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homemade Stock

October 2, 2009

“If one’s stock is good, what remains of the work is easy; if, on the other hand, it is bad or mediocre it is quite hopeless to expect anything approaching a satisfactory result.” —Auguste Escoffier

PhotobucketWhenever I cook meat I take the leftover bones and collect them in a bag in my freezer until I have a decent amount of bones, then I make stock. Never throw away a bone without making stock from it first, you will just be robbing yourself of the deliciousness. If you put it in the freezer it will keep indefinitely. Sometimes by the time I am ready to make stock I will have chicken, beef and lamb bones and I’ll use them all. It doesn’t matter, it is simply a base for broth. Never waste a scrap of meat.

Homemade stock is much better than store bought stock and once you make it you can keep it in the fridge or freeze it. I usually freeze it in quart containers and defrost as necessary. My sister freezes her stock in an ice cube tray then keeps the cubes in a Ziploc bag so she can use as much or as little as she needs at any given time.

To make stock you basically just throw the bones into a big pot with some vegetables, cover with water and simmer for a few hours. PhotobucketThe most classic vegetables to use for stock are carrots, celery and onions. You can also add herbs, or herb stems and bay leaves are always recommended. The longer you cook the stock the more it will reduce and the flavors will concentrate. Once the vegetables are cooked through it can be called done, but stock can be left at a low heat for several hours. I usually make mine in a big pot before bed and leave it on overnight. Note that I do not necessarily condone leaving something to cook on your stove while you are sleeping, but a few hours in the pot are good. certain types of meat will create a bit of grey foam that rises to the top of your stock. this should be skimmed off during the cooking process. Once you are ready and the stock has cooled, run it through a fine strainer then transfer it to some plastic containers and put it in the fridge for future use. If you dont have a fine strainer you can line a big strainer or colander with a paper towel. if you don’t plan on using the stock within a week, freeze it. If your stock seems watered down you can always reduce it more, or if it is too strong you can add a bit more water to mellow it out. Practice saving all of your meat scraps and whenever you have enough in your freezer, use it to make yourself stock for delicious soups and sauces all year! Really! It is Awesome! If you want to learn more about stock I recommend checking out The Escoffier cookbook. the first chapter is about how to make perfect stock from all variety of meats.
*NOTE! Everyone who cooks should employ this method, you will always produce tastier stock than can be bought at a grocery store.

Some other great herbs and vegetables I like in my stock include parsnips, garlic, shallots, fennel, hot peppers, parsley, thyme or sage. do not put potato, broccoli, cauliflower, squash or any vegetables you aren’t sure about, they might make your stock funky.

BONES

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VEGGIES

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COVER WITH WATER

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SIMMER

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