Real, Creative Eats

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Category Archives: Lunch

Sloppy Joes with Garlic Scape Pesto

One of my favorite childhood meals has to be sloppy joes.  A flavorful rich meaty sauce over grilled bread topped with cheese.  My families sloppy joes were made with a homemade meat sauce which is the key.  You cannot get the flavor of a true rich meat sauce out of a can and as with most canned goods the sodium levels are through the roof.

A good meat sauce takes time but you can make it in a large batch and it freezes beautifully.  For my sloppy joes I use a lean or extra lean ground beef.  You can mix in ground pork, veal or chicken as well but for simplicity I stick with beef.

I use grass fed beef from a local supplier (Getaway Farms).  You cannot get this kind of flavor in grain fed beef and nutritionally it is far superior.  I also know if it is fresh or frozen and can handle it appropriately.  It comes from one or at most two cows which makes it more controlled from a food safety standpoint.  My butcher and farmer can tell me the exact cut or cuts that went into it so I know what I am eating.  With this beef I never get that liver/organ meat taste that I experience from some factory food ground beef.

Unlike a burger which benefits from a higher fat content to add flavor and moisture in a meat sauce you would just strain off the fat so you might as well go lean.  Also extra lean ground beef benefits from the long slow simmer we will do a the end of this process to meld flavors.  We will also use celery, carrots and onions in this sauce and caramelization to build a deep rich flavor.  This sauce is a favorite of mine and it makes the perfect sloppy joe.

To bring this dish up a notch I replace the burger bun with some panini pressed french bread and add in some of the garlic scape pesto from my last post.  I also replace the traditional cheese slice with some fresh cheese curd.  It is still sloppy and super flavourful.

Meat Sauce


1.5 tbsp grape seed oil

2 pounds of fresh or thawed extra lean ground beef (allow to sit at room temp for 1 hour before using)

1 large or 2 medium onions (small dice)

3 large or 6 small carrots (small dice)

3 stalks of celery (small dice)

3 cloves of garlic (chopped)

1 tbsp tomato paste

2 tsp smoked paprika

1/3 cup bourbon or rye

1.5 tbsp worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup whole milk

1/2 tsp fresh grated nutmeg

2 cups red wine tomato sauce (prior blog post)

salt and pepper

In a large pot or dutch oven heat up 1.5 tbsp of grape seed oil over medium high to high heat, I tend to do mine on MAX.  I use grape seed oil here because of it’s high smoke point. My dad used to tease my grandmother about there being other settings on the stove then Max, now I understand why she cooked with high heat… flavor.  We have warmed the beef a bit so we don’t cool the oil off, we want to caramelize the beef to build flavor adding cold beef to hot oil will give you boiled beef.  Break the beef up and add it into the oil, sprinkle in a tsp of salt to help draw out moisture. Stir the beef with a wooden spoon often, don’t leave it sitting on high heat while you do something else, it will burn.  Keep stirring and breaking up the beef until it is well browned.  Brown is flavor.  We will end up with brown bits on the bottom of the pot, we will get that later too.

When the beef is browned, remove the beef to a plate and set aside.  If there is not enough oil to cook the veggies add a tsp more and reduce the heat to medium high.  We have find diced the veggies because we want good caramelization and when we simmer it the veggies will almost dissolve into the sauce adding amazing flavor. Add the onion, carrots and celery into the hot oil, add in another 1/2 tsp of salt which will flavor and draw water out of the veggies allowing for better caramelization.  Stir the veggies until they start to brown, then add in the garlic.  Continue to cook until everything is browned.  Be careful not to burn any components here.

When everything is well browned add the tomato paste, and paprika and cook until you see the oils separate, tomato paste is always better when you fry it off a bit.  Now we go after the brown bits on the pan which are full of flavor.  Deglaze the pan with the bourbon and worcestershire sauce.  Then add in the beef, stir well to combine and add in the milk and nutmeg and finally the tomato sauce.  Now reduce the heat to low and maintain a low simmer.  Cover and let simmer for a good 2 to 3 hours.  Stir every half hour or so adding in a little water if it starts to get too thick.  This will make the meat super tender and the flavors will meld beautifully.  When it has finished simmering add salt and pepper to taste.

