10 January 2011

my husband bought a brew kettle: back to normalcy

Today is what all my Mondays should look like, please.

Last week, Paul Forster kindly, but firmly, requested that I clean out the freezer(s). They are full, and it is frustrating for all of us to have to balance peas on roast on our heads just to get the vanilla ice cream out.

So, Friday, I grabbed two chickens out of the freezer - chickens I had bought on clearance - 50 cents a pound - yay for cheap food here in America.

Yesterday evening, I put said chickens in to roast. Paul and our friend Will picked at them around supper time (hard to turn down a freshly roasted chicken), but they were mostly in tact this morning.

I picked them apart. Talk about a labor of love. Greasy hands and it takes forever. But, it's the good kind of work. Not like laundry, which is work from the devil.

As I was picking them apart, I had an epiphany! (wonder how our word epiphany specifically evolved from the ecclesiastical usage?)

The stars have aligned, I thought!
Aligned, I tell you!

First star: my husband bought a brew kettle.

Wait for it.

What is a brew kettle?

Oh, it's just a 5 gallon stock pot. But beer-brewing-equipment companies market them as 'brew kettles' so that piggish men who are insecure in their masculinity won't feel too girlie buying cooking equipment. My husband isn't piggish, but he is about to start brewing his own beer.

I've never had the privilege of owning such a big pot. But now I co-own one, with Paul, who is glad to share.

Second star: I remembered the 3 or 4 chicken carcasses in the freezer. Yes, carcasses. My culinary hero, Nigella Lawson, says when you roast a chicken, if you don't have time to make broth right then, you should throw the skin and bones into the freezer for future broth making.

Third star: It's really cold outside and my children really wanted to play with play dough.

Fourth star: My daughter had a really good attitude about her school work this morning, and got it all done in record time.

I sat the kids - all three! - down at the kitchen table with 24 different colors of playdough.

I got the brew kettle out of it's packaging.

Here is a picture of Big Brew next to my regular stock pot. 20 quarts vs. 8 quarts. You can see how BB is making a difference in my life. This translates to "Will hold 6 chicken carcasses instead of 2". Which translates to more freezer clean-outage, which makes everyone happy.

So, I started throwing in decimated chickens.

2 fresh ones from yesterday.

3 frozen ones from a couple of months ago.

And then the truly freeing part of chicken stock making.

I started tossing in the following:

Some celery stalks, with leaves, broken in half....
A couple of heads of garlic, unpeeled, chopped in half
A big ol' onion, unpeeled, quartered
Five carrots, unpeeled, broken in half. Stressed? Go break a carrot.
12 or so bay leaves
4 large sprigs rosemary
A healthy Tablespoon of whole black peppercorns

Added enough water to cover everything. Turned it on. Walked away.

(Came back to check on it periodically for the next 2 hours).

It's simmering away on the stove. The smell alone will warm you up.

I should end up with 10 or so quarts of really yummy, rich chicken broth.

What will I do?

2-3 quarts are going to make an awesome pot of chicken noodle soup sometime this week - for us to eat for warm lunch and for me to take to some friends.

1 quart will be used in the chicken pot pie I'm making for supper tomorrow night.

(The pulled apart roasted chickens will be split between those two dishes).

Now, what will I do with the remaining 6-7 quarts of broth?

Fill the freezer up, of course. It's looking kind of empty.

(I also may make a couple of surprise chicken broth deliveries this week - Jackson friends - who needs a few cups o' the good stuff? Email me. Call me. Text me. Facebook me. I am technologically available to you, and I have stock to give away).

As I stir Big Brew, I just feel like it's all in sync. The holidays are over, and we're back to normal.

Now, to laundry, dedgomit.

No comments:

Post a Comment