Waste not, Want not: Making Leftover Lamb Stock

ng_lambbroth2

(a nourishing bowl of soup, made from my broth)

When reading past accounts of how people made ends meet, I have noticed how very little they let go to waste. While that was true for all areas of their life, it seemed especially true in the kitchen.

Think of the old fashioned farm kitchen. When a chicken was slaughtered, every little bit of that chicken was put to use, whether it be the feathers, the feet (added to stock for nutrients), or the bones. The vegetable scraps, leftover from the chicken dish, would be put to good use by going to the pig’s or chicken’s pail.

There was a cycle and rhythm to living, cooking, and nurturing their household that we have really lost in our modern age. I aim to regain as much of that as I can. Waste not, want not was a motto for so long because that’s what it took for some people to survive. I may be able to technically survive thanks to all of the fake cheap food available in our country now. But if I truly want to eat nourishing food on our budget, I must be careful that little goes to waste.

While necessary frugality may be the driving force behind me living out this philosophy, I find that it gives me even more nurturing gifts in return then I originally imagined.

This lamb stock is an example of that. My husband and I enjoyed a special meal with a beautiful rack of lamb (we bought half of a pastured lamb for our freezer). The old me would have thought “What a special meal! Won’t be able to afford that again anytime soon!”. But the new me, saw more potential in that rack of lamb then ever before. Those leftover bones, with the meat cut off, where not meant to go straight to the trash can. Heaven forbid! Those bones were full of important minerals, such as calcium, magnesium and other live giving substances. All I had to do was unlock them, and those bones would give more nurturing energy to my family.

In simple terms, I took those bones, made them into a lovely broth, and they then formed our next dinner, which was as gourmet as it was nourishing. And it only took a few minutes to put together.

While I give this recipe in hopes that you may also find it handy, I tell the longer story behind it because I wish to inspire you to the thought behind it. By wasting not, you are given the tools to nourish your family, even on a budget.

Leftover Lamb Broth

Treat this as a guideline, rather than a set in stone recipe, and use whatever you have on hand. Broths are so simple because they can flex with what you have on hand. This is a description of what I did.

The saved bones from one large rack of lamb (or bones saved from other cuts of lamb)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
A couple of scrubbed carrots
A couple of washed celery sticks
One onion, peeled and cut in half.

1-In a large pot, combine all of the ingredients and cover with good quality water by about two inches (filtered if needed). Let stand for one hour (this draws out the calcium).

2-Bring to a low simmer. Simmer for 12-24 hours, until you have a rich broth. You may add more water as needed, just don’t overdo the water, as it will make a less rich broth.

3-Strain out the bones and vegetables, cool and refrigerate. It’s now ready to make a lovely soup. Enjoy!

KimiHarris

I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!

Comments

  1. Annie says

    Yum. I adore broth and the soups that come after! Bones definitly do not leave the house un-boiled… although there was the unfortunate incident at Thanksgiving where I brought the turkey carcass home from my parents and forgot to put it in the fridge overnight. ARGH! So it went to the far out compost (the one the chickens can’t get to) much to the dog’s dismay. There is nothing she likes more than a pile of questionable bones.

  2. FoodRenegade says

    Lookin’ good. I love bone broths and make them every chance I get. I cook them for a long time and let them get really condensed, then I freeze them in ice cube trays. One frozen broth cube plus one cup of water reconstitutes to one cup of delicious broth. This way, I can use it bit by bit as a base in all sorts of things, not just soups.

  3. Kimi Harris says

    Annie,

    How sad! I hate it when something like that happens! (and believe me, events like that do happen around here!)

    Food Renegade,

    That’s a great idea. Do you mean that you cook it long after you strain them, or while you are cooking it with the bones? I generally do my chicken broths for about 24 hours, my beef for 48. How long do you do yours?

  4. Michele @ Frugal Granola says

    Ooh, yum- lamb stock! I’ve never had any lamb bones sitting around to make stock with, but we just had a delicious minestrone, using turkey stock (make from our Thanksgiving turkey).

    I make my poultry stocks for 24 hours, too- in fact, I need to go cook one right now! :)

    Blessings,
    Michele

  5. Lauren says

    Looks wonderful, Kimi! I had no idea making broth was so simple. It’s such a nourishing practice that I’m compelled to try it after seeing your post. :)

  6. Pam says

    Sounds good! We bought a side of beef this year and when we picked it up, the farmer offered me a big cooler of bones for free!

  7. Anonymous says

    Have you read, “How to Cook a Wolf” by MFK Fisher? Fabulous book written during war and depression … talk about REAL low-cost food, and she was a reknowned food writer, so fairly tasty as well. :)

    At any rate, even my Joy of Cooking mentions that you can use vegetable scraps to make a veggie stock… we are wasteful now.