This sauce is amazing in lasagna, on homemade pasta or in this case on a sloppy joe.  Make lots and freeze it for a quick family meal during the week.

Now for the Sloppy Joe


French Bread

Garlic Scape Pesto

Meat Sauce


Cheese Curds


Slice the french bread horizontally across the middle and then cut into as many servings as you desire.  Lightly butter the bread on both sides and put it into a hot panini press and cook until crispy, turning 90 degrees half way through to create cross hatching.  Then spread on a layer of garlic scape pesto.  The cross hatching we created will grab a little extra pesto which is a nice treat.

Heat up your broiler to 500 degrees, top the bread with the meat sauce and a generous amount of fresh cheese curds.  Broil until the cheese is bubbly and starts to brown, top with a little more pesto and serve.

Thanks to my local producers for providing me with ingredients to make this pop:

Beef: Getaway Farms via Meat Mongers at the Halifax Market

Celery and Onion:Taproot Farm

Garlic and Carrots: Evans Farm Market

Milk and Cheese Curd: Fox Hill Cheese House

Garlic Scape – The Green Onion of the Garlic World

I love being introduced to new product, it is one of the main reasons I enjoy my CSA share.  Garlic scape is the green ropey sprout that grows out of the garlic bulb.  During the summer these are trimmed off so the bulb can finish maturing.  I got a bunch of these in my CSA share over the last few weeks and went to the internet to figure out what to do with them.  They are too tough to just cut up and eat as you would a green onion but they have a beautiful, sweet, fresh garlic flavor.

The first thing I tried was making garlic scape pesto.  I removed the flower buds and cut the scape into 2 inch pieces which I then ground up in my food processor. I then drizzled in olive oil until I reached the consistency of a rough paste.  Then it is just a matter of adding a little salt and pepper to finish it.  I love the fresh garlicky taste of this pesto and set off on finding dishes I could make with it.

Creamy Garlic Scape Pizza:


1/2 pound of pizza dough (I use my bread machine to make this)

2 tsp olive oil

1 cup béchamel sauce

1 tsp garlic scape pesto

1 tomato

1 cup spinach

1/2 cup green olives

3/4 cup fresh cheese curds

1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese

I have a simple bread machine recipe for pizza dough that I like to use, the bread machine takes all of the time and effort out of this.  I can even set a timer so it is ready for me when I get home if I am out all day.

While the dough was in the bread machine I made one recipe of the béchamel sauce from a prior blog post and set it aside to cool.  Then I added in 1 tsp garlic scape pesto.

I rolled out the pizza dough onto a square cookie sheet, brushed on the olive oil and blind baked it for about 3 minutes in a 475 degree oven to crisp it up a bit.  When the pizza skin came out of the oven I spread on the béchamel sauce until the skin was covered with a thin coat, it took about a cup.  Then I topped it with tomato, sliced green olives spinach, and fresh cheese curds.  I then grated the parmesan cheese on top and baked at 500 until the cheese started to brown and the sauce was bubbly.  Allow to cool so the sauce will set up, slice and enjoy.

Garlic Bread made with Garlic Scape

Garlic bread is a favorite in this household and there is no better way to make it than with garlic scape pesto.  Raw garlic is harsh and garlic butter can get really greasy.  Garlic scape pesto has a nice amount of oil and will give a fresh garlic taste without it being over powering.




1 loaf of french bread (I used my bread machine for this as well)

Garlic Scape Pesto – enough to cover off the surface of the bread


Fresh Cheese Curds

Take your loaf of french bread and slice it down the middle horizontally butter it lightly and spread with the garlic scape pesto, I like a nice layer across the whole surface, you can be generous with it.  Then top with fresh cheese curd and put into a 475 degree oven until it is bubbly and the cheese starts to brown.  This is no doubt the best garlic bread I have ever had.

