I spent this weekend making stocks. Lots of them. Turkey stock for a turkey pot pie and gravy. Pheasant stock, well, just because I had carcasses left from pheasant confit and pheasant breast dishes I made last week. And finally veggie stock because I needed to make a vegetarian soup with rich flavor.
If there is one thing Parker has taught me is that there is no substitute for good stocks when it comes to building rich flavors. Veggie stock is no exception and my stock tends to change a little with the seasons based on what's in. Here is what I made this weekend. Measurements are just approximates.
Carrots: 2#, peeled and course cut to large chunks or slices.
Onions, 2 ct, cut in half and sliced.
Rutabaga or Turnip, 2#, peeled and cut into large chunks
Oil, a few tablespoons
Dried Celery Leaves, Thyme, and Parsley: packed into a teabag or tied in cheesecloth
The reason for the dried celery and parsley is because I didn't have fresh celery or parsley. All I had left was what I dehydrated from the summer share. The thyme was from my garden. If you have fresh celery, also rough chop it.
Get a heavy bottomed, stainless stockpot hot. Add the oil to the hot pot and add your carrots, onions, and rutabagas. Saute over medium-high heat, tossing occasionally, until they start to brown. You want some of them to stick to the pot and get rich color. When they start to stick (just before burning), deglaze the pan with vermouth or dry white wine. Maybe a ½ cup or so. Let the wine cook off by about half.
While all of that is happening, make your tea bag of parsley, celery, and thyme. You can omit the thyme or parsley if you don't have it. Celery is fairly important.
Fill the pot with water about 3 inches above the veggies. Adjust the heat to a soft boil cook until you reduce the liquid by half. The vegetables should be very mushy now. This should take a few hours at least.
Now you have two options:
- Strain the stock through a cheesecloth in a colander. Squeeze excess moisture from the veggies. This leaves a relatively solid-free stock.
- (Non-Traditional approach but no one will ever know if you use it in the right application) Pour the whole thing in the blender and blend until fully liquefied. If you are doing this approach and using fresh celery, peel the celery to remove the stringy outer layer.
The use for the pureed version is great in soups as you have a greater yield than the strained stock.
Pizza (as seen on TV)
This past weekend I had the good fortune of joining the morning crew at Fox 8 for a cooking segment. Parker wasn't able to join so I had to come up with something fast.
Tahda! Last Sunday night our neighbors came over for a movie night. We had a few hours warning but had some errands to run, so we thought fast. I grabbed the mixer and Allyson knew what I was thinking. She quickly whipped up a pizza crust dough with the old faithful Kitchenaide recipe (below).
When we got home from the good ol' Home Desperate (if you have also restored an old home, you know what I mean), I started tearing about the refrigerated to see what I could put on it. Here is what I found:
- Cooked acorn squash flesh
- Flat Rock and Gouda Cheeses
- Onions and Garlic
- Leftover chicken drumsticks (from a roast chicken dinner earlier in the week)
Allyson made a sad face and I had to make a plan. Out came the saucepan and I started a roux. I ended up making a winter squash sauce, quick braising some greens, and picking the chicken from the bone. We instantly had a winter squash pizza with caramelized onions, braised greens, sliced apples, chicken, and cheese.
To make the crust:
¼ oz active dry yeast (1 package)
1 cup warm water (approx)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sunflower oil
2.5 to 3.5 cups flour (we used golden white hard red winter wheat flour)
Run the Kitchen-Aid mixing bowl under warm water. Pour out the water, add your yeast, and add the 1 cup of warm water. Dissolve the yeast in it. Mix 2.5 cups of flour and salt together. Add that and the oil to the bowl. Mix at Speed 2 (no faster) with the dough hook in. Gradually add the remaining flour (and maybe a tad more if necessary) until it pulls away from the side of the bowl and forms a ball.
Oil two bowls. Divide the dough in half and place in the bowls. Allow to raise for about 2 hours.
To make the sauce:
First, roast your butternut or acorn squash. You can also use sweet potatoes. When fully cooked, allow to cool and scoop the flesh out. Add to your blender with a little bit of water to puree fully.
In a saucepan, melt a few tablespoons of butter. When the butter starts to bubble, add flour (about a ¼ cup). Whisk together until it starts to clump up and stick. Add a little more flour if necessary. I never measure this part so it really is a matter of knowing when you have a thick roux.
Add about ½ cup milk and whisk. It will thicken up quickly. Add a little more until you have a sauce of yogurt consistency. Add 1 cup squash puree and mix together. Don't boil it up yet. Add more milk if it is too thick.
To make greens:
If you have been with Fresh Fork more than a month, you probably know I love braised greens. Here's a quick and simple way.
First, you remembered to wash your greens and remove the stems from the kale when you brought the kale home. This trick just saved you 20 minutes while you are struggling to get dinner ready.
Chop an onion. In a hot, heavy bottomed pan add a couple tablespoons of oil. Add the onions and sauté quickly. If you have crushed red pepper flakes, add those now too or sprinkle the onions with chili powder.
Add the clean greens, torn into pieces about 1 to 2 inches in size. Toss around to coat in oil. The greens should be a little wet from washing. If not, add a few tablespoons of water or apple cider. Cover and start to cook them over medium to medium high heat.
While the greens are going, peel and mince some garlic. Add that on top, splash the greens with a tablespoon or two of vinegar, and a tablespoon or two of honey. Toss the greens with tongs and cook them down more. I usually uncover the greens at this time and cook most of the moisture off. This may take 15 minutes or so.
Start your oven hot (450 to 500) and preheat a pizza stone or ceramic floor tiles in the oven. Roll the dough out on a floured countertop. Sprinkle the pizza stone/tiles with cornmeal and add the crust to it. Prick it with a knife or fork and allow it to setup some. Check after about 5 minutes to see if it is ready for toppings (depending on how thick you roll it).
Spread on the sauce and add onions and apples on top. Cook to warm up the sauce. Maybe 5 minutes. Add the cooked chicken and braised greens. Cook until crust is crunchy and browning on the bottom. Remove from the oven and transfer to a cutting board. Add the cheese to the hot pizza. It will melt fast enough.