Let’s get started with the most basic of ingredients, stocks.
Like a lot of basics I will cover, stocks are a building block for many different things, from sauces to soups and many other uses. Most all of the stocks are created the same way, and use pretty much the same ingredients. We will stick to classic French styles for the moment, and delve into the ethnic versions at a later date.
Why should I make stocks when they sell them already done?
First, have you ever seen the sodium content on those packages? Even the “low sodium” versions have way more than our zero salt recipe below. Next you will notice that most of them are Broth and not stock, which means they are also lacking in a lot of flavor that our most basics stocks will have. The way that stocks can freeze will make them just as convenient not to mention it makes your whole house smell wonderful!
What you need
Aside from the food stuffs, you will need a stock pot that can hold a good amount. My pot for this job is about 4 gallons, also good for lobster, by the way. Some cheesecloth and string is helpful, but not required, in addition to a large collander or strainer.
Cooking the stock
- If you are making chicken stock, you are well served to roast the bones in the oven until they are nice and golden before adding them.
- The same goes for beef as well, roast the bones or beef before adding.
- Fish we do not roast or cook. Also do not use a fatty fish like salmon. When i do a fish stock i usually use shrimp shells.
- Vegetable stock is a great way to use up old veggies. Just be aware that different veg will alter the color of your stocks. For instance, expect to have a green stock if you put alot of zucchini in it.
We need to make the Mirepoix next. This is a cornerstone of classic cooking and is the base flavor in most dishes.
For this application we will use a rough chop. It doesn’t have to be pretty, just try and make everything the same size. In this case we should need about 2-3 pounds total.
- 25% Carrots
- 25% Celery
- 50% Onions
Bouquet garnis (boo-kay gar-nee)
Normally the Bouquet Garnis is put in a sache, that is a cheesecloth bag tied off with a string to the side of the pot, kind if like a tea bag.
- 1 Bay leaf
- 1oz Black peppercorns
- 1oz Thyme
- 1 bunch parsley stems
- 2-3 cloves
Let’s get cooking
Always start your stocks with cold water. This is important because it is as pure water as you can get. First add your bones/meats/veg to the pot. Then you want to add your water to about 3/4 full.
Next we add the sachet and set it to simmer for three to four hours. A nice gentle simmer, not a boil, this needs to be a gentle process.
Feel free to skim any fat off the top of the pot while its cooking. The easier way to do this is to refrigerate the stock, which causes the fat o solidify on the top and you can easily remove it.
At last we are done. We can strain the stock to remove everything we had in it. If clear stock was important to me, i would also drain it through cheesecloth as well. I will also pick any meat and use it in soup later.
Portion it out in containers, you can also freeze it in ice cube trays for when you need a couple bits at a time! All that and Zero sodium!