I have one more recipe that I want to share with you but I will do that in my next post later this week.  Sloppy Joe’s on panini pressed french bread topped with garlic scape pesto.  It is a winner.

This is an amazing ingredient that I was not familiar with but you can pick it up at many of the local farmers markets in Nova Scotia in July and early August.

I would like to thank my farmers for the following ingredients:

Tomato, Spinach, Garlic Scape : Taproot Farms

Milk for the Béchamel and Cheese Curds: Fox Hill Cheese House

Flour for my bread and crust: Speerville Mills

My Week 7 CSA – More great greens including Stinging Nettles.. hmm

Week 7 of my 52 week CSA experience sees more spring greens coming my way.  There are beet greens which were a favorite of my grandfather, kale, mixed salad greens and stinging nettle ?!?! Yeah that was my thinking, but one of the advantages of having your own farmer is that they can tell you all about new products and how to use them.

Here is a clip from the email (which Taproot sends out a couple days before the share arrives) to explain how to use this product.  I will give you this because I have no clue what to do with it :).

From My Farmer: Taproot Farms 

The nettle seems to create some sort of fear. Please do not be afraid and don’t let the kids at them until they have been blanched. If you touch them you will get a bit of a tingle/sting. Dump from bag into water to rinse and then into your pot for steaming. We encourage you to embrace the nettles. There are lots of recipes for them. They are super good for you. We have recipe ideas shared by members on our blog. You can just put nettles in the search area and see what comes up. Please share your ideas with us. Use them for fresh tea, dehydrate them for future tea use, add to bread or biscuits, blanch and freeze for use another day, or make into this delicious soup that people have raved about once they tried it.

Delicious Cream of Nettle Soup

1 pound of nettle leaves

2 Tbsp oil or butter

1 minced onion

4 tsp chopped chives

3 tbsp flour

2 cups hot chicken or vegetable stock

1 cup water

2 tsp salt

1 tsp fresh ground pepper

1 cup cream

Heat oil or melt butter into soup pot.  Saute onion until soft.  Add chives and flour and stir until blended.  Slowly stir in stock, beating with wooden spoon until smooth.  Add remaining ingredients except cream and heat to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.  Add in cream and heat until just boiling.  Season to taste.  Run soup through a sieve and sprinkle with nutmeg if desired.

I am going to try this recipe and will garnish with more fresh chives (probably garlic chives) and some fresh grated parm.  I am excited to try this.

I got some more apples in my box, and have already filled the slow cooker with them.  I cored and quartered them and caramelized them off.  I have added ginger and other spices and will be turning them into delicious apple butter.

There are also a couple of nice frozen tomatoes, which will be made into pizza sauce, carrots which will be eaten raw and by special request the parsnips will be turned into a puree again.

I absolutely loved my fiddle heads last week, which I blanched off and combined with a lemon cream sauce and tossed into pasta.  They were amazing and I am seriously thinking about creating a breakfast with english muffins, fiddleheads, poached eggs topped with a cream sauce.  I think this will be a great Sunday breakfast, what do you think?

I had some more apple cider which you will notice in the pictures never gets photographed before it is opened :).  I love that stuff.  I also have frozen strawberries and cranberries.  The strawberries and half the cranberries will be used to make fresh jam and the other half of the cranberries will be put into an orange cranberry muffin.

I am thrilled for another great week of farm fresh food curtsey of my friends at Taproot farms and Noggins Corner Farm Market.

Creative Local Lunch in 10 Minutes – Yum!!

Sometimes you just need a quick bite to eat and you dont want to make a fuss.  These are the times when we can slip into eating high salt, high fat poor quality processed foods.  My secret in combating this is to not have it in my house.  Does that mean I am stuck taking a lot of time and effort to make a quick meal?  Of course not.  People have been making quick delicious meals at home long before Kraft or Campbell’s came into being and they will be doing so long after our addiction to this stuff has passed.

