This past Tuesday evening Mary Ann and I had our second class at the Bluescreek Farms booth in Columbus’s North Market. Bluescreek Farms raises their own antibiotic and hormone free pork, beef, and lamb and it is goooood. Our first class was a hands-on “Sausage Making” class. This week’s class was “Hog Cutting”. The class included a step-by-step demo of how a half hog is cut apart. I left with a greater understanding of where each cut of pork was on the hog and an even greater respect for the Bluescreek butchers.
Everyone had the opportunity to debone their own pork shoulder steak. I was lucky enough to bring home 12 ounces of pork bones – from my steak plus the steak bones of students who did not want theirs. So . . this morning I made a small batch of pork stock for the freezer. My idea is to save my stock for bean soup this winter
I started with 12 ounces of pork bones – some with good sized bits of meat on them. I browned the bones in a cast iron skillet in olive oil with 2 onions – chopped, 4 carrots – cut into 2-3 inch chunks, 4 cloves of garlic – chopped, plus a little salt. I allowed the mixture to cook, stirring often, until the bones and vegies were colored with a glaze and nicely browned.
While the bones and veggies browned I added a teaspoon of peppercorns and three bay leaves to my small stockpot.
I added the browned bones and vegies to the stockpot along with 2 1/2 half quarts of water – just enough water to cover the bones and vegies.
I brought the pot to a boil and immediately turned the heat down to low. I kept the pot, loosely covered with a lid, at a low simmer for four hours.
At the end of four hours I strained the stock
Finally, I removed the fat in the stock with a fat separator. You can easily see the layer of fat floating at the top of the stock. It’s the dark layer sitting on top of the stock.
I now have 51/2 cups of rich pork stock for winter soup – not bad considering I started with less that a pound of bones. This is not enough stock to make me get out the pressure canner so these containers are headed to the freezer. Oops! Looks like I forgot to label the lids of the containers. I always tell myself that I will remember what is in each container but I never do. I will label the containers with contents and date and then they will go into the freezer.
I hope this encourages you to think about using all those bones you usually toss out. You can use chicken/turkey bones, beef bones, or pork bones. Homemade stock is so simple. Collect bones in a bag in the freezer. When you have at least a pound – heck I save up until I have 12-14 pounds of beef bones – make stock. All you need are the bones, some carrots, onions, garlic, celery, peppercorns, bay leaves, and water. You can add leeks, parsley, parsnips if you have them. When the winter turns cold and snowy you can have fabulous homemade soup. Not a bad deal for a little bit of simmering!
Hey from the farm,
Fran The Country Cousin