10 December 2011

Something occurred to me today: YYS on CrockPots

Today I have 2 stocks on the stove - one chicken from last night's Lemon/Lime/anise chicken (it smells awesome!) and now beef.  I went to an ethnic market (Mexican) to get beef bones for the stock.  So many groceries no longer have a butcher on site.  this place does, and they also have limes 10/$1 right now. It's a crime really.  So I asked the guy in the back if they had any trimmings (no, they throw them away) and he looked at me like I had lost my mind.  "I only put out what my customers buy." Well, the chicken and the egg might suggest differently.  Like, perhaps your customers would by beef fat for the birds (suet), or beef trimmings for stock, or whatever.  So he brought me out to the case and showed me what I had.  Then he asked me what I was doing with them - I told him - roasting them in a hot oven with a little salt and pepper then turning them into a stock, which will be used for tonight's dinner, and the balance frozen, for use later on (and to meet the other stocks in the freezer: lobster, chicken, and vegee at the moment).  I made sure I got 2 marrow bones, one for each son, so they don't argue over it!

He looked at me, astonished, and I told him, this is what we do.  He then remembered me at the same market buying up the pork bellies (to make bacon).  I asked him if he cooks at home, he doesn't, he works a lot, is divorced, and has a 6 yo and a 1yo he is caring for. He uses the crock pot a lot.  His eyes about popped out of his head, and you could see him beginning to salivate when I suggested to him that the next time he uses his crock pot at home, he caramelize the onions, and brown the meat - and add some fond and flavor - before putting them in the crock pot.  See, crock pots don't actually add any flavor.  They don't do what meat wants done to it - or vegetables, for that matter.

So I came home with my beef bits, salted, peppered, rested, roasted, then plopped them in a hot pot with some bay, rosemary already blossomed, then seared off the bones - added a sweet onion 1/8th cut, 4 carrots, a head of celery, and about a teaspoon of black peppercorns.  My nose is conflicted.  I feel like a dog with its nose out the window.  It smells really good in my kitchen right now.  

Next time you cook using a crock pot, try this -- sautee or roast whatever protein you are planning to use -- snatch up all those brown bits from the pan.  Incorporate them into the liquid you are using to cook.  Then comment here.  I'd love to hear how it works out for you.  I bet you'll never put raw meat in your crock pot again!  

Crockpot does not add any flavor. Your success depends on you putting the flavor into the pot!

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