Making your own stock is easy enough. Some leftover bones, a few veggies, some peppercorns and an herb or two and you are on your way. Even easier, a vegatable stock. Just skip the bones.
Building up from a good stock can make some delicious dishes. Soups, gravy’s you name it… it’s better made with stock. Now you can take the easy way out and buy it at the store, I like the organic stocks. But if you’ve got the ingredients and some left over bones or some veggies you need to use hanging around, it is so worth the effort.
When it comes to making stock the basics are the same such as roasting the bones which is optional but adds a nice flavor, always start with cold water, simmer don’t boil for at least 4 hours, veggies for flavoring, peppercorns are a must and some fresh herbs a plus. Most importantly, do not add salt. You can add the salt you need when using the stock to cook.
I normally only make enough stock to make a soup since I’m just working with a 6 quart dutch oven(large sauce pan). I used to have a stock pot but have lost track of it. But you can make large batches of stock and freeze some. When storing stock in the fridge, chill overnight then skim the fat off the top the next morning. Stock will keep in the fridge for 1 -2 weeks. When freezing stock, leave the layer of fat on the top if there is any. This will help preserve flavor and the stock. Just remove it before using.
The veggies you use to flavor your stock are up to you. The standards work well but you can really use anything, you’ll be straining them out of the stock and discarding them anyway. The best part about the veggies is easy prep – you have to wash your veggies and chop in big pieces. You don’t need to peel the carrots just cut tops off, you definitely want to use the leaves on the celery they have great flavor, cut the veggies in nice big chunks…it’s just so easy.
Last but not least, the bones. You can ask your local butcher for bones, save bones from a roast, chicken, ham, etc. The recommended amount of bones to use vary. My preference is 2-4 lbs. The bone from a 11 pound shoulder ham makes a perfect ham stock. You can make a decent chicken or turkey stock with one carcas. For chicken stock, I prefer to buy legs or thighs, roast with meat on in oven, remove most of meat from bones for chicken salad and leave the rest on bones for the stock. It’s all to your preference once you have the basic guidelines.
Ok on to the recipe. Remember this is for a 6 quart pan, if making in a larger pan just increase the ingredients in the recipe and you should develop some tasty stock. Simmer on.
- 2-4 lbs bones - Ham, Beef or Chicken
- 3 stalks Celery
- 3 Carrots
- 1 small Onion or half of a Sweet Onion
- 5 cloves garlic (crushed and cut in half)
- 1 TBS Black Peppercorns
- 1 - 2 Bay Leaves
- 1 tsp Parsley
- 1 tsp Cilanto
- Cold Water
- You can roast the bones and veggies in the oven for 15 -20 minutes at 350 before simmering your stock. This step can add a very nice flavor but is not required. See instructions below to roast before simmering stock.
- Wash celery and carrots. Cut off ends of carrots and celery and discard. Do not discard the celery leaves. Cut carrots and celery into large pieces.
- Peel garlic, crush and cut in half.
- Peel onion and cut into chunks.
- Place bones, celery, celery leaves, carrots, garlic, onions, bay leaves, peppercorns, parsley and cilantro into a 6 quart dutch oven.
- Add cold water until all bones and veggies are covered. You can fill pan about 80 percent.
- Cover pan and bring to boil on med-high to high heat. Keep a very close eye on it. As soon as it starts to boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 4 - 8 hours. Checking water level every hour. If level goes down, add a little more water.
- Remove from heat and let cool for 30 minutes.
- Place a strainer in another dutch oven, using a slotted spoon scoop some of the larger chunks and bones into the strainer. When most large chunks have been transfered, slowly pour whats left in the stock pan into the strainer.
- Very carefully remove the strainer from the pan, allowing the stock to drip.
- At this point you can discard the veggies and bones used to make the stock or you can pick the boiled meat out of the stock strainer and add it to a soup.
- You can either use your stock immediately to make a soup or you can let the strained stock cool to room temperature then place in fridge over night. Remove any fat layer that may form on the top of stock before using.
- Leave fat layer on for storage, both in fridge and freezer.
- You can roast the bones and veggies in the oven for 15 -20 minutes at 350 before simmering your stock. This step can add a very nice flavor but is not required.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Coat roasting pan with olive oil, spread onions, celery, carrots and bones in pan, drizzle with olive oil, toss and place in preheated oven.
- While veggies and bones are roasting get your 6 qt dutch oven ready by adding garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns, parsley and cilantro.
- After 15-20 minutes remove veggies and bones from oven and transfer to the dutch oven.
- Follow instructions above starting at step 5.