Just thought I’d share a tip I heard a while ago, and a resultant lightbulb moment.
When chopping vegetables, save the offcuts and peelings in a plastic bag in the freezer for future stock-making. It saves you using fresh new veg just for boiling, and reduces the amount of chopping you have to do. Sure, the compost heap suffers a bit, but as we can’t get into ours anyway I’m willing to take that hit.
Just the other day I used my bag of frozen offcuts and a chicken carcass to make some awesome stock. Now this was good, and I felt thrifty enough, until I suddenly thought hey, I have stock simmering, why not make risotto the way they always tell you to.
I have never seen a recipe suggesting this before. Recipes for risotto often say ‘have a pot of stock simmering’ but no recipe for stock ever says ‘Making stock? Why not use some of it as it’s simmering to make risotto for that evening’s dinner.’ Outrageous.
For each cup of stock I removed, I added one of water back in. Because it was still simmering, it continued to take up flavour from the kitchenkill and so I still had enough left for an entire ice-cube-bag of stock for future use. Not only that, but because the carcass was from a whole chicken I’d jointed myself, there was loads of meat left on it to shred back into the risotto. In fact, there was not a single item of non-waste-food used – the bacon was on its last legs and even the rice was a bag of pudding rice that had been sitting in the back of a cupboard for a year and given one last chance to prove itself useful.
I can’t say I had as much fun the other day, having cold polenta and chilli for breakfast. But the layer of thrifty smugness (and bacon) definitely made it and my day more palatable.