Today we're going to turn this:

into this:

I've become very conscious of my waste, lately. Specifically my food waste. I work in a restaurant as a prep cook, and every day I throw out a 35''x50'' garbage bag full of stuff - packaging, food waste, excess noodles, veg that didn't make the cut quality-wise, etc.

the thing that eats me is that I know that half of this stuff is still edible, still good, even if it's "not up to snuff". I Also started reading "Waste Free Kitchen Handbook" by Dana Gunders, and read that approximately 40% of our grown food ends up as waste - that blows my mind. So I decided to try to have less food waste, and to have as low waste as i can in general (hence "Low Waste" kitchen. I'm not going to be too precious about it.)

So that bag in the first image represents not-quite-one day of vegetable waste for me at my job.It's got lots of stuff in it, things that you probably throw away all the time - Onion skins and roots, zucchini ends, carrot tops and tails, tomato tops, some brussels sprouts that weren't pretty enough for service , and a few other odds and ends from my day of chopping.

All of that goes into this pot:

(this is actually an in progress shot, so you also see some chicken stock on the go too - with carcasses from my home freezer).

Junk in the pot!

and filled up with water. Now to simmer it for a few hours. I simmered my stock for like, 3-4 hours? If you boil it too hard your stock will be cloudy. I give Zero fucks about this, so my stock is cloudy and I didn't have to cook it for as long of a time.

^^ at some point in the process.

After you've simmered your stock for a few hours, your verggies (and chicken carcasses) have given up the ghost. You'll know you've done well if the bones are flexible or just plain break in your hands.

this is our strained stock - nice colour, right? the onion skins give it that great dark brown. If you taste it, you taste potential, but it's a little weak.

SO back into the pot, to reduce by 1/4 - 1/3

see that brown "high water line" in the second image? that's about how much I reduced. I had had a bad experience the week before with making an onion stock where i burnt it (and used red onions, also apparently not a good idea) so I was a little gun shy with reduction.

by this point I had combined the stock. In reality I would have wanted to have more chicken in the stock, but I didn't have it, so I made do. The stock was delicious regardless.

So, now I have... something like 10 litres of stock - 10 quarts for you USians. I used an ice bath, then running water to cool it down to a reasonable temp, then put it in the fridge for the deep chill.

I did this on sunday night, and I have monday off so the next afternoon I went to the grocery store and got a new whole chicken - which was apparently THE cheapest way to get chicken at half the price of bone-in chicken thighs - cut off all the breast, thigh, and drum meat for the soup and froze the rest. Stock makings for next time.

then, to make the soup i medium diced a mirepoix ( )and sautéed it over medium low heat until it giving off liquid and steaming pretty good, then added the chicken which I'd just kind of chunked up. I let that colour (I wouldn't exactly say "brown") and then added the stock. I brought that to a boil, then let it cook for about an hour at a low heat. I added a few herbs (Oregano and/or sage and/or rosemary and/or thyme are all good choices), some onion and garlic powders and ta-dahhh, soup.

I had some rice leftover in the fridge, which I added to the soup - in the spirit of low waste, i guess.

Soup was killer. Thanks for reading. You should try making stock sometime - save up your veg ends in a baggie in the freezer, then toss it in the stock pot with leftover chicken bits, or even just whatever bone-in meat was on the cheap. You can do it while you do other stuff: you don't even have to stir it. Stirring is discouraged, in fact.

Cheers folks. Happy Soup-making.


I had never thought about using onion skins.

This is what I do when, among other things, I finish the $10 roasted chickens I buy and still have about 1/3 of the meat left.

On a related note, every other week I put out a small bag of trash, one recycling bin full of paper and one half bin of cans, plastic, etc. I just noticed that every week the couple across the street put out 2 garbage cans full of trash, 1 paper recycling bin and 2 bins full of cans and things. I don't know how they do it.

posted by coffeesp00ns: 373 days ago