Sunday, March 9, 2008

Turkey Stock, Nettle Soup, and Corned Beef + Chard

Today we came to the realization that there were no readily consumable eats in the house. I was out of cheese and bread, we had no meats, and Jason was entirely out of snacks, so we headed to Trader Joe's to get some packaged food. There I found a Nieman Ranch corned beef. So I snatched it up along with some stout and a bag of pre-prepped swiss chard. I know its traditional to make corned beef and cabbage; but if I don't ferment my cabbage before attempting to eat it, disaster ensues. It was mighty tasty, and the broth is ridiculously good. I may have to add it to my chili for tomorrow.

Earlier in the day I portioned out my Turkey Stock. My method for making poultry stock, in large part inspired by my father, is a long process. The first step is to find somewhere that carries organic meaty bones, such as back and neck, and sells them for under $1/lb. Put 3-4 lbs in a huge pot and simmer the bejesus out of them along with a carrot or two, onion, celery, and maybe some fresh herbs. This batch I threw on the stove around 1pm and went to work. (I hope my landlord doesn't find my blog) When I got home I let it simmer until about 10pm. Then I took out all the parts, strained out the veggies, and put the pot in the fridge. The next night I skimmed the fat off, and clarified it. To clarify stock, I put in egg whites and whisked the pot until the liquid boiled, then I let it sit. Once the egg came together, I strained the now clear broth into a smaller pot and put it back in the fridge. I attempted to make mayonnaise with the yolks. Maybe because it was 11pm, or the food processor has a oddly fitted blade, or the faeries wanted it all for themselves, but it was a disaster. That was Thursday, today I filled many many ziploc bags with two cups of stock each.

While I was clarifying on thursday, I made dinner. I was trying to make a roast Cornish game hen, which is just the right amount of food for two wiry kids. Unfortunately the hen I had bought at Whole Foods the day before was actually labeled January 27th. My goodness it smelt awful!! I threw it away, and am going to get my money back from whole foods and go get a bird at the local butcher or Berkeley Bowl. I had to think on my feet and instead made a creamy nettle soup. I turned some onions and garlic in butter, added a handful of rolled oats, and sauted that until the oats were toasted, then I threw in some of the infamous turkey stock(it had not yet been clarified), once it came to a boil I added chopped nettles. If you were wondering, in the process of prepping the nettles I was stung only once. Once finished I added some sour cream, because if there is anywhere I can add fat to a dish, I will. It was good, we were full.

By the way, not only was St. Patrick a Roman, he landed in an Ireland already partially-Christianized by St. Columba. So if anyone wants to celebrate St. Colomba, St. Columbanus, or St. Brigid day, you can find me out back on my high horse.


Joanna said...

Where did you find fresh nettles, bah?

KLA* said...

You always were a good cook with a passion for the right ingredients. I think back fondly on your eggs and nori special and your pop-overs in the morning custom with regularity. I'm glad you're keeping this blog.

I'm living on a street where I can walk past some cows and up the hill and buy some eggs from some people who have the hens right there on their property. It's nice.

I still get on my high horse about Guinness day. Drink good beer? Sure. Celebrate factual misinformation, religious persecution, and the notion that without Christianity, Ireland would never have contributed anything of value to the world? Still not behind that, though no longer given to my youthful paroxysms of rage.