I wanted a quick lunch yesterday and I looked to my refrigerator.  I make it a habit to have some boiled potatoes around when ever possible.  I had thawed a half a pound of grass fed ground beef and decided a burger would be nice.  When you have amazing beef all you need is a little salt and pepper in the burger to bring out the natural flavors.  I added about 1/4 tsp of salt and a few turns of pepper.

I had some rolls I made the day before and so I made the patty in the shape of those rolls and heated up a fry pan.  I took one of the potatoes I had in the fridge and cut it into steak fry pieces, added a little oil to another pan on medium high heat and added in some spices (garam masala, chili powder and garlic).  You can use what ever you have on hand that tastes good.  I put the potatoes into the hot oil, and the patty into the hot no stick pan.  I flipped them when required and focused on the rest of my meal.

While those were cooking I toasted off a bun and then pulled out a jar of Sesame Ginger Sauce for littlered kitsch’n.  Now if your are a regular at the Halifax Market you have probably met Jenna, the owner of this wonderful little business.  She make ready to eat meals, amazing desserts and sauces for your convenience.  If you need a quick meal I would defiantly talk to Jenna.  She uses local ingredients and her food is honest and delicious.  I keep a jar of her sauce around for times like this when I don’t want to make my own.  It is really very good.  I also had some pickled sweet carrots from Shani’s Farm on hand to round out my lunch.

Finally I decided some cheese was required and had a little Fox Hill Cheese Fenugreek cheese on hand.  I melted under the broiler and my lunch was finished.  It was all local, very flavorful and was ready in ten minutes.  One you get used to it you wont want to trade this for a bowl of instant microwave food or a burger from a fast food joint.  There is really no going back.


As Always Thanks to my Local Providers :

Sesame Ginger Sauce : littlered kitsch’n

Ground Beef:                    Getaway Farm

Pickled Carrots:               Shani’s Farm

Potatoes:                           Noggins Corner Farm Market

Homemade Chorizo Sausage – A Mexican Treat

I have a few recipes I want to share with you that use chorizo sausage.  Fresh chorizo is a key ingredient in mexican and south western American cooking.   It adds great richness and flavour to dishes and I really enjoy it.  As with all ground meat products I prefer to know what I am eating.  For this reason I make most of my sausage meat at home, though there are a couple providers a the Halifax Market I trust and am hoping to visit to watch them in action.

I have already put up recipes for making homemade breakfast sausage and italian sausage.  Chorizo is just another variation of that.  The base is a good ground pork and then add some amazing seasoning and allow to sit over night.


1.5 pounds of ground pork (Berkshire pork of you can get it)

1 Tbsp Paprika

1 tsp sea salt

2 cloves of chopped fresh garlic

1 tsp cayenne pepper (increase or decrease based on your desire for heat)

1 tsp cumin (toast the seeds in a dry pan then grind for best results)

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp mexican chili powder

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1.5 Tbsp White Wine

In a large bowl spread out the pork as thin as possible.  Sprinkle half the spices over the pork, mix well.  Spread out again and repeat.  Mix well.  Add in the white wine and stir.  Cover and refrigerate for a couple hours, overnight is best.

This fresh sausage can be use in any recipe calling for chorizo.

Special Thanks to my local supplier Active Life Farm for providing me with amazing Berkshire pork and fantastic local garlic.  They made this Chorizo special.

