My husband and I rarely go food shopping together. 1) I do most of the errands alone on my lunch break s during the week (I work from home as an Editor) and 2) Our son is a minion of the dark lord and is awful in supermarkets.
Of course, Saturday was no exception. The weather was crappy and I was too sore (Thank you, power snatches at CrossFit) and Mike was still recovering from surgery so neither of us could chase the kids at an indoor play place. So we ventured out in the rain to the local supermarket figuring we’d get the shopping done together, an errand we used to love to do as a couple.
Fast forward thirty minutes and we’re standing in the meat department, our four-year old happily sitting nicely and our two-year old shooting laser beams from his eyes and screaming in what could only be demon Aramaic.
“We need chicken breasts. Get those!” I said and pointed to the organic, free range chicken breasts.
“What!?!” Mike yells over the baby’s howler monkey antics.
He picks up the package and shows it to me, “These?”
“Yes. Those are the only organic ones here.”
“But they’re $11.79 for THREE breasts. I can eat three breasts at a sitting!”
“Well, the organic chicken is not cheap. But I really don’t want to eat those,” I point to the 7 large antibiotic-filled grain-fed chicken breasts sitting there with a $5.89 price tag.
“This is RIDICULOUS. It’s no wonder Americans are sick and fat!” he says. “NO ONE can afford to eat healthy food that isn’t full of crap!”
“I know, honey, but now is not the time for a philosophical argument. Sawyer is about to end the world by summoning Hades. We need to go.”
“Well, what about this?” and he holds up a 5-lb whole organic chicken. It’s $6.29. “We can get all the meat from this and you can make your stock. We can buy TWO of them for less than the cost of just three tiny breasts.”
“Well, if you want to learn how to cut up the chicken, be my guest. We could definitely use the stock.”
So that’s what we did. And this is what we ended up with – all organic: Four chicken breasts, four legs, four thighs, four wings and ALL this stock:
For UNDER $12. That’s at least THREE meals. For less than the price of the three organic chicken breasts that would have maybe made a lunch for one of us.
Also notice those oily globules on the top of the stock? Those are the delicious fats drawn out from the bones and marrow. THAT is what you’re missing in store-bought stuff.
“Science validates what our grandmothers knew. .. Stock contains minerals in a form the body can absorb easily—not just calcium but also magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and trace minerals. It contains the broken down material from cartilage and tendons–stuff like chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine, now sold as expensive supplements for arthritis and joint pain.” -From “Broth is Beautiful” by Sally Fallon Morell
So, Mike went online and learned how to properly cut up a whole chicken. It’s really not that hard. Here’s a great how-to video:
So, once your chicken is cut up and you’re down to the carcass, now what? Now you make YUMMY STOCK!
I use my crockpots for this – they are the standard 4-5 liter size. It works great because you can leave the house and not worry about it. But I suppose you could use a similar sized stockpot or big pot on the stove.
Here’s what you need:
- 1 chicken carcass, preferably roasted
- 1 large onion
- Celery (I cut off the tops and bottoms of a whole heart and use those scraps. They’re very flavorful and though we don’t typically eat these parts, every time I cut up crudite I save the leafy tops and hearts in the freezer just for stock!)
- 2-3 sprigs of thyme
- few sage leaves if you have them
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
What you do:
- Put the carcass in the crockpot and fill to about 1 inch from the top with VERY COLD filtered water.
- Add in the vinegar and let sit for 1-2 hours. (The vinegar helps break down the ligaments and tendons and help break down the bone for all the marrow and nutrients!)
- Add in all the other ingredients.
- Set crockpot for anywhere between 12-24 hours (I usually go a full day) and walk away!
- Let cool so it wont burn you but don’t let it get too cold; otherwise, some of the best stuff with gelatinize and you won’t get it in your stock!
- Use a strainer and some cheesecloth (I use paper towels and they work just fine) and pour the whole thing through.
- Toss the carcass and voila! You have stock!
Depending on what I plan to use the stock for, I often change up the flavoring a bit. If I want to use it for light summer recipes, I may throw in an organge and a lemon to give it a light citrus flavor. If I plan to use it for a deep stew, I may add in some GF Beer and rosemary. The possibilities really are endless.
Oh and it WILL need to be salted and I recommend you do this VERY slowly and only as you’re using it.
See? So when you think you can’t afford to eat organic, maybe you can and you just have to put a little extra work in. But for that little work, you’ll get extra meals AND the healthy benefits of homemade stock.