[Editor's note: The Distributist Review introduces "Distributist Home Ec" - a series of tips for Distributists created by our readers and contributors. Why not submit some ideas for families on a budget, recipes, home solutions, or any other "how-to" benefiting families as they work towards the Distributist life? Send us an email today.]
Start with the meat you're already eating and save the bones in a gallon-sized bag in the freezer. (I mix all my bones together—chicken, turkey, pork ribs, T-bones, what have you.) When the bag is full, dump the bones into a large pot, at least six quarts.
One onion, quartered.
Two stalks of celery.
Three or four carrots.
Six to eight cloves of garlic.
A quarter-cup of apple cider vinegar.
Fill the rest of the pot with water. If you're doing this on the stove top, turn the heat on to medium, bring the liquid to a simmer, then turn it down to low. Cover and simmer for at least twelve hours. If you're using a large Crock Pot, just turn it on low for at least twelve hours. Pour the stock out through a colander; discard the bones and vegetables. Store the stock in pint- or quart-sized containers (cottage cheese tubs work well) in the freezer. Use the stock in soups or any recipe calling for broth or stock, or cook rice in it for extra flavor—lots of extra flavor. One good use is as follows:
Instead of buying expensive, packaged soup mixes, buy one bag each of lentils, split peas, and pearled barley. Mix them together and store in an airtight container. For a quick soup, add one cup of this soup mix to five cups of liquid (any combination of stock and water). Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
While the above is simmering, chop and sauté in oil or butter (or saved bacon grease—delicious!) one onion, two carrots, and two cloves of garlic. When those are soft, add them to the simmering soup. Season with one tablespoon oregano, one teaspoon rosemary, basil, or herbes de provence, and two tablespoons soy sauce. Taste frequently and adjust seasoning to taste. Simmer until the dry beans and barley are soft. Very tasty with a squeeze of lemon juice or a dollop of sour cream. And delicious with homemade bread. Speaking of which:
Butter two loaf pans. In the microwave, warm two cups of milk and two tablespoons butter. Measure into a mixing bowl one-and-a-half tablespoons rapid-rise (or bread machine) yeast, two tablespoons sugar, and two teaspoons salt. Add the warmed milk and melted butter. Let stand five minutes. Stir in five cups of flour. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead in enough flour to make a non-sticky, springy dough. Shape into a ball. Cover and let rest twenty minutes. Cut in half and shape the halves into loaves; put them in the loaf pans to rise until doubled. To create a warm place to rise, put them in the oven with a bowl of hot water on the rack below them. Bake at 375 degrees for 50-60 minutes, until done. (I call this “napping bread,” because with the rapid rise yeast I can whip this up and clean up afterwards before the baby wakes up from his nap.)
Note: I found my rapid-rise yeast on sale at a holiday baking display, so now is a good time to look for it. I estimate that the cost of the bread is about a dollar per loaf. I bake two loves at a time and freeze one. I have not estimated the cost of the soup, but I know I save money having the stock on hand for all kinds of recipes, and the soup mix cooks up rather quickly. I pay about a dollar per bag for the dry ingredients, so that three dollars for three pounds of soup mix, instead of the four dollars I used to pay for one pound pre-packaged.