>Ricotta Cheese with Fox Hill Milk


I love italian food.  Can’t get enough of it.  I have already given you a recipe for a great tomato sauce, and now I will show you how to make ricotta cheese.  Ricotta is used as a filling for ravioli or other stuffed pasta, it is used in lasagna and is also fantastic for making all kinds of desserts.  You can get ricotta in the stores but trust me this is much better.  It is so soft, smooth, and creamy.  It has a clean rich flavor that can’t be matched by the cheese you get at your local factory food outlet.
This recipe uses 2 L of Fox Hill milk and will yield about half a pound of ricotta.  It is very simple to do and it will be worth the effort.  If you do not use Fox Hill Milk then you will need to as about 3/4 cup of cream into the mixture to get a nice rich ricotta.  I have made this a number of times and I can tell you honestly tell you using Fox Hill’s milk results in the best ricotta that I have had.  It only makes sense as the more natural the product the better the results will be.
I will be using this cheese in several recipes I will blog later but this will go great in any recipe you have that uses ricotta cheese.  
2 L Unhomogenized Milk or 2 L Whole Milk and 3/4 cup cream
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp salt
Cheese Cloth (this will be required to drain the cheese)
Add the milk and salt to a heavy bottom pot or dutch oven and heat the milk to 180 degrees.  Be careful to not let the milk boil.  Make sure you put the thermometer into the milk deep enough to get an accurate reading.  When the milk is to temperature add in the lemon juice and gently stir it in one or two stirs, do not aggressively stir because you do not want the curds to be broken up.  
Turn the heat to low and allow to cook for 15 minutes longer.  Again do not let it come to a boil.  After 15 minutes turn off the pot and cover.  Allow to sit for about 30 minutes to an hour or until you see the curds formed and the liquid separating.  You will see the milk curdle when you add the lemon juice this is not what you are looking for.  You want the milk solids to really form up or the liquid will not strain off.

When this is completed line a colander with several layers of cheese cloth.  Slowly pour the mixture into the cheese cloth and allow to drain until all of the liquid has passed through.  (About 30 min to an hour).  You can then take the cheese and put it in a storage container and refrigerate or use it right away.  It will stay fresh 2 to 3 days.
Special thanks to Fox Hill Cheese House for making such a wonderful product.

>Beef and Barley Soup – A Hearty Winter Warmer


On a cold snowy day there is nothing better than a hearty hot soup to fill you up.  A thick soup with big pieces of flavorful beef, sweet savory carrots and tender barley really hits the spot.
As alway I try to source local product to make my soup and I use my homemade beef stock base which I keep in my freezer.  With the stock already made this is a quick and easy supper idea and leftovers make a great work day lunch.
1 tbsp of Grape Seed Oil (vegetable oil will work as well)
1 pound of Stew Beef cut into 1/2 inch cubes and trimmed of excess fat
2 Medium Potatoes – 1/2 inch cubes
1 Medium Onion rough chopped
3 Large Carrots sliced
2 Stalks of Celery – sliced
1/4 cup of pearl barley
2 Cloves of Garlic – chopped 
1 tbsp Tomato Paste
2 tsp Paprika
1/2 Cup Dry Red Wine
8 – 10 Cups of Homemade Beef Stock
2 tsp Sea Salt
1 tsp Black Pepper
Fresh Thyme 6-8 sprigs
Fresh Rosemary 2-3 sprigs 

Heat up the oil in a large stock pot over medium high heat.  Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper to the beef and add to the hot oil.  When the beef is about half browned add in the paprika and tomato paste and continue cooling until the beef is nicely browned.  Remove the beef from the pot and add in the potatoes, onion, celery, barley and carrots.  Cook until the onions start to get a little color stirring occasionally, add in the garlic and cook until the garlic starts to turn a very light brown.  Be careful not to overcook the garlic.  

