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Jocelyn Campbell
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early retirement extreme started a wiki page on batch cooking.

We have two threads here that I consider batch cooking:
--caramelized onions
--poly-dough (a large batch of dough that keeps until you cook it).

What else do you like to batch cook?

One kind of batch cooking is good ol' leftovers - either from the fridge or freezer. My most common leftover dishes in the fall and winter are:
  • chili
  • soup
  • curry

  • Then there is the batch cooking where you make extra of a portion of a dish to use later. For example:
  • roasting squash - first night: squash side dish, another night: squash soup
  • roasting chicken - first night: roast chicken, another night: chicken casserole, another night: chicken soup

  • What's your favorite leftovers? What's your favorite extra food re-invention combinations?

     
    Jocelyn Campbell
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    Frozen meals.

    Yes, canning or drying is smarter in so many ways, but unfortunately, my city teen has developed a love for those over-packaged, overly processed, frozen meals.

    I caved and began buying him my version of acceptable frozen meals for his after school and weekend snacks--the kinds made from organic whole foods ingredients. Have you priced these dang things lately? Ugh. 

    Then, one weekend I had far too much meat and beans even for my huge pot of chili, so I made two huge pans of enchiladas and froze them in the little store-bought meal sizes (4 in each container). Even with organic beef and other organic ingredients, when I calculated it out, they were FAR cheaper! And he liked them, too!

    I plan to do more of this, and gradually re-train him to eat more home-cooked foods. Maybe we'll even advance to him actually eating regular leftovers out of the fridge. 

    What are your ideas for batch frozen meals or getting reluctant family members to eat leftovers?

     
    Ken Peavey
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    I batch cook chicken.  Thighs and drumsticks are available in 10# bags for $4-$6.  I remove the skin, boil the meat, bones and all.  When cool, I remove the bones and cartilage.  The meat along with stock goes into canning jars.  Quarts are more efficient, but living alone I have found that pints work better for me.  A 10# sack will give me about 7 pounds of meat, be it in 4 quarts or 8 pints.  Grease is skimmed off the top of the stock, reserved for cooking.  The remaining stock is boiled down to make a tasty broth, which is also processed in canning jars for later use.  I'll get a couple of quarts at least.  The skins will be rendered for cooking grease or baked in the oven for a crispy meal.

    A 70% meat yield brings the cost of a pint of canned chicken in at less than a buck a jar, including lid and energy.  For comparison, a 5 ounce can of tuna will easily run you 79¢.  A pint jar will contain about 12 ounces of meat in a pint, a pound and a half in a quart.  The jars of stock are cheap as dirt.  All I need is a lid for a jar, makes the best gravy you ever had. 

    This is ready to eat meat in a jar.  I use a large stock pot to process 2 bags, 20#, per batch.  I get 16 pints of meat with broth, about 4 quarts of stock, a couple of pounds of skins which I render or freeze for later use.  Rendering will give me about a cup and a half of cooking grease.  Put that in your cast iron skillet the next time you scramble up some eggs.

    When cool, scraps are thrown down for the hens (DONT TELL THEM ANYTHING!).  They'll pick it clean, leaving only the bones.  When dried, the bones are crushed between concrete blocks and go into the compost heap.  Nothing goes to waste.

    USES
    -Drain the stock (reserve for other use), whip up some chicken salad.  Makes a moist and flavorful sandwich.
    -Add rice, boil it up.  Down south they call this dish 'Chicken and Rice.'
    -Add noodles, diced vegetables, its soup in no time.
    -Instead of soup, make a casserole.
    -Chicken stock is used for gravy, rice pilaf, sauce base, soup, stew.

     
    Jocelyn Campbell
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    Nice examples, Ken! Gotta get myself canning...
     
    Moni Dew
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    Location: Broken Arrow OK USA
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    I also batch cook, on Sunday afternoons.

    Generally, I will cook up (fall/winter - summer menus include more fresh veggies from my garden)

    a couple of pounds of dried beans (differing varieties)
    a large batch of brown rice (and possibly other whole grains)
    several quarts of vegetable stock and possibly a soup (or two)
    roast, blanch, or otherwise prepare several different kinds of vegetables, salads, and side dishes. 

