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Back to Basics – Homemade Stock (for free)

January 16, 2013

 

It’s a simple fact of life that store bought stock ain’t got nothin’ on the homemade variety. And don’t you even dare mention the B word…. But it is also an unfortunate fact of life that most people thing it just takes too darn long to make. Somehow forget it is worth the effort. But I am here to tell you it’s much simpler than you think. And it can be practically FREE. Yep, free.

I don’t recall where I heard it, but one of the best tips I ever learned about making stock – save your scraps. Any time you are chopping stock-worthy-vegetables, save all those little bits and pieces and peels for your next batch of stock. I’m talking carrot peels, ends of celery stalks, mushroom stems, onion & garlic skins, wilted parsley… you name it. If it sounds like it would be good in stock, keep it. Keep a gallon size freezer bag in your freezer door – and every time you have a few scraps, throw it on. Once the bag is full – its stock time. If you are going for the carnivorous variety – start saving your various cuts and scraps there as well. Buy whole chickens (its insanely cheaper anyways), save the back bone and any little trimmings. Even already roasted bones give off great flavor. Same goes for beef.

It’s basically free, and taste way better than that stuff at the store, that I promise you.

And from there its easy – fill pot with water. Add bag full of free scraps. Bring to a simmer. Cover. Walk away. Watch a movie, play a game, go outside, clean the bathroom. Whatever. And before you know it you have stock. Free stock. Better stock. Delicious stock.

And as a second, bonus stock making tip – pour stock into a muffin tin and freeze. When frozen, pop the stock out of the tin and into a freezer bag. That way when you need a little stock you don’t have to thaw a giant tub full, just grab a disc or two. In my muffin tin each spot held about 1/3 of a cup. Remember that and no future measuring needed either!

homemade_stock

For those of you anxious for stock but unable to patiently gather a bag-o-scraps, enjoy this basic recipe for delicious homemade chicken stock available immediately.

** This article was posted in The Tennessean**

BASIC HOMEMADE CHICKEN STOCK

Makes approx 4 quarts

1 chicken carcass
3 carrots, cut into 1/2 inch chunks (no need to peel)
3 ribs of celery, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1 onion, quartered
small bunch of parsley (10-15 stems)
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
8-10 whole peppercorns
1 bay leaf
2 springs fresh thyme

In a 6-8 quart stockpot add all ingredients. Turn heat to medium and let the vegetables and chicken warm through and begin to soften. After 10-15 minutes cover with at least 4 quarts of water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover pot and allow to simmer for at least 3 hours. Remove from heat and strain through a fine strainer into a clean bowl. Allow to cool in the fridge. Before freezing or using, skim any fat that has collected of the top.

***Note: this recipe purposely includes no salt. I recommend leaving the stock salt-less and seasoning as it gets used, so as to avoid over salting any future dish***

Enjoy!

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