Add the beef back into the pot and deglaze the bottom of the pan with the red wine.  Continue cooking until about 1/3 of the wine has cooked off and then add in your beef stock.  Tie together with butchers twine the herbs and add into the pot.
Heat to a simmer and allow to simmer for about an hour, or until the potatoes and beef are nice and tender.  At this point add salt and pepper to taste and serve.
Thanks to My Local Nova Scotia Suppliers
Beef – from Getaway Farms
Vegetables – from Noggins Corner Farm
Garlic – from Active Life Farms
Red Wine – from Jost Vineyards
Herbs from Riverview herbs (Located at the Halifax Seaport Market)

>Roasted Creamy Butternut Squash Soup


I am a serious soup lover.  A hot bowl of soup on a cold winter night is one of my favorite comfort foods.  A smooth creamy soup can be just the thing to bring warmth and comfort, but those calories can get a little out of hand.  I have just the fix, a rich creamy soup with no dairy and very little added fat.  Roasted butternut squash, one of my favorite winter vegetables makes a wonderful creamy soup that your whole family will enjoy.
2 Butternut Squash halved and seeded
1 Apple pealed cored and diced
1 Pear pealed cored and diced
2 Cloves of Garlic chopped
1/4 cup of Calvados (apple brandy) optional
1/2 a medium onion chopped
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
8 cups of vegetable stock  or chicken stock (Click for my stock recipes)
1 tbsp Good Olive Oil
2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 375 and sprinkle the squash with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.  Roast the squash for 45 minutes to an hour until slightly browned and fork tender.  Allow to cool so it can be handled.
Heat enough olive oil to coat the bottom of a stock pot over medium heat.  Add onions, pear, apple, garlic and a tsp of salt.  Stir until it slightly caramelizes.  Deglaze the pot with calvados or a little vegetable stock.  Add vegetable stock and simmer until the apple and pear are tender.  Scoop the butternut squash out of the skin and into the pot.  Simmer for about 15 min.  Blend the soup in the pot with an immersion blender (Kitchen Aid makes a good stainless steel model that comes with a little food processor).  When the soup is smooth stir in the balsamic vinegar, you can adjust the consistency by adding more stock if it is too thick, we want a creamy soup not something akin to babyfood.  Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.
If you make this with chicken stock you have a totally vegan soup and even with chicken stock it is very healthy.  It is a soup that uses local winter product, all of the produce for the stock and soup I obtained from Nova Scotia providers.
For those of you like my buddy Sairam (a faithful vegetarian follower and good friend) who love to feel the spice, here is a simple addition to kick it up a notch.
When roasting your squash roast off one pablano pepper.  Let it cool in an air tight container to make pealing easier.  Peel and seed the pepper when cool and add to the soup before blending.  If you are cautious about spice add it in a quarter at a time blend and taste.  This adds a very nice level of heat to the soup.

Special Thanks to my Providers

Active Live Farms for the Chicken for my Chicken Stock and the Garlic
Noggins Corner Farm for all of the wonderful Fruit and Vegetables

And as always the Halifax Seaport Market for giving me a place to find local product.

Local product also pictured

Oatmeal Bread from Aziz Best Bakery obtained at the Halifax Seaport Market
Cranberry Cheddar from Fox Hill Cheese 

>Homemade Sweet Italian Sausage


A few weeks back I put up a recipe for breakfast sausage and from the feedback I have gotten it has been a big hit.  Sausage adds a lot of flavor to your meal and if you make it yourself you can control the quality of meat that is used and the levels of fat and sodium. 
I have a great love for Italian food and as a result I have been working on a Sweet Italian Sausage Recipe to be used in some of my favorite Italian meals.  If you can make hamburgers you can make sausage meat so if you like Italian Sausage then please give this a try.
1.5 pound of Ground Pork
3 Cloves of Garlic – fine chopped
3 Basil Leaves – fine chopped
¼ tsp Oregano
2 tsp Fennel – Grind the whole seeds
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 tbsp white wine
In a large bowl press out the sausage meat and then sprinkle the garlic herbs and spices evenly over then meat.  Now get your hands dirty and mix the spices into the meat to provide even flavor.  Add in the white wine, the flavor of the wine is nice but it also draws flavor out of the herbs and spices you have added to your sausage meat.
Cover and let the sausage sit in the refrigerator for a couple hours if possible overnight.  This will draw the flavor into the meat.  Heat up a fry pan over medium high heat and lightly oil.  Take a small patty and fry it off for a couple minutes on each side.  Taste the sausage and if required add more seasonings to give the flavor you want.
You can cook this sausage off in patties, make sausage meatballs or use it as a stuffing.  It also adds a lot of flavor to lasagna or pizza.  I will be posting recipes very soon that will use this sausage.  Stay tuned.

