“Stock” broker

3 Aug

Stocks are underrated. I know that it’s not the most exciting thing, but the truth is that without a good foundation like a stock your dish will taste lack-luster and flat. Now before you stop reading, keep in mind that the color white is not particularly exciting, until you go to the hardware store and see 50 different choices for white.

Basic stock is like a blank canvas. When you start with bones, water and a few vegetables, you get back a flavorful liquid that can and will enhance any dish that you add it too. It sounds like a no brainer right? Well, if it’s so simple, why are so many people wasting money on bad imitation broths and boxes? The soup aisle at the grocery store is full of cans and boxes of liquid that claim to add flavor to your dishes but, they are really just adding salt. Why else would some of them say low sodium? When you make your own stock you can regulate the salt and everything else that goes in. And for me, that is enough.

Look at the 4 main ingredients, bones, water, vegetables, and flavorings. First, bones. You want to use bones that contain a lot of gelatin. These are mostly leg, joint and back bones. Of course, anything you can add into the stock will add flavor and that is the goal. These miscellaneous items include wing tips, fish heads, and shrimp shells. Of course you’ll want to stick to one animal at a time as not to complicate the flavors too much. You also want to roast your selected bones prior to adding them to the pot. The roasting process will bring out underlying flavors.

Next, the water. Make sure the water cold and filtered. Cold water will allow the stock to come to temperature all at once and will extract the gelatin slowly.

Choose your vegetables wisely. Anything you add to the pot will add flavor. If your stock is going into some homey chicken noodle you don’t want to add ingredients like lemongrass or ginger. Of course mire poix is traditional (1 part carrot, 1 part celery, and 2 parts onions.) I like to add flavorings that will enhance my end product. For example, I just made a duck stock for duckling l’orange. I added oranges and a little fennel into the stock to up the flavor. I sometimes add garlic, and shallots, or anything else I need to use up in the fridge.

Herbs and spices work similarly to the vegetables. Traditionally, you would use a boquet garni which is peppercorns, parsley stems, and thyme wrapped in cheese cloth. I like to add leeks and rosemary to some of my stocks to really jazz things up.

Whatever the stock, you want cook it slowly, don’t let it boil or the gelatins will fall apart and the stock will be low in quality. Let your stocks cook for 2-3 hours, strain and then cool before storing.

Once you’ve started making your own stock, you’ll never go back to cans

Always thinking of the next meal

-Katie

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