    Thus meals can be put together quickly on weeknights that are thrifty and healthy. 
     
    John Polk
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    Some Sundays, I'll do a big stir fry, and a batch of rice.  After dinner, I mix it all together.
    Monday night, between the Evening News and the start of Monday night football, I reheat it...better than the fried rice at any Chinese joint in town.
     
    Ken Peavey
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    Boston Butt
    It's pork, not porn.  Way back in olden times, when Boston was one of the few big cities, pork processing began to get streamlined.  What became a standardized cut of pork shoulder, having been developed in Boston, was packed in a wooden case called a butt.  Hence Boston Butt.

    These are 8-12 pound cuts with a bone in the middle.  While the meat is flavorful and tender, the way the muscles come together with the bone make it difficult to slice consistent steaks.  There is also a fair amount of thick marble and an outer layer of fat.  Thrown in the oven whole it makes a fine roast.  It is a less expensive cut, easily 1/4-1/3 the price per pound of center cut pork chops.  A couple years ago these could be found on sale for 79¢/#.  Hard to beat.  This price has just about double in recent months.  A common package at a good meat market will have 2 of them packed together.  Its not hard for a package to find its way to my cart. 

    I carve them up:
    The outer layer of fat comes off so I can get a look at the meat, then cut the whole thing near the middle, following a marble line to leave the bone in one of the halves.  This will give me a boneless roast or I can continue to trim the fat and slice the boneless piece into steaks.  Since the muscle usually ends in a point near the bone, I'll cut steaks off the wide end, leaving the pointed end for a roast.  A little extra fat left on the roast wont hurt a bit-gives the garlic something to absorb.
     
    With the bone side, I remove the meat from the bone.  The bone will be used for soup or stew.  It does well in beans and pea soup, much like a ham bone.  The meat can be sliced into steaks, but the marbling is heavy.  Trimming the fat will leave small steaks.  I have no problem with slicing medallions.  Saves me the trouble of washing a steak knife at dinner time.

    During all this I'll find small pieces of meat with way too much fat.  I'll trim the fat, cut these into bite sized chunks.

    I end up with
    roast
    -bake it up, have a fine meal, slice the rest for sandwiches
    steaks
    -These weigh in at 4-6 ounces each.  I'll pack 2 or 3 in a freezer bag
    medallions
    -tiny steaks at 2-4 ounces.  I'll pack 3-4 in a bag.  These do well if I'm making a sauce for the meat, using the meat to stuff something else or if I want something akin to a burger.
    chunks
    -grab up a good fistful to fill a freezer bag.  This is for stir fry, stew, kabobs, country fried pork, rice and pasta dishes.
    Fat
    -The big fat sometimes gets chopped into chunks for later use in beans
    -all fat trimmings not saved for beans goes into the render pot to make lard.  Most of the little fat will pretty much disappear in the render.  What comes out of the render pot is chopped up if need be and offered to the chickens.  They don't get it all at once-it tends to give them runny stool.
    As with the chicken sacks, there is little waste on these.

    I'll get a dozen packages for the freezer out of a butt, suitable for a variety of meals.  I give the bags a squish to flatten them out before they go into the freezer.  This lets the meat freeze faster (spread them out), and they stack better once frozen.  Because of the thin profile, they will thaw quickly.  Figure 15 minutes in a trickle of warm water in a bowl in the sink.  Get them thawed and into a hot skillet and the juice will not have time to drain-never a dry piece of meat on my plate.

    Bite my butt is not an insult at my house.
     
    John Polk
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    Indeed, the Boston Butt (aka Boston Shoulder...from the part of the hog it comes from) is one of the most economical cuts of meat, and has many uses.

    Mexican cuisine depends on it for both Chile Verde, and Carnitas.  If you've ever had Chinese Sweet & Sour pork, you've had Boston Butt.  All of those little scraps are what make an ordinary bean or pea soup into a savory meal.
     