>Beef Stock – The base for a perfect winter soup


My favorite winter food is a good hearty bowl of soup.  So many people I know love a good bowl of soup but say they just can’t get it to taste right or that it is just too much work.  It does take time to make a great bowl of soup but it does not take a lot of effort.
The foundation of a great soup is the stock.  I have already given you the recipe for my chicken stock, and now I am going to give you my beef stock recipe.  Tomorrow I will release the vegetable stock and then we will embark on a series of blogs on soup making.  With these three stocks you will be able to make a wide variety of flavorful soups that your family will love.
I will again reiterate that factory food soup bases and stocks don’t come close to homemade in flavor or nutrition.  The high levels of sodium and the level of processing require to provide the desired shelf life in my opinion results in a substandard product from both a taste and health standpoint.  Careful caramization of ingredients and slow simmering will build flavors that will not need to be overloaded with sodium.
This stock takes about 8 hours on the stove but can be left overnight or put it on the back burner and let it simmer away.  It can also be finished in a slow cooker when you are at work.  Don’t let 8 hours of sitting bother you because it only takes about 15 minutes of actual time to prepare.
2 pound beef soup bone (shank piece with meat and bone)
One onion Pealed and course chopped
1 Tbsp Grape seed Oil
3 carrots washed and course chopped
3 stalks celery washed and course chopped (remove bottom white part – bitter)
1 bulb of garlic cut in half loose peal removed
3 Tbsp Tomato Paste
1.5 cups Dry Red Wine
1 Tbsp Freeze dried Sage Leaves or 3 Fresh Leaves
6 sprigs of Fresh Thyme
6 pepper corns
Salt to taste – 1 to 3 tsp
Preheat the oven to 375.  Sprinkle salt and a few turns of fresh ground black pepper on all sides of the meat.  Place on a roasting rack in a pan for about 45 minutes until meat is browned.  Turn about half way through.  Be careful not to burn the meat or bone because it will add a bitter flavor to the stock.  You just want to get enough brown on to add flavor.
Rough chop all of the vegetables and heat the grape seed oil (preferred because of the high smoke point and neutral flavor) over medium high heat in a 6 liter stock pot.  Add the vegetables to the hot oil in the stock pot stir occasionally until the onions start to turn golden, be careful not to let anything too dark.  To quote Gordon Ramsey “If it’s brown it’s cooked if it’s black it’s …” (I’m not famous enough to get away with that.J) 
Once there is a light gold on the onions add the tomato paste and cook for another 5 minutes or so stirring frequently.  Deglaze with the red wine.  Add in the soup bone and fill the pot with water.  Add in the herbs and pepper corns.
Simmer on low heat. Do not bring to a rolling boil the odd bubble is not a problem but keep just below the boil covered for 8 hours.  If you see foam on the top skim it off, this contains fats and other impurities.  I usually do this two or three times during the process. 
After 8 hours salt the stalk to taste and then drain the stock into a bowl through a strainer.  (Don’t do like a buddy of mine as stain it in the sink and be left with the veg and bone :s).  You can save the meat off the bone and discard the rest.  Cool the stock.  At this point you can skim the fat off the top and strain through cheese cloth if you desire a very clean stock. 
This flavor rich stock will be an excellent base for your soups or stews.  I will be posting several recipes using this stock in the near future.

Thanks to:

WippleTree CSA for providing the onion
Active Live Farm for providing the garlic
Noggins Farm Market for providing the carrots
Getaway Farm for providing the soup bone
Jost Vineyards for providing the wine
River View Herbs for providing the Thyme and Sage

And of course the Halifax Seaport Farm Market for giving me a great place to pick up my local products.


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