Originally, I wrote this just after the holidays, when folks were wondering how they could use left-over bird or fowl carcasses. This particular post still gets lots of hits, even in the heat of summer.
While thinking about this, I remembered another way to cook — with even more benefit to diners! I added it to the end of this article!
What’s So Great About a Fowl Carcass?
There are three basic reasons I would boil a poultry carcass:
1) The comparison between a quart of chicken/fowl stock versus a quart of water and bouillon versus purchased chicken/fowl stock is non-existent. They aren’t even in the same zip code! Stock that has been simmered has so much more flavor and nutrients!
2) In these tough economic times, it doesn’t make sense to toss the carcass without deriving its goodness for your table.
3) Scientists have proved that the “old wive’s tale” of giving chicken soup to an invalid is NOT an old wive’s tale.
There is scientific proof that the nutrients leached from the carcass during cooking are needed by the body to help it recover – from whatever ails them! The nutrients derived in this way are easier for the elderly to assimilate into their bodies.
All This Sounds Like a Lot of Trouble
Put the fowl carcass into a slow cooker (you may need to snap the bones, to fit it into the cooker), add 3 or 4 cups water, add some onion, 1 tsp. sea salt, garlic (Got celery and carrots? Add them), and turn it on (low or high) as you go to bed.
How much trouble is that? In the morning, take the liner out of the cooker, let it cool and put it into the refrigerator (with the lid on) just before you leave.
In the evening, you can skim off the fat (or not, your choice) and pour the juice (strain out the veggies and carcass – discard them) into containers and freeze. If there are tidbits of the meat left from the bones, I add it to the broth.
Soup, stew, gravy — whatever you make from this stock will be 100% more valuable to your body than the purchased, the bullion or the plain water.
I can think of dozens of uses for this stock. Save it for colds season and make soup. Use it as a base for black bean soup (or any other dried beans/legumes).
Use it as the base for a chicken stew (toss into a slow cooker: onions, carrots, potatoes, garlic, celery, leftover chicken, whatever you have). Let it cook for 6 to 8 hours, adjust seasonings, enjoy!
Our forefathers and fore mothers never wasted anything. Creating their own fish or chicken or beef stock was one of the ways they stayed healthy.
BTW, I always add a teaspoon of sea salt to any stock I’m creating from a carcass. Salt helps leach more nutrients out of the bones.
Do I use quail or doves for this? No, they are too small.
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Cooking a Carcass #2
Not everyone has a slow cooker/crock pot. If you have a large cast iron pot (with lid), such as a “dutch oven,” this is a great way to use it.
Use the same recipe as above, except cover the carcass with water. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for 1 or 2 hours. Then use the broth as indicated above.
During cooking, liquids slowly leach iron from the cast iron into the broth! This is a great way to add iron to the diet. In fact, acidic foods leach iron faster (think: tomatoes, vinegar, etc.).
Iron is critical to the manufacture of red blood cells. Up to 30% of Americans do not get enough iron. This is a safe, cheap way to add to your family’s health!
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