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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Just Because You’re Eating Canned, Dehydrated or Freeze Dried food Doesn’t Mean It Has to Suck

This is a Kinox stock pot.
Hey Everybody.  I’d like to start the New Year with a guest post from one of our readers – Chefbear58.  Have you ever eaten MRE’s or camping food day in and day out for weeks on end and got sick of the same flavor day after day?  I have and I’ve got to tell you it would have been nice having some idea of how to spice it up.  Chefbear58 has agreed to share some TEOTWAWKI cooking tips with us.  You just might want to print this out for your SHTF notebook.  Read on…
-Jarhead Survivor
Stocks and Broths – just because you’re eating canned/dehydrated/freeze dried food, doesn’t mean it has to suck!
Let’s start this post by explaining a few differences in the subjects.
1. Stock is made from bones and can be made “light” or “dark”, this refers to the color/flavor/texture.
2. Broth is made from meat, connective tissue, and bone and it can also include skin when made from some animals like poultry.
3. Stock/Broth/soup “bases” come in powder/paste/compressed “cube” forms, high salt, artificial flavors and MSG- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monosodium_glutamate -best bet is to avoid these unless the real stuff just isn’t your thing- limited uses.
Before we dive in to the long term storage /cooking uses, I am going to give you guys a simple recipe for stock.  Below I will explain how to adjust stock into broth. This is a “Light” stock recipe; simple adjustments are made for “dark” stock, and once you have made one good stock you can make good stock out of almost any animal!
4lbs- Chicken carcasses (For stock- use bones only) (For broth- use meat, skin in domesticated poultry broth, and any connective tissues- Connective tissue will turn into gelatin, will explain why that’s good further down
1 bay leaf, 5 parsley stems, 1 ½ tsp peppercorns, 1 strip lemon zest (approximately 1”x2-3”), 2 rosemary stems, 2 garlic cloves- peeled
1 lb onion,  ½” dice (avoid “sweet” onions, yellow, white and Spanish work best)
2 gallons water
½ lb celery,  ½” dice
2 tbsp fat, oil/lard/butter- whatever you have will work
½ lb leeks,  ½” dice (if you don’t have leeks use half the amount of onion)
Place all of the herbs and spices into a piece of cheesecloth, tie closed with a piece of butchers twine leave ~12” extra twine from the knot. Reserve the “sachet” for later. Heat the fat over medium heat, when its heated up, add in the vegetables and cook until softened, do not brown. Once the vegetables are softened add the chicken bones, allow the chicken bones to “warm up”, keep stirring so the veg doesn’t brown. Raise the heat to medium high, pour in the water. Place the “sachet” in the center of the pot, tie the “slack” end of the twine to one of the pot handles, keep the “sachet” off the bottom of the pot. Bring contents to a light boil, reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for about 2-4 hours without stirring, use a ladle to skim off the foam that will float to the top of the pot. The foam will discolor the stock, and the flavor/texture will be negatively affected. When the bones are soft, strain the stock into a container and allow it to cool. Then place the stock into smaller containers and refrigerate, freeze, or can.
Now I am gonna share with you folks a little “family secret” about stock… after you strain out all the stuff used to flavor the stock, stir in 1 packet of unflavored gelatin for every gallon of water used. Gelatin acts like fat; it engages and coats every part of your mouth. This is the same effect you get when you eat something loaded with butter; the flavor seems to hit you from all sides! Gelatin is made from collagen, found in connective tissues.
Dark stock adjustments- Carrots in place of leeks; lightly brown the veg; roast the bones to obtain a light brown color; you can rub tomato product (i.e. sauce or ketchup) on the bones to get right color/flavor.
It is important to avoid using the spinal cord/skull for stock; they are more likely to contain disease (even if there are no signs, check out CWD or chronic wasting disease.)
Stock rule of thumb- If it walks.. Dark stock (use large bones, i.e. leg, shoulder, pelvis, tail); If it flies.. Light for domesticated.. Dark for game; Fish/Shellfish- DON’T USE oily fish (i.e. salmon) … Light stock method, about 45 minute simmer, may need about 1.5x extra herbs/spices, a “fumet” tends to be a little bland.
Ok, now that you have some stock that would make Emeril CRY, let’s get into how to use it!
1. Use stock in place of water to rehydrate meats- boosts natural flavors, dark chicken stock will work with beef, deer, or pork.
2. After straining the stock, reduce it over medium heat until it is a dark syrup consistency- It is now called “Glace”, the flavors concentrate, excess water evaporates, takes up less space and less is needed to cook with, you may need to add some water if using Glace in cooking.
3. Use the stock as a base for AWESOME soups/sauces.
4. Using “wild game” bones to make stock allows you to get about 1/6 more nutrients/calories from the animal.
5. Hot stock can help to soothe a sore throat, warm you up, and can sustain someone who is sick or unable to handle heavier foods.
6. Stock can be added to instant potatoes/rice to add flavor and texture, especially handy if you don’t have dairy products, but “plays nice” with milk/butter.
7. You might want some “gravy” for the rice/potatoes. You can just thicken the stock to the consistency you want (here is a link to some ideas for thickening, for the sake of space- http://learnsomethingnewtoday.us/2007/09/20/thickening-agents-for-cooking/). For REALLY GOOD GRAVY- cook some onion, garlic, spices, herbs, even bacon, and add to the gravy. Spirits like whiskey, brandy, port etc., all made flavorful additions.
8. Use stock instead of water to can meats with, this creates “double strength” stock to make a soup/sauce with. This “2x stock” can even be used to make TVP (textured vegetable protein) more palatable.
9. If you have stale bread, and some awesome homemade stock… You can make a basic soup! It’s actually pretty good, even better if you have meat/veg to throw in!
10. Use the “pile” of cooked down ingredients from your delicious stock, to lure some fresh meat into your cross-hairs! Mice, Muskrat, Coyote…the neighbor’s pets! Chances are they’re all hungry to, so bait ‘em and trap or shoot ‘em and eat ‘em!
11. Yep sneakin’ ONE more in… Stock/broth is a preservation method, if kept in a cool (<60F) dark place, sealed (Tupperware can wok) it has the potential to keep for weeks, canned it has the potential for months-years! Plus, the “chicks” dig a guy that can whip up some good eats! Use these post SHTF skills wisely young grasshopper!
OK guys, your turn! Have you used/made stock? Do you like it? Have you considered it for long term storage/cooking? After reading this do you think it could find a place on your shelf/in your list of skills? What are some other uses that you know of?
If anyone has any questions, I would be happy to answer them to the absolute best of my knowledge!
Jarhead Survivor & Ranger Man, thanks for giving me the opportunity to share my knowledge and being a part of your community!
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