Why you should make homemade stock instead of bought
In a hurry today?? Scroll down now if you want know the Basic Method on how to make a stock.
What are the different stocks?
As I have come to realise over the years of my cooking development, a good stock is critical to your base cooking.
My friend and neighbour, aka Nick the Chef, has always told us that the secret to some of his unctuous dishes or sauces is the stock he makes.
Getting a handle on some basics is a good idea.
And it turns out they aren’t hard to make plus you’re truly using everything and not creating waste.
You need this flavourful liquid gold to boost depth of flavour in soups, stews and sauces.
You may of heard of various terms for stocks including;
- fond (I’d never heard of)
- nage (I’d never heard of)
- fumet (I’d also never heard of)
But for the most part they are made by gently simmering various bits and pieces in water and using as a base, a cooking technique or a soup.
My focus is on stocks so here is a breakdown on the various terms and what they actually mean before we go into making a basic stock.
A quick culinary diversion… Mirepoix (Meer-Pwah).
Mirepoix, is a word I recently came across while researching stocks and had no idea what it was.
But I’ll let you in on it as I think it’s one of those words that’s worth dropping in around the kitchen to add a little weight to your culinary prowess.
So, Mirepoix is essentially a mixture of onions, carrots, and celery sautéed in butter. Simple stuff really.
Stocks(*except vegetable stock, obz) are made from the bones of meat, poultry, fish and seafood, flavoured with herbs and spices.
The meat provides all the flavour and the bones gives that real gelatinous unctuous-ness that a stock cube just can’t give.
- White stock: a lighter flavoured stock with its raw ingredients cooked in water. Good for soups.
- Brown stock: deep colour, much more intense flavour. Good for rich sauces and braises.
- Broth: usually meats based, like a soup
- Bouillon (boil): similar to broth but is in a cube or powder form to be added to liquid
- Fumet: a concentrated stock, usually made from often contains wine
- Nage (to swim): both a cooking technique and a broth. Made up of white wine, vegetables, and herbs. The technique a la nage (in the swim), is to poach the fish lightly in this broth and serve together
The basics for a meat stock
You don’t really need a recipe for a basic stock, it’s just simple ingredients and left overs for the most part.
But here are the basics for a meat stock:
- water (to cover)
- trimmings or giblets
- celery, onion, carrot aka mirepoix!
- bouquet Garni e.g. a bay leaf, parsley stalk, thyme sprigs tied in a bundle
- A ‘pinch’ of peppercorns
Season with salt at the end
Stock method and timings
Meat stocks will take approximately 3 – 8 hrs simmering on the stove. Some take longer if you reduce them right down.
- Ideally you want a whole chicken carcass and trimmings or for a meat stock, around 5lbs / 2kg (or more) of bones and trimmings.
- Place the chicken carcass and trimmings or meat bones, mirepoix, herbs in a large pot, and submerge with water.
- Once you’ve brought it to the boil, turn down and simmer, uncovered for min. 3 hours for chicken, and 4 – 6 hours for a meat stock. Add some top up water if needed.
- Skim off any scum and fat from the surface throughout cooking
- Remove the carcass or bones and scoop out the vegetables and any other remaining smaller bones, then strain the stock through a sieve
- Let cool and then pour into containers to freeze so you can use in your future cooking… you won’t regret it!
- Never boil stock. Just bring to the boil then turn down to simmer slowly for hours.
- Remember: if you want a darker, richer stock, brown off the bones and vegetables first before adding water to simmer.
- If you don’t have enough bones from one meal to make a rich stock, freeze them and pull them out when you do.
- Stocks, broths, fond and fume may be refrigerated for 4-5 days or may be frozen for up to 6 months.
Nick the Chef in our kitchen prepping for his cookery class; check out the large pot that’s simmering away for hours to make his stock. In the pan is the beginning of a deep, flavourful sauce Nick made to go with guinea fowl from the stock he’d made.
Know any great tips for making a stock? Drop me a line or add it to comments…
I am linking this up to CookBlogShare