Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Who You Callin' a Shrimp?!? (or, Taking Stock)

Today HRH was at home with me, so I juggled too many various and sundry activities (all three computer screens were going at the same time for a while), but one project that I knew that I HAD to complete was making shrimp stock.
I kept the shells from Sunday's dinner just for this purpose, but you know what happens when any seafood product sits for too long - yuck!  I thawed out some frozen shells I had collected the past few times we had shrimp, too, so I had a good pile of shells with which to make a lovely starter for crab bisque or the ubiquitous chowdah!
While a chicken or turkey stock recipe generally calls for adding veggies into the water, I kept this one simple - shells and a wee bit of Tony Cachere's.  That's it.  I wanted the flavor to be really of the sea (or should I say, of the farm where these shrimp were raised?).
I was a little nervous - since I had HRH with me all by my lonesome AND I had to work (darn you, Power  Ball!), I wasn't able to monitor the kitchen every second, so if Zooey the Devil Dog left my sight, I worried that she was getting her doggie nose into that hot pot.  But she behaved herself for the most part, and after a few hours, I had a gorgeous gold stock of which any home cook should be proud.  I let it cool, strained out the shells, and placed into two freezer bags for later use
The thing I liked about this project is that once I'm through, I have used everything but the bag the shrimp came in.  This really is a benefit to sustainability.  The meat was, of course, eaten (there are a few that made it into the stock that shall be given to Zooey and Holden as a treat this evening).  The shells were used, but they can also be thrown into the compost - these are a great source of calcium (for the ground and for you, so if you ever eat a fried shrimp, pop the whole thing into your mouth!).  If I can just find a place that will wrap shrimp solely in paper, I will be set, as I can compost the paper, too, and I'll have a delicious, homemade meal that leaves literally no waste.  Win-win!

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