|Duck stock... I already dread running out|
If there is one thing I've learned from watching way too many episodes of 'Chopped' it's that the sauce makes the dish, and one of the easiest ways to make a crazy-delicious sauce for quick, weeknight meals is using a good stock as a base! The flavor difference between homemade stock and store-bought stock is jaw-dropping. They're basically different foods entirely.
Since having the duck stock around, I've made incredibly simply soups and stews that we've raved over - and the secret ingredient is the duck stock. Popping open one of those jars instantly raises the flavor bar of any meal. I used up every spare jar I had at the end of the canning season to can all that duck stock, and even so I'm ALREADY worried about running out of it.
But when we were given a whole deer by a neighbor, it never occurred to me ONCE to make stock out of the venison bones. Not once. It took a friend who causally asked if I made made stock out of this, too, to make me even think about it.
One of the big reasons for the difference is the fat. Duck fat is so delicious, it's jarred and sold at fancy stores for a lot of money. Venison fat, on the other hand, is what will turn venison 'gamey' and make it taste off. When I butcher a deer, I'm fanatical about getting all the fat out.
And bone marrow (which is a very fatty substance) is one of the big things that makes stock so delicious. So my reasoning basically went deer fat = yuck, so deer marrow will also = yuck.
Well! Once I took the trouble to actually research venison stock I quickly found out that is NOT the case. I found pages and pages of people online raving about how delicious venison stock is, and urging people not to waste their precious deer bones!
Oops. Too late.
Now all I can think about is all that stock I could have made with a deer's worth of bones. I could have had stock ALL WINTER LONG, and maybe - just maybe - into the spring.
Well.......... looking on the bright side, this does give me added incentive to go out and shoot my own deer this hunting season. I wanted to before, but now that our tiny freezer is packed to the gills with bags of venison and duck, the urge to go hunting has been weakening a little. But now I have renewed inspiration for getting out there!