How to Make Your Own Stock
One of the keys to successful cooking is the use of quality ingredients. And perhaps nowhere is the inadequacy of ready made cooking products more apparent than in canned stock or broth.
The French call stock fonds de cuisine, or the foundation of the kitchen; to prepare delicious dish using stock, it’s vital that stock be of excellent quality. But ready made stock is thin, full of sodium, and virtually flavorless; cooks should always avoid ready made stock or broth.
The good news is, it’s not difficult to make your own stock, and it may be stored frozen for quick and easy access whenever you need it.
Stock is the liquid created when you simmer together meat and bones with vegetables, water, and seasonings. You’ll use this stock as the basis for soups, stews, braised vegetables and meats, and in a million other dishes. The most economical way to make stock is to plan several meat or poultry meals for the week and save up bones and meat in the refrigerator.
Limit the number of pork bones you use, however, since all but one or two make the stock too sweet. Ham bones or lamb shouldn’t be used unless you’re specifically making lamb or ham stock.
Use a variety of vegetables that you already have on hand, like carrots, celery, and onions. Vegetables with strong flavor (like turnips) should be avoided or used in very small quantities.
Here is a basic recipe suitable for making 2 to 3 quarts of meat stock:
Put about 3 quarts of meat and bones (cut into 2 inch pieces) into a large pot and add cold water until the liquid is about 2 inches above them. Cook on medium heat.
When the liquid comes to a simmer, remove anything that rises to the surface with a spoon.
Add up to;
- 2 T. Salt, about
- 2 Medium Carrots
- 2 Medium Celery stalks
- 2 Medium Onions, and whatever seasoning you like.
- Try the following, tied in a package of cheese cloth and dropped into the pot: 1 bay leaf, 2 garlic cloves, ¼ t. thyme, and 4 cloves.
If the water doesn’t cover all the ingredients by at least an inch, add additional cold water.
When the liquid starts to simmer again, skim off the top as needed. Partially cover the pot, leaving a gap of around 1 inch, which allows steam to escape. Keep the liquid simmering very gently.
Allow to simmer up to 5 hours, and at least 4 hours, skimming the top every hour or so, if needed. Add water as necessary to keep all the ingredients under water. Do not allow the mixture to boil.
When you’re satisfied with the flavor, strain the liquid into a bowl.
Place the stock, uncovered, in the refrigerator until the fat rises to the surface and hardens. Scrape off the fat.
If you want to intensify the flavor, boil the stock down a little.
Once the stock is cold, you may freeze it.
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