Homemade Stock

Winter is here and it’s time for warm, hearty dishes like stews, risottos, casseroles and soups.    What all these dishes have in common is that they have as an ingredient beef, chicken, fish or vegetable stock.  Whilst it may not be the main ingredient, the quality of the stock greatly affect the final result of these dishes.

There are many options for Stock but neither Campbell nor any other store bough stock taste like homemade and I find it very unlikely anyone would be using them in a professional kitchen.
It is amazing the things you find or better, not find, on stock labels:  in a 2009 chicken Stock review from Choice for example, a whopping 16 out of 25 brands had no animal products in them – yes, that’s right, 16 out of 25 chicken stocks reviewed didn’t have any chicken!  And I will not even start talking about enhancers like MSG, artificial flavors, colors and preservatives.  
Not that I don’t use store bought stock in my kitchen, just like everybody I don’t always have time to make it from scratch.    Whenever using the store bought “stuff” I use liquid ones such as Gravlax or salt reduced Campbell.   I am also aware that they ain’t no good either!   Both are reconstituted (water added) and even the salt reduced Campbell has an absurd amount of sodium (650mg per 250ml) but at least they have real beef and chicken.  By the way, Gluten Free intolerant, Campbell has Gluten.
There are much better brands like Maggie Beer but frankly, what housewife would pay 11 dollars for 500ml of Stock?
Point is, making your own homemade stock might be a time consuming thing but is indeed the cheaper and healthier option.     With a few cheap ingredients you can easily make 3 litres and if you have some extra space in your freezer, Voila!  It freezes very well and you can have nice homemade stock available at any time for your culinary adventures. 
Today I will be sharing with you my Beef and Chicken Stock recipes.   Feel free to add your own touch with different herbs and spices.
Beef Stock (About 3l)

1.5Kg of Beef Bones with some nice bit scraps and marrow, all cut in bits.   You can also add some bacon bones for some “smoky”  flavour.
1 Onion peeled and quartered
2 Carrots roughly chopped
1 Leek roughly chopped

3 Celery Stalk roughly chopped
2-3 Garlic Cloves Peeled

3.5 Litres water
1 Tablespoons Tomato extract

1 bouquet garni with:  few fresh rosemary stalks, thyme springs, fresh oregano stalks and bay leaves.
1 Teaspoon Black Peppercorns (whole)
3 Cloves

Pre-heat the oven to 220C.
Put the bones in a tray large enough to have the vegetables added later.

Roast the bones for about 40 min, add the carrots, celery, leek, garlic and onion to the tray.    Roast for more 20 min. 
Transfer the caramelized bones and vegetables to a large pot with 3.5 liters of water.   Stir in the tomato extract, the bouquet garni, cloves and the black peppercorns.   

Add about half cup of water to the tray you used to roast the bones and with a wood spoon scrape all the browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.    Pour the bits and water into the stock pot.
Bring it to boil, reduce the heat and allow it to simmer, partially covered for about 4 hours.   During this time spoon out the fat and any scum that rises to the surface.



Strain the broth.   Press the vegetables with the back of a ladle to make sure all juices are in the stock.     Discard the solids. 

Put the Stock in the fridge covered with plastic wrap, until the fat has risen to the top and solidified.   Remove the solidified fat with a spoon.

Taste the stock; if it is not too strong reduce it to your liking over medium heat.    If you wish add salt - I prefer to leave it without salt and add salt during the preparation of the dishes.

It lasts up to three days in the fridge or you can keep it in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Chicken Stock (About1.5l)

750g Chicken Carcass with some meat on it (Sunday chicken leftovers will work just well)
2 Onion peeled and quartered
2 Carrots roughly chopped
3 Celery Stalk roughly choppe
2 Litres water
1 bouquet garni with:  few fresh rosemary stalks, thyme springs, fresh oregano stalks and bay leaves.
1 Teaspoon Black Peppercorns (whole)
1 Star Aniseed (Optional, my special touch)
Put all ingredients into a large pot.  

Bring it to boil, reduce the heat and allow it to simmer, partially covered for about 3 hours.   During this time spoon out the fat and any scum that rises to the surface.
Strain the broth.   Press the vegetables with the back of a ladle to make sure all juices are in the stock.     Discard the solids. 
Put the Stock in the fridge covered with plastic wrap, until the fat has risen to the top and solidified.   Remove the solidified fat with a spoon.

Taste the stock; if it is not too strong reduce it to your liking over medium heat.    If you wish add salt - I prefer to leave it without salt and add salt during the preparation of the dishes.
It lasts up to three days in the fridge or you can keep it in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Rachel Elich

Rachel Elich is a globetrotting, computer engineer, project manager, designer, untamed cook extraordinaire who backpacks around the world. Along the way on adventures, Rachel has adopted and incorporated international influences into all aspects of her creative work endeavours.

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