THE ODD BITS REALLY AREN’T THAT ODD

Bones, hocks, necks, gizzards, feet, hearts, livers, fat…. Many don’t utilize these bits but are they really that odd?  Before we began raising our own meat I didn’t cook with a lot of these things and it wasn’t because I didn’t want to it was mostly because I wasn’t aware of  where I could buy them from a responsibly raised source.

Now that we raise our own animals we have all of these things I thought I’d have to get really creative in utilizing all of these odd bits.  What I’ve come to realize though is that I want to use them and they’ve become part of my normal cooking routine instead of something we choke down once a month because its good for us.

Scroll to the bottom of this page for information on what “odd bits” we currently have in stock.

Bones

I use these the most.  I love soup and stews and a good bone broth adds flavor to many other dishes you wouldn’t normally consider it for.  I’m making pulled pork today and have my pork roasts slow cooking in bone broth from a chicken we enjoyed for dinner last week that I saved the bones from and then boiled overnight with some chicken necks.  So many uses for broth made with bones from chicken, duck, pork and beef… you can drink it, put it in risotto, soups, gravy, cauliflower rice, mashed potatoes, and for braising meat on the smoker or grill just to name a few.

Pork Hocks

A pork hock is the area of leg directly below the ham or shoulder of a pig.  The hock contains leg bones which make excellent bone broth and also a good amount of meat around it.  I like to roast the hocks first and then boil them overnight until the meat falls off the bone.  You can find a recipe HERE for a soup I made over the weekend using pork hocks.  A ham hock is a pork hock that has been cured and smoked like ham but is a great, less expensive, option for recipes that would normally include a bone in ham.

Chicken Necks

These have become my favorite addition to bone broth.  I add them in with chicken or pork bones and because they contain a lot of collagen and gelatin they make a very thick, rich stock.  CLICK HERE for an easy chicken stock recipe using necks.

Gizzards

I have to admit that I’m not a huge fan of gizzards.  Some people love them though. CLICK HERE for a recipe I’ve used before that went over really well. Gizzard are rich in protein as well as many vitamins and minerals.

Feet

Next to chicken necks, feet are my favorite add in to broth.  Want a thick gelatinous and delicious broth?  Get some chicken or pig feet (also known as pork trotters).  They’re amazing.  CLICK HEREfor a trotter stew recipe.

Hearts

We have our pork and beef hearts mixed in with our ground meat.  The heart is rich in folate, iron, zinc, and selenium but I don’t really want to cook it so this has been the easiest way for us to capture those nutrients.  Chicken and duck hearts are another story though.  Wrap those puppies in bacon and throw them on the grill.  Our kids go nuts for them.

Livers

“So what makes liver so wonderful? Quite simply, it contains more nutrients, gram for gram, than any other food.”  This article from the Weston A Price Foundation explains liver better than I can.

Fat

If you know me, you know that I love lard.  I use it daily for cooking, baking, frying and I even wash my hair with lard soap.  Stay tuned for our upcoming “Lardy Party” where I’ll be demonstrating how to render lard yourself.  This site does a great job of explaining why you need lard in your life.

Interested in purchasing some of the items mentioned above?  Here’s what we currently have in stock:

Pork Bones $4 per pound

Hocks $4 per pound

Chicken Necks $10 per 2 pound bag

Gizzards $4 per pound

Pork Trotters (feet) $3 each

Beef Liver $6 per pound

Lard – Currently out of stock but we’ll have more soon!

Interested in an assortment?  Check out this Bone Broth Bundle for $50:

REAL RAMEN WITH BONE BROTH & SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS

Making bone broth takes time but doesn’t have to be time consuming.  I used to think I needed to watch it the whole time it was cooking but I’ve since realized it can pretty much be left alone.  I’ll often throw a 10 qt pot full of bones, hocks or necks with whatever herbs I have in the garden on the stove in the morning and pretty much forget about it until my house starts to smell amazing which usually means its close to being done.

I stopped at the Clear Lake Farmers Market on Saturday morning and grabbed a few bunches of fresh green onions among other things.  I had purchased shiitake mushrooms from a local producer here in Clear Lake (email me for their contact information if you’d like it) and was looking for more ways to use them.  I love real ramen – not the cheap stuff at the grocery store with a dry seasoning mix – and decided to make it myself (recipe below).

I decided to use pork hocks for the broth in this batch but pork or chicken bones would also work.  The added benefit of hocks is that they’re actually pretty meaty so you get a really nice bone broth and a good amount of meat to serve with your soup.  If you prefer a thicker stock adding a pigs foot or a handful of chicken necks will give you a wonderfully thick, gelatinous broth.  Click Here for a good read on all of the uses for pigs feet.

The recipe calls for 5 quarts of water but I chose to make a double batch and ended up with a full meal for our family plus I was able to jar and pressure can an additional 4 quarts for use later.  Extra broth could also be frozen if canning isn’t your thing.

Here’s the recipe – I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!  Need hocks or bones for your stock?  Contact us to purchase some!

REAL RAMEN WITH BONE BROTH & SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS

FARM LIFE (OFFICIALLY)

We’ve owned our farm since 2015 but have just recently finished building our house and are now living on the farm.  Does that officially make us farmers?

We drove back and forth from our house in town to do chores before we lived out here and its been really nice to wake up a wander outside to check the animals in my PJ’s. Our kids realized after waking up for the first time in their new bedrooms that they have an amazing view of the sunrise.  If you’re sitting on our front porch (which I’m doing right now) you can also watch the sun set.  We’ve never had a view before and we’re really enjoying it.

What else is new…. 4 litters of piglets have been born on our farm this year and we will be restocking our freezers in October, November & December.  For purchasing options CLICK HERE.  Because we had our hands full with moving, landscaping and such we only raised 1 batch of broiler chickens but we will be offering those as part of meat bundles.  If you’d like to stay up to date on current offerings please join our email list.  We decided to add quail, ducks and geese to our poultry population and are really enjoying  watching them grow.

The girls and I decided to make lard soap this summer and have been really impressed with the results.  Will write more about soap making soon!