A good stock is the key to cooking good food!
It takes time to draw flavors out of meat and vegetables. The liquid is a base that spreads flavor across a dish.
Key Trick: The main thing I show here is how to use a simple stainless steel utensil holder to separate/strain the stock. This is the easiest way I know without using soup bags.
---changed how we cook. Without a strainer I make stock only a few times a year... with one I do it a couple times a month.
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Step 1: Ingredients
A good stock has a variety of ingredients. In the photo I show only the key ingredients but see that I also pull from our shelf of spices as we cook.
- Stock Pot
- Utensil Holder - simple Ikea holder
- Costco Chicken Carcass - a steal at $5
- Ham Butt
- Dehydrated Mushrooms - dehydrated shiitakes add so much flavor. I only added 5 to this soup. Gives it a distinct Asian flavor.
- Salt - the pre-cooked ham has so much salt that I don't add any
- Spices: Bay Leaves, Szechuan Peppercorns, Black Pepper, Red Pepper Flakes, Cloves, Marjoram, Gram Marsala
Open Pantry. Here's how I made our kitchen shelves.
Step 2: Using a Carcass
Know that all the flavor hides in the carcass.
If you don't regularly work with a carcass it may be off putting.
This Step: Fit all the bones into the utensil holder. Don't miss any of the juices or bits that fall behind!
Step 3: At the Start
What to add at the start?
- Onions - the ends
- Carrots - the ends
- Celery - the leafy parts
- Spicy Peppers - we grew Chili Tepins this year. Loving them and the plant is doing well in a south facing window.
- Squash - guts, any parts you don't eat
- Clear the Fridge - stock is a great way to use any produce or meat that you don't think you'll cook with before they go bad.
Bones and Tendons: To help bread down bones and tendons it doesn't hurt to add some vinegar. We sometimes use white vinegar but you can also add citric acid direct. Here's an instructable from last year on why we keep citric acid handy.
---add any parts you want flavor from but don't want to eat in your finished meal.
Step 4: During the Boil
Continue adding water and makes sure all the ingredients are pushed down to the waterline. The great thing about the utensil holder is that it fits into our standard sized pot. --pretty sure it's 8 qt
Adding Ingredients: As the broth brews you can add ingredients to the boil. I typically add beans and vegetables that take a long time to cook. I also add the dehydrated mushrooms and fatty meat early.
Step 5: Finished Stock
Whether you make stock regularly or not I hope you find this makes the whole process easier. The idea of buying and trying to reuse soup bags is so unappealing...
Hope you find this an easy way to improve your cooking. Also an easy way to use items in the fridge just before they spoil. As you start making stock you find that a lot of things in the fridge that spoil can get added.
Finishing Spices: A lot of spices are best added at the end... most ground spices besides ground peppers are going to be best added in the last 15-45 min. That includes garlic, onion powder, cumin, herbs.
Fatty Stock? Separate the fat. In an earlier post I share how we reuse the fat for cooking.
Smaller holes? There are times when I find the ikea holder I use has 1/4" holes... this works well because liquid easily moves through but if anyone has found a holder with holes around 1/8 of an inch please let me know. I can add beans to the liquid outside but I can't add barley.
Thanks for reading!
Here are a few other recent instructables:
This is an entry in the
Meal Prep Challenge