    Thanks for a great site.
    =Amy

  8. Kimi Harris says

    Michele,

    I love turkey stock! One of my favorites, for sure. I find that 24 hours works well. :-)

    Lauren,

    It’s oh so simple! Making my own broth has been so rewarding, as well as simple! I will be doing some future posts about the beauty of broth, as well as more detailed instructions on making other types of broth. So stick around for more info on it. :-)

    Pam,

    That’s wonderful! I can buy about 40 pounds of bones for 20 dollars, but free is even better. :-)

    Amy,

    I will definitely have to check that book out. It sounds vaguely familiar, but I know I haven’t read it before. Thanks for mentioning it! I appreciate it. :-)

  9. sarena says

    Ok so this weekend I took a leftover (0r most of) turkey carcass I had frozen. I first sauteed some chopped onions and garlic in coconut oil, added some shredded carrots,s some celery and 2 bags of frzn spinach along with the turkey bones in a cheesecloth bag, some salt and pepper , some Imagine veg stock and water. I let it all simmer together a long time, removed the bone bag and pureed with a stick blender. YUM!

  10. Mary Ann says

    I love making bone broths as well. Recently, I picked up some marked down lamb chops on clearance. They were so good! It was a very small pack and I cut the meat off the bones to use in a stir-fry to stretch it, but after we were done eating the meat, I cooked the bones to make broth. It wasn’t a lot but made enough broth for a soup dinner for the two of us. It had a great flavor!

    I save veggie scraps(peelings, onion skins) in a bag in the freezer and add to my chicken bones when I make broth. Also I save the liquid from cooking veggies. This adds wonderful flavor to soups. I just keep a container in the freezer and keep adding until I have enough to add to a recipe.

  11. GerryinVA says

    Thank you! We just bought a lamb roast and haven’t yet cooked it.

    About 2 weeks ago, we bought 3 lobsters – lobster is cheaper than steak right now!!! – and I didn’t want to waste all the carcasses – so back in the pot they went, along with some veggies and seasoning. A few days later, we (my wife) made the best Clam Chowder ever with the Lobster stock!

    Okay, so one question, what kind of soups would you make with the lamb stock? What else can you use lamb stock for?

    • Chris says

      Lamb stock makes fantastic french onion soup. While we typically make it with homemade (pressure cooker a la Heston Blumenthal) beef stock, we recently tried it with lamb stock and it was the best rendition to date!

  12. TrailGrrl says

    That looks really easy! Thanks for the great recipes. My mom didn’t cook lamb when I was growing up so I am trying to fumble my way around and learn how to cook different cuts. I have a rack in the freezer, so this looks like a good idea!

    TrailGrrl

  13. Kimi Harris says

    Garry,

    I find that a potato based soup works really well with lamb because it is mild enough to support the rich broth. The bowl of soup you see above had potatoes, green beans, turnips, onions and garlic and leftover lamb meat in it. It was delicious! I would say that lamb broth is not as dark and rich as beef broth, but not as light as chicken broth. I am sure that it would work well in a myriad of soups. Another take would be a vegetable and wild rice soup.

    TrailGrrl,

    You aren’t alone! I also did not grow up eating lamb, so it’s a newer meat for us as well. :-)

  14. Elizabeth says

    Hi Kimi,
    Thanks for the reminder. I am baking a turkey tomorrow. I am going to be sure and save the bones for broth. I love Nourishing Traditions. I have my NT Goals on my side bar for 2009. I will do a post on Friday and link back to you here. I look forward to reading your post this year.
    Hugs,
    Elizabeth

  15. Anonymous says

    Kimi! Hi, Where do you get such a good deal on beef bones? I asked at our wholefoods…but the meat man said they only get a little each week and they sell out that morning…and the store is far from here…so I can’t just run up there the minute they get them in… :( I would love to get some beef bones…
    Also, do you buy a frugal cut of beef with bones you like the best? for the meat as well as for the bones…?
    Thanks…Jessica O.

  16. Martha says

    Hi! I wandered over here from Kelly the Kitchen Kop. I have leftover lamb in the fridge right now and, thanks to your inspiration will be turning it in to stock tomorrow. I had planned on tossing it out for the local wildlife, but I guess they will have to wait as they do for the chicken bones.

    • Marthanne Theel says

      I live in Minnesota, and I don’t know where you live, but during the summer we have all kinds of farmers markets. This past summer I checked out farmers markets on the web – I was looking for organic stuff. Some of them wanted you to call ahead of time and order what you wanted. On their website they listed the price for bones. I called and they brought frozen beef and chicken bones for me, and sold them really cheaply. Anyway, it’s an idea.

  17. KimiHarris says

    Hi Martha,

    Welcome to my site. :-) I hope your broth turns out wonderful! By the way, I think that it gets a bit more flavorful if you do cook it on the longer side, so keep that in mind. :-)

    Cheers!

