Today a little bit different than usual, but as everyone knows the circumstances are also different. COVID-19 is on the attack and all indications are that it will keep us locked up a little bit longer. Therefore, I decided to share with you my thoughts and ideas on how to most effectively use what you have in refrigerators or freezers. Everything in the spirit of the hunting approach to always use as much as possible from the game. I will also write why it is not worth buying pasta!
While writing this text I think about the generation of our grandmothers, who were able to prepare not only simple but also tasty dishes with only a few simple ingredients. In former kitchens, food was not wasted, vegetables, fruit and meat were respected. Home supplies were made because there were no supermarkets. Vegetables and fruits were cooked, compotes and salads were prepared to preserve the taste and aroma of summer flower beds and orchards for a long time. To this day, I remember the taste of compote made of strawberries, cherries, pears or apples whose jars filled the pantry. In each village, there were several hosts who had beehives and with access to honey.
Animals were respected! I’m not talking about the pseudo respect that pseudo-ecologists are trying to show us, cuddling to dead animals, I am talking about the respect that was manifested in the use of virtually every edible part of the animal. Everyone understood how much time and work it cost to grow or hunt a piece of meat while holding it in hand. The rabbits that hung on the balconies duri9ng the winter were hung so that the meat becomes brittle and no one was surprised. Nothing could be wasted because it was understood that eating it in its entirety was an expression of respect. Fortunately, this approach is still visible in some houses, where respect for animals is passed down from generation to generation mostly by agriculture or hunting.
In virtually every home pantry there were basic products such as porridge, flour and vegetables. Noone made pasta reserves. Stocks of flour were made from which such pasta could be prepared in any shape and form. Classic sliced pasta is nothing more than a combination of 100g flour and 1 egg. Even without any machines, with a combination of two ingredients, a rolling pin, and a board, we are able to get a dough from which you can prepare the best (because homemade) pasta. Cutting thickness as desired. Cook it for 3-4 minutes in boiling water (depending on thickness). You can literally add a drip of oil and of course a pinch of salt. You can prepare poured noodles from the same ingredients as above. A tablespoon of 1.5 tablespoons of flour combined with one egg will give us poured noodles. Add a pinch of salt, mix with a fork and we can pour the whole on broth or any other soup and even milk.
Eggs were also valuable! It is enough to add eggs and water to the flour and milk, and we will get pancakes. A glass of milk, a glass of water, one and a half cups of flour and two eggs – this is my mother’s recipe for classic pancakes which I use in my home today. Sweet, with salty fillings or whatever we can only imagine. Anyway, I will come back to the pancakes in a moment, because I would like to mention a few words about our national pride – broth! I have already written about it both in the context of the old times cooking and in the context of the hunt for pidgeons. Recently, after closing the hunting season, pheasant broth appeared in my kitchen. All you need is meat, vegetables and spices. Parsley, carrots, onions, celery, leek, and time. Simple and tasty. This is how the broth is made, which is not only a great soup in itself but also a base for other soups or sauces. You can reduce it, or even easily freeze it.
However, broth is not only the soup itself. Also, broth meat has an amazing amount of reuse. It can be used to make cutlets, use as a dumpling stuffing, ground into a sandwich paste, make a pate, or use as a base for meat jelly. One broth, and so many uses. Anyway, that’s not all, because we can also make croquettes from the same meat. Pancakes and broth meat mentioned earlier and we have another dish! And what about vegetables that are left from the broth? They are very underestimated and often many people have no idea what makes them all fall into the bin. However, when the next day we are preparing tomato soup based on broth, it is enough to add our vegetables to the broth again – celery, carrots and parsley, and a jar of home-made tomato puree (possibly a can of tomatoes). Then mix the whole and the ordinary tomato will turn into a delicious and really rich cream! Unfortunately, humanity has still not found a tasty use for onions and leeks from which only the fibers remain after cooking. If you know any good use let me know.
Bones were also appreciated! During a farm pig slaughter or when hunters obtain animals, we have access not only to meat but also to bones! There are always a lot of them after splitting. We can use them in two ways – pack and freeze separately so that you can have access to a great soup base later! Cucumber soup on wild boar bones, tomato soup on deer bones or spring vegetable soup. Again the same ingredients and lots of new possibilities! If we prepare smoked meats, we can also smoke not only the ribs but also bones. They are perfect for peas soup, cabbage soup or beans. Others cook all bones together to separate the meat from them, which will turn into a delicious pate! What about the stock after cooking bones? A decoction that will be perfect for the traditional Polish krupnik! Its outpouring should be punishable by law!
I believe that as a society we will be able to learn to respect what the earth gives us again, coming back to our roots. Utilizing all that nature gives us, from our local ingredients, is something that should reappear in our kitchens and homes. Let’s buy locally, support our local farms and farmers, take care of animals and hunt. Let’s appreciate venison, use the whole food as our grandparents and great-grandparents used to do. However, if you want to watch how my wife applies these rules while cooking for our entire family, take a look at my profile – Jedz, jedz, dokroję.