Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wood Stove Cooking

Every  morning I start a fire in our woodstove, we heat the home, cook meals, dry boots, shoes, socks, and towels near the heat.  We enjoy our morning tea and coffee around the fire, and have our conversation and activities indoors around our stove.  It is fussed over continuously, adding wood, adjusting the damper, and controls of air flow that are learned to perfection over years of daily use.  We know the types of wood that produce the most btu's, the longer and hotter burning woods are known, as well as the best wood (dry cedar) around here for starting fires.  We gather wood all throughout the year, and go through about 10 cords per year, between 2 fireplaces.  I should say my husband gathers wood all year, this is something he actually does when he wants to relax.   He enjoys nothing more than dressing warmly and going into our forest with his chainsaw and being a woodsman. 

The smells of cooking over fire are primitive, as is the smell of baking bread.  I feel warm and cozy with onions, carrots, celery and soup stock busily cooking away...just blissful!

Recipe for Turkey Stock and Soup
allow 4-8 hours for stock to simmer, and another 1 hour for soup to simmer.  Prep time is quick and easy for both procedures.  The following is how I go about it.

On the stove I have started the turkey stock cooking.  This one happens to be the carcass and bones from our 20 lb turkey we had for Thanksgiving, I have removed as much turkey meat and will save for sandwiches, 2 different soups I will be making, and  refrigerate the rest until needed. 

Next cover the bones and carcass with water, and put on woodstove.  I will add about 3 carrots, 3 celery, 1 small onion, or 1/2 a big one.  Sometimes I saute these in the fat from the turkey, that I save to use.  This should simmer on the wood stove for 4-8 hours, ideal for the top of the woodstove to conserve all that energy. I'll  add water if needed, usually around 3 cups or so.

Carrots, Onions and Celery are always the base vegetable I use.

I have the same procedure I do almost every week and have for years.  On Sunday or Monday night I will make 1 or 2 chickens, we will have a delicious dinner with mashed potatoes or rice, vegetables and salad.  I make this poultry stretch for many meals by always making a stock.  After cooking for hours, I will strain out the stock through a colander, and will press all the juices out.  Put the strained liquid stock back on the woodstove, add 3 more chopped carrots, 3 celery, and 1 onion.  Saute the vegetable in small amount of turkey fat , do this also on the woodstove, watch so none of the vegetable turn brown. 

Add the sauted vegetable to the  stock, notice you will have double the vegetable nutrion, in addition to the calcium from the bones, and the protein.  I cook in a separate pan the grains, lentil, buckwheat, rice, and barley about a 1/3-1/2 cup each, double the water.  You can do any kind of soup with the stock however, with  many combinations.  Depending on whats ripe in the garden I will ad zuccini, broccoli, cabbage, leeks, parsnips, salsify potatoes pumpkin.  you get the picture whatever you have, and want to combine.  I also usually  add a can of stewed tomomatoes, and a can of red kidney beans.
This soup is loved by all in our family, we add braggs and cayenne to taste just before we eat.   the younger kids also love chicken noodle with homemade noodles.

As a final bonus you get dog and cat food from the strained stock.

Remove all bones from the strained stock (this is messy and takes some time), you will then have a very healthy dog and cat food, that will be one of their favorites.   Usually I dry the bones under the woodstove, and save them for when I have enough, come spring I grind and spread bone meal in special areas of the garden.

Stretching the budget and creating health!  one of the ultimate goals of mine as a cook.

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