Or…what do you do when you walk into the butcher shop and staring back at you is a great deal on pork neck bones? My chef/neighbour has been making pork broth for Asian noodle soups for a while now and God knows, who doesn’t love noodle soup?
We buy some, that turns out to be 8 pounds. OK…I’ll divide them up and freeze for now. On not a very nice day, weather wise, I decide it’s time to make pork broth. Oh wait, I have found some chicken backs hiding in the freezer; great pork/chicken broth! Threw in some star anise, cinnamon stick, onion, ginger, soy sauce and other Asian flavouring bits, brought the lot to a boil and let simmer for a few hours. My chef/friend told me that if I blanched the bones in boiling water first, I would end up with a clear stock with no need to skim at the beginning, so I did that too; let the lot perk away with the lid off. Woo hoo, pork broth for noodle soup!
Hmm…what to do with the other 4 pounds that are still in the freezer? I know; I’ll make pork neck ragu for pasta. I chopped up some onions and garlic, got out the chili flakes, tomatoes and so on; added the bones and let it simmer away for a few hours, then boiled up a tubular pasta shape and there’s another dinner and a couple of lunches to boot and enough sauce remains for another dinner!
It doesn’t end there…I pulled off all the meat from the neck bones and stirred half into the ragu the first night and froze the remainder. At this point, you are probably thinking I am pazzo (crazy) but wait…a month later I am looking at the frozen neck bone meat and thinking “I should cook some faro” so why not make a farro and pork neck meat ragu for dinner? It was delicious. Things get better; there is at least 1 cup if not more of the farro ragu left, now what? I stashed the leftovers in the fridge for a couple of days, then it came to me, I’ll make soup. So once again to the freezer in search of bits and pieces to make soup! I used some of my homemade rendered pork fat to sauté the onions, carrots and celery; added beef broth and added some frozen roasted tomatoes from last summer. It was really good, my husband had the leftovers for his lunch the next day!
There’s still 12 cups of pork broth in the freezer…time for more Asian noodle soup. I just happen to have a small amount of Malayasian curried beef in the freezer and some rice noodles in the cupboard. I can feel it now, get me some bean sprouts, cilantro, thinly slice some raw onions, slice up some red chilies, add soaked rice noodles and here’s lunch.
By the way, we call my made up soups “Scrap Soups” because they are the result of foraging in the freezer. My parents would be proud!