Saturday, October 22, 2011

Home made stocks

There is nothing better when making soup, than using stock you made yourself!

Step one:

Heat oven to 425 degrees.

I use a large roasting pan and put in the specific beef or chicken. depending on what type of stock I am making. My roasting pan is 12x18 inches and 3 inches deep.

I put in 2 large carrots scrubbed (not peeled) cut in half and 3 celery stalks cut in half. I quarter 2 large onions. I like to leave on the skin as it adds colour. I wash the onion as well as I can but if the skin looks stained then I would peel the onion. I add about 5 cloves of garlic. again I don't peel just rinse under the tap. Then drizzle about 3 tablespoons of olive oil over all the vegetables and bones. Do not cover. Put the pan in the oven for about 45 -60 minutes or till the vegetables have softened and the bones look browned. This will be more obvious with the chicken parts than the beef bones as the chicken parts have more fat etc to turn golden.

Step 2:

Remove pan from oven and place on stove top. Mine covers two burners. Put as much water in as you can and not have it spill over. I use about 16 cups. So make sure you have a large roasting pan. Add a couple of bay leaves and a huge pinch of thyme, and about 10 whole pepper corns Bring to a slow boil and simmer it for 60 to 75 minutes or till you can see that some of the liquid has evaporated. Remember do not cover or it will not evaporate.

Step three:

This is the messy part:o). With a slotted spoon remove the bones and vegetables. I like to put a colander in a large bowl and put the bones, vegetables into there. That way I can keep the liquid that drips off them. Once you have removed most of the stuff I then dump them into a garbage bag to get them out of the way for the stock. I lift the cooled pan and pour the stock though a strainer into a large HUGE measuring cup. (I use an 8 cup and a 4 cup but I sometimes need to use two 8 cup ones)Today I got 12 cups of liquid and had to use two measuring cups . I usually strain it a couple of times in a very small sieve type strainer to get rid of all the little bits of stuff.

Put it in the fridge to cool and clean up the mess that you will have made. Remember it's still worth it.

Step four:

Later that day, or the next day with a spoon, remove the fat that will have risen to the top and hardened and throw it away. I then figure out what I am using it for. My favourite winter soup recipes all use about 4-6 cups of chicken stock so I would put 4 cups into two Tupperware containers and then put the rest into ice cube trays that I bought just for stock. When they are frozen I would push them out into a zip bag and use for stir fry's and sautéing vegetables like I me mentioned earlier. Remember to write with a sharpie pen what's in it as the stocks can look alike. I use chicken stock more but always have beef ready in the freezer for shepherds pie or making a roast etc.

It is important to remember that you put no salt in this. You will need to add salt in order for it to be tasty the key is that you get to decide how much and not someone else. That is the attraction for me. My family have been eating a low sodium diet now for a couple of years so they have gotten used to less salt. Just add a bit as you cook and then you will know if you need more. Remember that even if you add 2 teaspoons to a four cup amount of stock that is still about a third of what would be in store bought stock. The roasting of the bones adds a great colour and intensify the flavour.


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