Spelunking in the Freezer

It’s been a while since I cleared out food from the freezer. I’m hoping to start laying in stocks, applesauce, charcuterie and other things that will take us through the winter, but first I should use up some things that have been hanging around a little too long.

I have massive amounts of ancho chile-rubbed pork shoulder that I slow roasted at the beginning of the summer. I just thawed some and plan to pitch it into some jambalaya this week. (I found lots of turkey stock, some of which is currently cooking some brown rice for said jambalaya.) I figure maybe we’ll make some pork tacos one night with some of it, and the rest I could probably fold into my next batch of chili.

Then there’s the huge numbers of random sausages: Toulouse-style, some garlic sausages, Hebrew National hot dogs, chicken andouille from Costco. And some Canadian bacon. And some Genoa salame. I’m not sure what to do with all of those–some will go into this week’s jambalaya, sure, but not all of them belong in there. There’s also other forms of charcuterie in there: my homemade bacon, the country ham that keeps on giving, possibly a little of my own corned beef.

There are small amounts of uncured meats–mostly beefy in nature–that keep sitting in the freezer because they aren’t sufficient in quantity to seem worth the effort when I’m trying to get dinner on the table. (I always try to cook large amounts of things since my family digs on leftovers.) Veal cubes for stew, about 2 pounds of oxtails, half a flank steak, some skirt steaks from the farmer’s market, a whole rabbit cut up in pieces.

I have too much pastry sitting in the freezer: scone dough, puff pastry dough, phyllo dough, a banana cake I made last spring. I like having some of those things on hand, but surely they are losing their appeal the more time they spend nestled between that andouille and the ancho-rubbed pork.

Then there are the random things: potstickers from Trader Joe’s, emergency butter supplies, decaf (mostly for visitors since I usually drink high-test coffee), quick meals like Boca burgers and fish sticks for my son, stone-ground grits, shrimp.

What’s in your freezer? What should I do with what’s in my freezer? Suggestions welcome.

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