I make a lot of my own stocks or broths and use them frequently when preparing meals. A delicious stock or broth, can be the base for a never ending possibility of soups which is what I often use mine for. Stock is also as a prized ingredient when preparing stir-fry’s and pasta and can be turned into a terrific sauce without, or with less dairy or fat than traditionally used. A luxurious stock is also the star ingredient for making a very fine risotto which in my opinion, must be made using a quality stock – no tetra packs on risotto day in my kitchen.
Benefits for your Health & Budget:
Making your own stock is a super easy cooking project that will have you reaping the rewards for future meals. Stocks made from bones, vegetables and aromatics are not only a tastier, healthier, more nutritious option than store bought but also a lot more budget friendly.
Whether you are saving your vegetable scraps or starting with fresh veggies from the grocery store, the resulting broth that is made is packed with both flavor and vitamins. While just about any firm vegetables can be used, I always start with the traditional mix of onion, celery and carrots. Be sure to remember to add aromatics like bay leaf and peppercorns.
Did you know? When you make stock from carcasses or bones the slow cooking process melts the cartilage and is what makes your stock become gelatinous when refrigerated. This liquid is said to be helpful for maintaining ease of movement in our own joints. So eat your soup, it’s good for you.
Preparing to make chicken stock:
It seems like I’m always getting ready to make my next batch of stock. Chicken stock that is. For beef stock I always buy ingredients fresh and make it the same day. I usually only make a beef stock about twice a year. Chicken stock however is always an ongoing project. I store chicken bones from whole roasted chickens and any raw trimmings from other chicken prep (wing tips, backs) in Ziploc bags in the freezer sorted by cooked or raw. When I get enough of them, I make a big batch of chicken stock. On stock making day, any uncooked portions are first roasted on a baking sheet in a 400 degree oven until browned, sizzling and having rendered some of their fat. Bones that are already cooked can go directly into your stock pot. Not necessary to thaw first.
In a very large pot put in all chicken pieces or bones
Add rough chopped pieces of 2 onions, 2 carrots, 3 stalks celery. Vegetables should be washed but not peeled. These are used for flavor only.
Add a couple of garlic cloves, about 8 peppercorns, 2-3 bay leaves
Cover with cold water to 3 inches above items in pot
Bring to a boil then turn to a gentle simmer, skim a couple of times if necessary
Simmer at a very low heat, partially covered for 4 – 6 hours
Remove large pieces with spider utensil, let cool slightly, strain
Reap your rewards!!