How To Make The Perfect Stock
TL;DR Throw a bunch of stuff in a pot and add water. Part of a series of simple and classic dishes designed to help teach those who are intimidated by the actual thought of cooking.
There is a real tragedy happening right now, and it's that the people of the world do not know how to make the perfect stock. The simplest of simple dishes, stock is the cornerstone of cooking. It also happens to be a great way to hone some kitchen skills for new learners. Plus, what's more comforting than a nice soup made with homemade stock?
First, Get Thee Thy Ingredients, Young Chef!
So What Do I Actually Need?
Here are the BASIC ingredients you need. Again, do not feel tied to any one of these--feel free to add or subtract as is to your taste.
- Leftover bones from chicken carcass, steak, ham, etc.
- Alternatively, you can get chicken parts or a full chicken. Generally you won't want to make stock from a nice piece of beef--though cheap bone-in cuts are fine.
- 1 large onion or 2 small onions, cut in half with skins on
- A couple of carrots, peeled and cut into thick slices
- A couple of sticks of celery cut into large chunks
- A shallot
- A few parsnips
- Garlic (I didn't use this below though I LOVE garlic--some find it too intense, so use what you're comfortable with)
- A cabbage leaf
- A bay leaf
SPICE UP YOUR LIFE
- Salt 1 tsp-1tbl
- Whole peppercorns
- Whole allspice
- Whole cloves
Don't You Know, Veg It Up. You Got To Veg It Up.
Pass The Herb, Yo.
Fennel, A.K.A. Soup Crack.
Wear Comfy Clothes.
Put Stuff In The Pot!
Just Keep Skimming, Just Keep Skimming.
Meanwhile, In Veggieville...
While I wait for everything to boil, I've been occupying myself chopping up the vegetables I'm going to be using. In this case, 1 turnip, 5 carrot, 3 celery sticks and 2 leeks. Please don't go back to my other picture and point out there were different amounts of these things, the amounts don't really matter at all. Whatever you have, just throw it in. Don't stress too much about it. It's all going to be juuuusttt finee. Any way you stock it, that's the way you need it, any way you stock it.
Take a moment and have a beer. Relax. Commune with your vegetables. Ask them nicely if they'll make a good stock for you. Proceed.
Don't Forget To Make A Freezer Bag!
Back To You, Pot.
While You Wait, Put Away Your Excess Herbs.
Gotta Keep 'Em Separated!
I separated out the chicken and shredded it so that I could add it into a soup later or even make chicken salad with it. SO MANY CHOICES! So many meal possibilities. If you went whole chicken like me, be careful of all the little rib bones. I sifted through it with my hands because I trust my hands more than my eyes!
Knock knock. Who's there? Stock. Stock who? Stock what you're doing and take a look at this stock! From here you can keep it refrigerated for about a week or so or freeze for a few months. I made some noodles and added some of the chicken I shredded as well as the carrots. I also sprinkled some chopped dill on top (not pictured but very much in my tummy).
And that's it! You're done! You're a STOCK CHAMPION! If you have any personal tips or tricks, or maybe family traditions for making stock, please share in the comments.