Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Stock

I think someone asked about stock. Here's what I do.

A la Nigella Lawson, I freeze all my bone scraps. When I roast a chicken, I freeze the carcass (sometimes including bones off people's plates). Same with turkey and, from Christmas, the goose and duck carcassas. I also save lamb bones and any other kind of bone we happen to have eaten. I sock them away in the freezer, and basically, over the course of a few months, I gather enough bones/carcassas to fill my large stock pot. The morning of stock day, I take them all out and dump them in (frozen) adding carrots, celery, onions (whole), italian parsley, whole pepper corns, a little salt (not much at all), fresh tyhme, whole garlic and sometimes whole cloves. I fill the pot with water (to the very top-it will bubble over a little, but it's worth it) and turn it on high. Sometimes I remember to run back and scoop off the muck as it comes a boil, but mostly I forget. When I can hear it spilling over the sides I run back and turn it on low, as low as low, and let it simmer for the rest of the day. Around 5pm or so I try to remember to turn it off and push it off the burner (by this time its reduced down by an inch or two). I let it sit through supper and into the evening, and then between 10 and 11pm, when everything else is done and cleaned up, I strain it (I don't bother to strain through a cheese cloth, although that would be a sensible and worthwhile thing to do) and portion it out into 3 or 4 cup, 1 cup and 1/2 cup tupperware containers. Then I jam it all in the freezer. Then I have to seriously scrub the stove, pick the remaining meat off the bones for soup, and soak the stock pot over night. If I had my wits about me, after the stock froze I'd take it out of the tupperwares and bag it, but I never bother. When the freezer is empty of stock, and all the containers are back in the cupboard, and I have carcasses piling up, I know its time to make stock again. This probably sounds like a lot of work, but actually, it takes three minutes to shove everything in the pot in the morning, and maybe a half hour/45 minutes at night (depending on interruptions) every 3 to 6 months. And it so rich and golden and better than anything I've picked up in the store. It adds depth and dimension to soup/sauce/gravy/everything. And its restful, like most all my full day cooking projects.

1 comment:

Matthew said...

Thank you for this post! I've never made stock and I think your account of how it's done will push me over the edge.