Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What in the heck do you do with neck bones?!?

Earlier this month my husband and I went in with some friends and bought a cow. Our share was 1/8th of this massive, locally raised hunk of meat. When my friend told me it was about 100 pounds of beef, I had trouble imagining just how much it would be. Wowza! Good thing we have a deep freeze, otherwise we would have nowhere to store this gigantic haul of meat.

I was excited to have different kinds of steaks and roasts. Ground beef was plentiful (44 pounds plentiful). There were two things in the box I was clueless on what to do. 1. Livers 2. Neck bones. Gross and Grosser. My husband quickly claimed the livers as catfish bait. I was not one to object. As I started to ponder what to do with these dinosaur sized bovine vertebrae, my mind automatically went to stock. I have made chicken stock several times with the leftover bones from chickens, and I thought surely you could do the same with these neck bones.

After a quick Google search, I learned that you most definitely CAN make beef stock from neck bones. I scoured several recipes/methods for using the bones. I decided I could wing it with items I had on hand.

I can't exactly tell you how many pounds of neck bones I had, but it looked like at least three vertebrae that had been halved (and much to my relief, no spinal cord. For some reason, I was dreading locating a spinal cord.) I quartered one onion, peeled three cloves of garlic, rough chopped two ribs of celery, and threw in about 10 baby carrots I had left in the bag. I placed all the vegetables and bones in a roasting pan and plopped about half of a small can of tomato paste on top. Next, I seasoned with salt and pepper and stirred to coat.
This roasted in a 450 degree oven for about 45 minutes. A delicious smell filled the house and made me almost go "Cousin Eddie" on the neck bones when they came out of the oven.
I transferred the caramelized yum to a large stock pot and then covered with water. To the pan I also added about a teaspoon of salt, a teaspoon of whole peppercorns, three bay leaves, and a tablespoon of herbes de provence (since I had no fresh herbs on hand). This simmered on medium-low for four hours.
The stock was poured through a strainer to collect the large chunks of vegetables. The stock rested on the counter top for about 30 minutes. At that point, I was able to skim most of the fat from the top.
At this point the stock is finished. You could easily store it in a sealed container in your refrigerator or freezer.
Or do what I did, throw together a quick vegetable beef soup using half the stock and freeze the remainder.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Back into the swing of things!

I was very eager to begin my journey in food blogging. My ideas were countless. Enter fried computer. Scorched is not a word you want associated with your food, and it is not one you want in the same breath as hard drive either. Ugh.

Five months later, I'm sitting in front of a new PC with the same aspirations for this blog. :)

Stay tuned!