The Kitchen Ecosystem: Integrating Recipes to Create Delicious Meals
by Eugenia Bone
Nourishing Broth: An Old-Fashioned Remedy for the Modern World
by Sally Fallon Morell and Kaayla T. Daniel, PhD, CCN
~post by Sutterfield
Autumn! Finally! And hooray! The autumnal equinox has past, ushering in that most lovely of seasons. For us here in Central Texas, it’s a season for rain and the singing of small frogs in the brush outside the window. The weather is not quite chilly, though we have had a brief flirtation with the promise of frosty days to come, but it has certainly mellowed into a delicious unfolding of soft sunlight and steely skies. Time for planting in the garden, as we are blessed with two growing seasons here in ATX. Time for coffee on the porch swing. Time for drying the last of the summer herbs. Time for cooking and feasting, and for preparing batches of broth for the winter.
Versatile, delicious, and the base for a whole range of dishes, packaged broth can of course be bought at the store, but there is something wholly satisfying in making it yourself. So it is incredibly exciting that Sally Fallon Morell’s and Kaayla T. Daniel’s new book, Nourishing Broth arrives this month, chock full of instructions and recipes all centered around homemade broth (A Note: Fallon does not address vegetable stock, and all the recipes in Nourishing Broth are based in animal protein).
It does seem as though broth (or stock, depending on what you want to call it – there doesn’t appear to be a formal distinction and everyone has an opinion) is undergoing something of a renaissance in some circles; Fallon is also the author of the book, Nourishing Traditions, which is one of the foundational cookbooks for the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) way of eating, and Nourishing Broth spends a good deal of time (approximately half the book) exploring the nutritional benefits of bone broth. Regardless of whether one subscribes to WAPF or believes in all of the book’s claims, however, Nourishing Broth is also a cornucopia of wonderful recipes and advice for the creation of broth and stock for a number of uses.
I’ve been making my own broth/stock for a little while now, so I decided to experiment with something new from the book and make Duck Stock (p.163). The process was fairly straightforward; duck, carrots, celery, onion, garden herbs (I used bay, rosemary, thyme, parsley, and sage), water, salt and pepper in the slow cooker set on low for eight to twenty-four hours. I prepared mine the night before and let it simmer until the following early afternoon, which seemed just right.
After that it was just a matter of straining out the stock and pouring it into clean glass jars. My method may not be the most tidy, but it gets the job done. The fat can be chilled and removed for other uses, but I don’t usually bother removing it.
The result was several jars of beautiful golden broth, ready for use. Since I only needed approximately three pints for the next recipes, I froze the rest. The only downside to making regular broth, I have to admit, is the lack of freezer space. My freezer is full to bursting with jars of stock and frozen veggies, and I’m sad to say that this past weekend we lost a jar when it came crashing down out of the freezer faster than we could catch it. Moral of the story: be careful with your freezer space. Also: frozen jars can be a bit unpredictable.
Look at all that lovely broth! But what exactly can you DO with it? Besides drink it hot from the cup on chilly evenings while curled up with a good book? Well, of course, you can make a whole panoply of delicious soups, casseroles, and other dishes, and Nourishing Broth is equipped with a number of these as well, but I thought this might be the perfect opportunity to segue seamlessly into my second feature…The Kitchen Ecosystem.
These two books dovetail beautifully together, as The Kitchen Ecosystem is also full of wonderful advice and instruction for the making of stock as well as a number of other pantry staples and small batch preserves, but it is Eugenia Bone’s kitchen philosophy that adds another dimension to the book, making it a marvelous toolkit for those looking to make their kitchen a place of real harmony and abundance. Bone focuses on fresh, seasonal ingredients, and on making the absolute most out of any ingredient by using as many parts of it as possible in a variety of recipes. This book is a treasure trove of ideas.
I decided to use my duck stock to make Duck Soup with Sausage Omelet (p.132), and in keeping with the spirit of the book, I decided to also make Utica Greens (p.67), as both recipes would use a few similar ingredients (garlic, bacon, onions).
The soup was relatively easy, especially with homemade stock ready to go. I just cooked a small amount of chopped bacon followed by finely chopped onion, carrot, celery and garlic in a pot, added the stock, and simmered for approximately fifteen to twenty minutes.
Then I cooked some sausage and added it to a bowl of beaten eggs with some chopped parsley, salt and pepper. I poured this into my iron skillet, and felt pretty proud of myself for about five minutes.
Luckily, a lot of dishes will continue to be tasty even when they fall apart. And that was definitely the case here. After the omelet disaster finished cooking, I scooped up the pieces and added them to soup to simmer for a few more minutes.
Meanwhile, I prepared the greens. The recipe called for escarole, but I was unable to find any at my local market, so I substituted some purple kale and arugula, since I figured the bitterness of the arugula would make a good contrast with the other savory elements of the dish.
A little cooked bacon, onion, garlic cooked in olive oil to start, followed by the greens, which wilted beautifully. Then it was just a matter of some Parmesan, salt, and pepper.
And there it was! A lovely, somewhat fancy afternoon meal. I happened to be eating alone that day, and let me just say that on a lovely fall afternoon, with all the windows open and a sweet breeze sweeping in, with a glass of ice water and a great book (say, the upcoming Best Food Writing 2014 collection, due to arrive in November)…this is one amazing meal.
Copies of both The Kitchen Ecosytem and Nourishing Broth will arrive on our shelves on September 30th. Both titles are also available via bookpeople.com and can be reached by clicking the desired title above.