Stocks  aren’t just for soups, you can use them for everything from sauces and gravies, to flavor boosters in pasta dishes and stir frys. Stocks are easy to prepare as they don’t need a lot of attention, and great to have a few on hand in the freezer. When making stock a good rule of thumb is to have about half solid ingredients to half water.  Roasting your ingredients first will add a depth and richness to your stocks, but it’s not necessary. Add a tablespoon or so of whole black peppercorns, a tablespoon of kosher salt, and a bay leaf or two along with some fresh parsley. Cover your ingredients with the water, bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for about an hour. Cool and strain. I like to freeze small amounts of stock in little baggies or an ice cube tray to use to boost a sauce or add flavor to dishes. Otherwise, I freeze in one or two quart containers to use for soups.

Vegetable Stock I
With a few exceptions, you can use all kinds of vegetables to make a veggie stock. Making vegetable stock is a great way to clean out the refrigerator and to use all those butt ends of veggies that might be relegated to compost. When I was in the professional food world, we used to keep a vegetable stock going on the stove 24/7. The few things we didn’t throw in were things that might foul the stock, like eggplant or potato skins, or things that might overpower, like tomatoes.  Other than those, we threw in lettuce pieces, ends of parsnips or carrots, the base of the celery, ends of onions, parsley stalks, etc.  Start saving peels and trimmings when you cook, they can go into a covered dish in the fridge for up to a week before you’re ready to make stock. Some excellent vegetables to use are: parsnips, onions, garlic, sweet potatoes, squash, carrots, celery, mushrooms, peas, turnips, corn cobs, parsley, green beans, bell peppers, scallions, green onions, shallots, fresh basil – and on and on. A note about tomatoes – feel free to use them, but be judicious – they might not taste good in a stock intended for some soups.

Vegetable Stock II

This recipe is for when you want soup soon – it’s a great base for purees as you sauté all first, then simmer, then either strain or puree as a base for another soup.

1T. olive oil

1 large onion, diced, or 4 shallots diced

2 stalks celery, including some leaves, diced

2 large carrots, diced

2 parsnips, diced

1 bunch green onions, chopped

8 cloves garlic, minced

8 sprigs fresh parsley

6 sprigs fresh thyme

1 bay leaf

1 t. salt

1t. black pepper

2 quarts water

Heat oil in a soup pot. Add your chopped vegetables, and cook over high heat for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently and letting the vegetables brown slightly.

Add salt, water, herbs and bay leaf, and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

At this point you will remove the herbs and the bay leaf, and cool, strain and discard vegetables. Or you can puree the entire concoction and eat it as is, use as a base for another soup.

Poultry Stock
I roast a chicken once a week, and as soon as we’re done eating I generally remove all the remaining meat and make stock immediately, or I freeze the carcass until I have two or three to make a bigger stock. If you need to buy chicken or turkey parts, stick to inexpensive backs and necks, and roast them first in a 375º oven for 45 minutes for a richer flavored stock. As for the vegetables that go into poultry stock, you can use whole fresh ones, or leftover scraps.

4 or 5 Lbs. of chicken or turkey carcasses, parts or meaty bones

1 large onion, skin on, quartered

4  large carrots, quartered

2 parsnips, quartered

3 or 4 stalks celery, or the base of a bunch of celery, and some leaves

1 whole head of garlic, cut in half

1 bunch of parsley, stems and all

2 bay leaves

1 T. whole black peppercorns

1 T. kosher salt

Put all your ingredients into a pot, cover with cold water, and simmer for about two hours. Periodically skim off the foam as it rises to the top of your pot. When finished cooking, strain the broth and refrigerate for a few hours. Any fat in the broth will congeal at the top and can be easily strained off. Your stock is now ready for use or for the freezer.

Meat Stock
Since you will want most meat stocks to be dark and rich, I recommend roasting your meat, bones and vegetables for about 45 minutes in a 450° oven, before adding them to your stock pot and adding water. You can make meat stock without this step, however, it will simply have a lighter color and not as rich a flavor.

As with all the stocks here, you can use either whole vegetables, or scraps, as we did when making vegetable stock. Just use an approximate equivalent amount of scraps instead of the whole vegetables.

So, here is a basic recipe for meat stock.

Add your ingredients to your stock pot and simmer, stirring occasionally for about 4 hours. Add more water if necessary to keep the ingredients covered. Strain out the solid ingredients and refrigerate stock for a few hours. The fat layer can easily be skimmed off the chilled stock, making it ready for use or the freezer.

Seafood Stock
Seafood stock comes in handy for many recipes. You can use any inexpensive white fish scraps, bones and trimmings (your seafood market or grocery store probably sells fish packaged for just this purpose). You can also use crab, shrimp and lobster shells for adding flavor to seafood stocks.

Melt butter in bottom of stock pot and sauté onion, garlic and celery for about 5 minutes or until soft. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for about an hour. Periodically skim off foam that will appear at the top of pot. Cool and strain out solid ingredients. Your stock is now ready for use or for the freezer.

Meat Stock
Meat stocks are generally dark and rich, so I recommend roasting all bones and vegetables for about 45 minutes in a 375° oven, before they go into a stockpot. You can make a much lighter meat stock by using only fresh bones and veggies, it will be lighter in both color and flavor.

5 Lbs. of meat and bones, either cooked or uncooked, this can include beef, veal, lamb, pork or ham

2 large onions, quartered

4 large carrots, quartered

4 stalks celery, or the base of a bunch of celery

1 head of garlic, cut in half

2 large tomatoes, quartered

4 bay leaves

1 T. whole black peppercorns

1T. kosher salt

1 bunch fresh parsley

1 to 2 gallons cold water

Add your ingredients to your stock pot and simmer, stirring occasionally for about 4 hours. Add more water if necessary to keep the ingredients covered. Strain out the solid ingredients and refrigerate stock for a few hours. The fat layer can easily be skimmed off the chilled stock, making it ready for use or the freezer.


Stephanie Cameron

Stephanie Cameron

Edible celebrates New Mexico's food culture, season by season. We believe that knowing where our food comes from is a powerful thing. With our high-quality, aesthetically pleasing and informative publication, we inspire readers to support and celebrate the growers, producers, chefs, beverage and food artisans, and other food professionals in our community.
Stephanie Cameron

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