  18. Loree says

    Hi — I jsut had a question about your typical daily/weekly schedule and how you have time to cook so much. I have a daughter (20 months) who I still nurse (once at night still too) and feel like I should until she is at least two years old since I have not vaccinated her and for general WHO, attachment parenting, etc reccomendations, but it leaves me very tired. And so I eat terrribly (although everyone here in Luxembourg eats lots of croissants, bread, cheese, coffee and seems to be so thin), have gained much weight, and never seem to get to bed early enough. And during the week, I try and attend several morning playgroups and singing groups for my daughter each week and on most weekends my husband likes to travel (we live in Europe) or at least do a day trip. He also does not get home until 7:30-8:00 at night when I am trying to put my baby to bed, even on Fridays. I try and cook in the afternoons after her nap and she loves to ‘help’ but often it is hard to really concentrate or take on things I am still trying to learn (which feels like everything)…. I don’t get to really exercise other than walking the stroller to the store occasionally. I often have to go to the grocery / market at least twice a week since I usually have to take her and I always forget stuff, even when I have a list. So: I was just curious how you manage your menu planning (how long do you take, do you have a set time you do it) and how your days and weeks are gennerally structured that allows you the time to cook and blog and look so great in your pictures! And what you often ate for breakfast and if you eat big lunches (with meat, etc at lunch) and light dinners and if you nursed your baby and for how long….. I hope these aren’t too many questions….. I would like to have another baby, but I feel like I need to lose this weight first and be more rested and have a better cooking (and eating) system down pat. Regards, loree

    • KimiHarris says

      Hi Loree,

      Those are some excellent questions. Can I answer you in a post? I think I would be able to answer your questions more thoroughly. :-)

  19. Brandi says

    I had a question about storing your bone broths. I noticed that you freeze all of your bone broths to use later, but I have limited freezer space and have always canned my broths for storage. Does that destroy the nutritional properties of the broth? It has always been easier to for me to make a big batch of broth and can it for later use, so I always have some on hand, but the thought occurred to me that I may be defeating the purpose of making homemade broth in the first place. Do you just use the bones of your lamb, chicken, ect. or do you use the whole raw chicken with meat on and everything? The original recipe I had used said to simmer the whole chicken to make the broth. Is there a difference nutritionally?
    Thank you for having a great blog!

  20. Jenn says

    Do you know how long lamb broth lasts? I have some that’s been sitting in my refrigerator for about 2 or 3 weeks. It smells fine.

  21. Marilyn says

    I have a huge bag of uncooked lamb bones, we had three or four lambs butchered, the meat is delicious and thought of giving the dogs the uncooked lamb bones, however, we had duck last night and am going to try making a soup from the cooked bones. So thought why not do a lamb stock with the bones I have (they also take up too much room in the freezer) questions: would you have to cook the lamb bones first (in the oven) and then put them in the soup pot for a couple of hours with vegies for flavour, or, can you start the stock from the raw bones?

  22. Cathy L from San Jose says

    I use a pressure cooker to boil my bones — much, much shorter cooking time, less use of natural gas, (which saves money and natural resources) and because the bones soften so much more with the pressure cooker, I can’t help but feel that my broth has a lot more minerals in it.

  23. dave says

    I also added a little chorizo along with leek and chives… this made one of the best broths i have ever tasted

  24. bopps says

    Have enjoyed this site. I grew up in the 1930′s, and our fairly large family ate well, mainly because our mother practiced much of what I’ve read here — and practice myself. We have a large garden with a variety of fruits and vegs, but no livestock. Soup stock made of veg scraps is basic, and meat stock from fowl carcass is, too. I often use a pressure cooker for a second cooking of meat stock to draw out as much of the nutrients possible, and then put the softened bones through the blender so I can add them to the compost for whatever they contribute. I see more of the younger folks today have an interest in healthy eating, but the basics of Home Economics in schools are not taught as in the past. Websites like this are essential.

  25. robbie says

    A neighbor gave me a big lamb bone with lots of meat on it for my little dog. More than my dog should consume at one sitting anyway, so I decided to look for a recipe and found you! Yum, my kitchen smells great. I cleaned out the veg bin and everything has been simmering all afternoon. I am new to stock and soup making. Your directions say to strain bones and veg. My question, can you purree the veggies and use them in the stock or another stock?

  26. Jenny says

    I have a slowcooker (8.5 qt) specifically for making ham & various broths (ceran top stove doesn’t give true simmer). I usually put items in as soon as dishes are done & broth is ready in the morning, refrigerated & defatted before the day is out. This slowcooker needs to be put on high overnight because I fill it more than 3/4 full. Broth always turns out great with whatever fresh herbs I have in addition to the traditional onion, carrot & celery & whole peppers & bay leaf (I never add salt & let people add at the table). I tend to combine various bones because we are not specific chicken vs beef broth. The broth is always welcome for various recipes or even just to cook rice or potatoes!

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