thoughts on eating meat & our crock pot stock recipe

this weekend i visited summer kitchen family farm. i was so inspired by the quality & care of their animals & thought i would share a bit about our thoughts on eating meat. of course, i never want this space to leave anyone feeling uncomfortable. i do my best to make this space inviting & warm, but today we are talking about consuming meat. if this topic makes you feel uncomfortable, i ask that you go ahead & skip this post for today & come back on wednesday. thanks so much!

we recently purchased a whole chicken from the farm & although it was a significant part of our food budget for the week, it was well-worth the extra expense. we trust these farmers. we appreciate every bit of hard work that goes into raising these precious animals & getting them to our plate. also, i know that these animals lived a happy life & that's very important to me. 

we don't eat a lot of meat in our home because it is expensive compared to other protein sources. additionally, we only purchase ethically-raised meat from farmers we know & trust so that limits when & where we purchase our meat. our choice to only eat meat from farmers who raised their animals in a comfortable environment & sustainably makes us, at times, appear to be total weirdos. portlandia has come up a couple of times in conversation. still, we aren't aggressive toward others in our decision & we feel good knowing when others sit at our table to eat, they are being fed well.

although the cost of our bird (around $16) did keep us from purchasing a couple of other things at the farmers' market, i was able to use every single bit of this precious animal in four meals for the week. first,  i roasted our chicken in the oven with onions & fresh herbs for a couple of hours on sunday evening. we each had a considerable piece of meat on the side that evening along with asparagus spears & a large salad. we also made chicken quesadillas for dinner one evening & salads topped with chicken for lunches a couple of days throughout the week. in order to make our meat & dollar stretch, i always pair a smaller amount of animal protein with a large portion of vegetables. finally, we made chicken stock. this is such an easy practice so i thought i would share our simple recipe with you.

crock pot chicken stock

1. once you roast your chicken, remove all of the meat from the bones. place the meat in a container (we use a large mason jar with lid) for using throughout the week & place the bones in your crock pot.

2. chop up vegetables & place on top of meat in crock pot. if we have thought ahead, we like to save our vegetable scraps for this purpose. if not, we usually add green onion, carrots, celery or whatever we have on hand. i will usually add some fresh herbs from the garden, including sage, parsley & thyme. 

 3. once all of my ingredients are added to the crock pot, i fill up my crock pot with water until there is about an inch left at the top. 

4. turn the crock pot on low & allow to simmer for 18 - 24 hours. some do not simmer their stock for that long, but i have noticed that the bones make a really dark, rich stock when i simmer it for longer. 

5. once your stock is done, strain the liquid into a bowl. i like to do this by placing my colander in a large bowl. i place a piece of cheese cloth around the colander & pour the liquid, bones & vegetables into the colander slowly. i then gather the cheese cloth with large bits included & set aside for the compost.

6. once my bowl is filled with a rich, dark stock, i measure two cups of the stock & pour into a large-mouth mason jar. the large-mouth mason jars tend to shatter less often in the freezer. i sometimes take my chances, like this time, & pour the stock into a small-mouth jar, if i don't have enough large-mouth jars on hand. i also prefer the plastic lids for the freezer. 

7. once you have several jars of stock, label & store in freezer for later meals.

how do you make stock or broth? what are your thoughts on stretching your dollar & meat? i would love to hear your thoughts!



Unknown said...

Hello - I appreciated your note today. I enjoy all of your notes but the timing of this one was perfect for me!  My partner and I are transitioning from eating meat regularity to only eating sustainably raised meats on the weekend. And over the next two years one of our goals is to have our own chickens. Not sure yet if they will be for eggs only or for eggs and meat. I was wondering if you raise your chickens for meat too, and if so, what kind of harvesting routine do you have? (You may have spoken to this in an earlier post that I have missed since finding your blog).

Rachel said...

I can't wait to try this! I've always been intimated about making my own stock, but this looks easy! Thanks for sharing!
Also, I love that you are sharing your grocery and food situations with us! The budgeting part especially and how you make great meals on a small dollar!

Lisa said...

I love this post.

We're lucky, in this farming world, to be able to raise much of our own meat and to trade with or buy from other farmer friends for most of the rest. It makes it somewhat easy for us to eat meat, and we often talk about what we would do RE meat if we weren't in farming. No big answers really, except that we'd eat a lot less of it.

We raise a big batch (50-75) of meat birds every year. We keep some whole for roasting and cut others into breasts/thighs/wings/legs, keeping the backs of those for stock as well. Whenever we eat chicken we throw the bones in a big half gallon or gallon size plastic bag in the freezer. Once we accumulate enough we make stock. Sometimes I start it with a mirepoix but most of the time I don't - I've found that the simpler I keep the process, the more often we have stock! I throw the frozen bones into a big stock pot, often along with a full carcass or two that from a roast chicken, or some of those backs I mentioned earlier. Most of the time I make it with about two carcasses' worth of bones.

I cover with water, bring to a boil, skim off any scum (there's not usually much with pastured birds, I find), and then simmer super low, covered, for 15-24 hours. So I guess this means we always make bone broth! I buy that this is healthier - that we're getting more minerals and gelatin out of the bones. I let it cool, then strain out the bones, then freeze flat in quart of half gallon bags.

Anonymous said...

Hi Natalie!

Like you, my fiance and I eat only humanely raised meats. I live in Nova Scotia, Canada and it is also expensive here to buy your meat this way. For right now in our lives we can afford it, but I worry that when we have a family one day this will be a luxury we won't be able to afford. Is this something you've also thought about? Just wondering your thoughts.

Thanks! Love the blog:)


mandi said...

We have the same view on consuming meat. And yes, we are teased relentlessly, but that's ok! Our chickens are a little more expensive than the one you have here, and that can be hard on our family of 5 living on one income. But we live out what we believe, and cut corners else where. We are currently preparing to bring on about 20 meat birds. We live in town, so we may have to do this in increments! I'm excited about being able to raise our own to go along with the local venison we have.
And like you, because of the cost of meat, I always use every bit. I use the carcass more than once for stock.

Erin said...

Hi Natalie,

If you add a long pour of apple cider vinegar to your stock before you heat it and let it sit for 20 minutes before simmering away, it'll help to pull more minerals from the bones. I never taste the vinegar in the finished broth.

trees and what not said...

similarly to you I save all vegetable off cuts and add the bones to the pot along with veg and I also add fresh herbs and quite large glug of white wine:) the longer i can cook it the better, I love to use left overs, waste not want not, lovely blog you have x

Holly said...

Thanks! I haven't ever heard of anyone doing this in the crock! Love it!

Jodean said...

If you don't have a lot of bones on hand (or want to make a vegetarian stock) you can also throw some eggshells in there with a little apple cider vinegar to add calcium and other minerals.

01 09 10 11 12
Blogging tips