    Eric Thompson
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    Soup is a regular for me, and I always make a point of filling up the 6qt pressure cooker when I make some.  A regular base recipe with an onion, garlic, 1/4 cabbage, jar tomatoes, 2 cups lentils/chickpeas/beans, chicken stock, and whatever other handy items are hanging around: chicken, radish/turnip, greens, peppers, fennel, sunchokes... 

    Any leftover soup that cools goes into the freezer -- I use the restaurant style plastic containers for 8oz and 16oz portions (and all the lids match!)

    The other one we do like this regularly is dog food meat: mostly chicken and scraps with bones included and pressure cooked for 90 minutes until the chicken bones are pretty soft... and the home-processed chickens make up a lot of this with necks, feet, livers, gizzards....  we freeze these side by side with batches of carrot, broccoli, squash, and sweet potato for a month of dog food!


     
    Jocelyn Campbell
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    I'm lovin' these examples! Keep 'em coming!

    MoniDew and Ootama, you might want to edit your name before you are given a last name you don't want, due to the forums being upgraded. See the last names to be used in the please use a first name, a space, and last name thread

    I want to do more Sunday batch cooking like MoniDew and John Polk, and hope to find some pork butt/shoulder to try all of Ken's awesome suggestions. Ootama - I like your basic soup recipe, too!
     
    Eric Thompson
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    Jocelyn Campbell wrote:
    MoniDew and Ootama, you might want to edit your name before you are given a last name you don't want, due to the forums being upgraded. See the last names to be used in the please use a first name, a space, and last name thread.   



    Yaa - I just needed to be chided into finding the profile editor   ...kind of like my semi-annual Facebook update...
     
    Thelma McGowan
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    I like to make my own version of shake and bake with chicken breasts. I will cook up maybe 4-6 at a time and the first night it will be something like chicken and a side of rice or mashed potatoes. Then the left overs for lunch the next day...then the next Day I will have at least 1 chicken filet for a sandwich or to slice up on a salad.
    1 preparation and 3 meals mostly done
     
    Jocelyn Campbell
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    Eric Thompson wrote:
    Yaa - I just needed to be chided into finding the profile editor   ...kind of like my semi-annual Facebook update...



    Oh, no chiding intended! Just trying to save you from the Hatfield or McCoy naming. Nice to meet you Eric--and, you're in my neck of the woods!

    Thelma--three meals from firing up the oven just once - not only saving time, but energy, too. That's what I keep aiming for!
     
    Dave Bennett
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    I can rabbit/venison/chicken/pork/lamb/beef/vegetables.  I never buy processed foods, ever.  I worked in a cannery for a few years before moving back east from California.  "Factory" processed food?  No thanks. 

    I was wondering if pickling a couple of dozens eggs count. 

    When I slaughter rabbits/chickens it is usually 8-10 at a time.  One small hog or a lamb will fill up my tiny freezer but storing jars of food is relatively easy.  I don't have the freezer space to store all of my meat products so I began canning them about 7 or 8 months ago.  I have been canning my vegetables for decades. 

    I also use my smoker for some preserved meat.  I use a cold smoke for flavoring and then air drying meticulously de-fatted meat.  Pork loins carefully air dried will last practically forever although they do tend to get pretty "stiff" even inside a muslin bag. Air dried meats can be made palatable by steaming them if used as an entree or if you are making a sandwich just slice it really thin as you would salami.

    Many of the techniques for air drying meats I use are really old European style procedures.  Hot smoking tends to suggest refrigerating the product.  I do use a commercial "seal-a-meal" for some items that will be refrigerated or frozen, but it even works with air dried meats. 

    Hey does making beer 5 gallons at a time count as batch cooking?   At the brewery I am learning to brew on a 100 barrel scale (3000 gallons) so I am cooking grain about a ton at a time to convert the starch.  That is sort of batch cooking isn't it? 

    In my opinion batch cooking as a canning process is a great way to reduce energy needs long term.  There is much less demand for refrigeration for storage. 

    Peace.
     
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