Thanksgiving is a little over a week away—time to get cracking! First up on my agenda is making sure I have lots of stock. I need it for gravy, for stuffing, and possibly for some of my vegetable dishes (anything cooked in water is better cooked in stock).
I know some people do crazy things like roasting bones, but I think that sort of misses the point. Stock should be made from what is left over, like all those chicken carcasses that I bag up and throw in the freezer until we reach critical stock mass. Regardless of what else I add, I've found the best stock I make is that with the most chicken carcasses. Three or four is good.
I add a few carrots, a few stalks of celery, an onion, a handful of parley, a bay leaf, some thyme, some sage, a few peppercorns, and whatever else strikes my fancy. Sometimes there has been a lemon inside one of the chickens, and that ends up in there too.
I simmer overnight, let cool the next day, then strain the broth through a mesh colander lined with cheesecloth, and refrigerate it to let the fat harden on top.
Usually I remove the fat, ladle the broth into containers, and freeze, but because I have an afternoon at home (parent/teacher conference week, with all half days) and just because I'm feeling special, I'm going to cook down the defatted broth to concentrate it, giving me a richer broth and saving some freezer space.
Coming up: knife sharpening, turkey buying, menu planning, pie crusting, and a discussion of ambrosia.
So, are you coming?