didn’t love about the combinations of vegetables, oils and spices that you tried. Have fun with this because it’s about to smell amazing in your kitchen while you create a really unique stock that is all your own!
Fill the pot with hot water from the tap. All the way to the top! Set your pot to simmer and then walk away. Let it bubble for hours while the meat, vegetable and spices infuse.
My stock pot is about 8 quarts. You’ll want to simmer the stock until it gets down to about 3 quarts. This should concentrate your flavors into a really rich stock. Again, there is no right or wrong to this. You can have a more concentrated stock or less. Taste as you go and decide what you like best.
When you’ve reached the concentration of your stock that you prefer, strain your stock thru a colander. The leftover veggies can be tossed out or given to the chickens. You can also compost cooked veggies!
I was left with a really rich and chocolate brown beef stock. You can can the stock or freeze it. I will be canning it in a pressure canner so I can keep it on the dry shelf ready to go.
Try it! It’s so easy and so worth it!