Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Homemade Stock

Homemade Stock is SO simple to make... Time consuming, but VERY simple. It can save you quite a bit of money, too, depending on how often you use it. Myself, I use stock often. Whether it be to flavor up some homemade mashed potatoes, or some rice, or even just to cook chicken in to help keep it moist and lock in the flavor. And then there is the obvious use... Soup. (Have you checked out my Chicken Noodle Egg Drop Soup yet? You should. You really REALLY should.) Stock can be frozen very well, and hell you can even freeze some in an extra ice cube tray. Next time you're having soup and its too hot, drop in a stock cube. It will cool it without watering down your soup. :)

There are many recipes out there for Stock, you don't have to use mine. Find one that suits you- but this first recipe is a very basic chicken stock and is a very good place to start. There are different ways to make it also, but i usually make it after i have cooked up a whole chicken for dinner. So the Carcass Method is my go to. Oh and i should mention too, that the veggies you add in here are going to be thrown away, so i would maybe make this when my carrots and celery are almost ready to get thrown out. We just need em for a bit of flavor, anyway. I JUST made some last week before i put this blog up and i didn't take a pic of it... But hey.... I'm pretty damn sure you know what stock looks like, yes? Great. Moving on.....

Chicken Stock:
  • 1 leftover chicken carcass. (cook up a whole chicken for dinner, eat, store any leftover meat and use the carcass)
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of onion, chopped
  • 1 - 2 tsp parsley
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp salt (use how much you like)
  • 1/4 - 1/2 tsp black pepper (use how much you like)
  1. Place leftover chicken carcass in pot and cover it with cold water. (you don't want any pieces of the chicken to be above the water. This invites bacteria in. I don't think I need to tell you- that's not good, my friends! lol)
  2. Add carrots, celery, onion and parsley. give it a stir and then add your salt and pepper.
  3. Bring to a boil and the IMMEDIATELY reduce the heat to bring stock to barely a simmer.
  4. Simmer UN covered for at least 4 hours. (I usually do 6-7 hours provided that I have the time. This reduces your liquid more making it a bit more concentrated.)
  5. If you see a layer of fat on the surface, just skim it off and dispose of it.
  6. Now, carefully remove the bones and throw away (let them cool a bit before chucking em in your trash, tho. they will be hot)
  7. Strain stock into a large bowl. Toss your veggies. (i know, i know.... but we just needed em for the flavor, remember?)
Depending on how much water you used and how long you simmered for, you could wind up with 12 cups of stock or 20! I usually get 15 cups. :)

Now, if you are going to freeze this for future use, let it cool. (You cant put it into the freezer all warm. It will defrost your food! Don't EVEN think about it!!!) So, yeah, let it cool, and ladle into either freezer safe containers or freezer bags. I store mine in sandwich bags. I put 2 cups of stock in each bag. Then 2 sandwich bags inside of a larger freezer bag.

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The Veggie Stock recipe below is a FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC way to use up your veggies before they go bad. You can even save your veggie scraps (such as mushroom stems or asparagus and broccoli stalks) by putting them into a Ziploc bag and keeping them in the freezer. Then when you are ready to make this stock, just pull em out and go! And there are damn near no limits as to what veggies you can toss in here. You can even throw corn cobs in! Use what YOU like! Alright, here it goes...

Vegetable Stock:
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 stalks celery, including some leaves
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • fresh parsley (7-8 sprigs)
  • fresh thyme (5 or 6 sprigs)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 quarts water

  1. Scrub veggies and chop into 1-inch chunks.
  2. Heat oil in a large stock pot. Add onion, celery, carrots, scallions, garlic, parsley, thyme, and bay leaves. Cook on high heat for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring often.
  3. Add salt and water and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer gently, UN covered for 30 minutes. 
  4. Strain stock and throw away the veggies. (it's ok, we got what we wanted out of em, anyways. No harm, No foul, man)
  5. Then just follow the remaining steps from the chicken stock recipe above for cooling and storing.
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