Friday, April 24, 2009

What is the deal with Stock?

And I am not talking about the stock associated with futures or bears and that stuff. I am talking about simmering bones, herbs and some vegetables to make the base for sauces and soups. Who makes their own stock these days? I do, I save bones and kitchen scraps. I mean if I had a compost pile I would toss them in. But my wife has a problem with animals that scurry about. But later for that, a good stock can be the difference between an average meal and great one. Great food starts out with the right ingredients and a good stock. That is what I think.

A stock, broth, fumet, and a consommé all start with bones. Bones can be roasted or just added to the water. When boiled the connective tissue breaks down to gelatin, which thickens the stock. If meat is used it is generally referred to as a broth.

There is also the addition of vegetables mostly carrot, celery, and onions. These are the classic combination but one could add leeks, ginger and mushrooms. Whatever combination serves your purpose. I always have a Ziploc bag of scraps in my freezer. When the bag is full I make stock, it is just that simple. I mean who is going to eat the carrot shavings and celery ends.

Herbs to me are glue that binds everything together. A classic ” bouquet garni” which is a bundle of herbs. I use parsley stems (kitchen scraps), bay leaves and some thyme sprigs, and a couple of black peppercorns. I put mine in cheesecloth and tie it up with butcher twine like a tea bag.

Stock is not and should not be Intimidating to the novice or expert. To me it is part of the growth of a foodie or a passionate home chef who loves to cook. You toss all the ingredients in a pot cover with water and bring up to a boil and then slowly drop to a simmer. You simmer after the first boil to keep it clear. Skimming occasionally also help keep the stock it clears. Cool it on the stove and then the fridge to skim the fat layer on the top. Store it 1 cup containers and label. Or store them in ice tray and freeze them individually. So I say in these harsh economic times spend wisely, take your lunch to work and make stock.


  1. I'm terrible at stock. I tried a few times but always end up adding a big can of store bought to my mess of a concoction to make it taste better. I'll keep trying. Great tips!

  2. Your dishes are beautifully presented and looks delicious! Great recipe! You should put them all in a recipe book. I love to cook and this is truly amazing.