Make your own stock

stock pot

I love winter food: risotto, soup, stews and casseroles, big cheesey pasta bakes that your husband can’t eat… mmmmm. Winter cooking starts with fabulous stock, and if you’re going to be an earth mama, this is something you should be making all the time. I was surprised to discover that not everyone knows how to makeĀ  stock, so here you go. It truly takes ten minutes of your time (five at the beginning, five at the end), and the results are far more flavoursome and nutritious than something you buy in a box. And there’s no packaging required – result!

How to make stock

If you’re a roast-on-Sundays kind of family like us, use the leftover bones – chicken, lamb, pork and beef all make lovely stock bones. Otherwise, you can buy raw bones from the butcher or supermarket. Stick them in a pot with two litres of water, a roughly chopped carrot or two, celery tops, a couple of onions, garlic, a tablespoon of black peppercorns and a couple of teaspoons of salt, plus bay leaves if you’ve got them. Allow all that to simmer while you watch a movie or until the liquid has been reduced by half.

When it’s all done and your house smells like a soup kitchen, allow to cool and store in the fridge for a few days, or freeze in portions.

Some tips:

  • Freeze your chicken carcass or bones if you don’t have time to make stock immediately. No need to defrost.
  • Keep the tops of celery – and any other veggie cuttings – and freeze them for making stock
  • Substitute with whatever veggies you have, although I love the celery flavour, which is why I freeze the tops
  • Add wine or cider vinegar for a sharper taste
  • Add any herbs you like: you can use up coriander and parsley stems
  • For an Asian-style stock, add ginger, garlic, coriander, rice wine, shallots
  • Stock is the concentrated essence of its ingredients, be sure to use quality meats and vegetables

Here is a great vegetable stock recipe that costs nothing!

I am using a totally random, but tres beautiful image of flowers in a stock pot because, quite frankly, there is no way to make a chicken carcass swimming in a pool of veggies look very pretty… photo credit: misternaxal via photopin cc

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