Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Making Homemade Stock (Meat & Poultry)

Stock is an excellent way of getting a storecupboard ingredient for pennies, using up your leftovers to make the meals of tomorrow. This isn't your posh stock, it's rough and ready homemade stuff, but I've never been let down by it and it is perfect in the majority of dishes.

I don't make a little stock often, I make a lot of stock irregularly. Whenever I have bones left over from a meal (cooked or uncooked), they go into a baggie in the freezer alongside the leftovers from previous meals. I end up with a chicken baggie, a lamb baggie and so on. 

I also have a parsley stalk baggie, into which I put all of those stalks which would otherwise get thrown away. I don't freeze that one (although I could if I blanched the stalks), you'd be surprised at how long these last in the fridge - if you're careful to squeeze out as much of the air as possible.

When I have enough of one type of bones stockpiled, and know I'm going to be in the house for a few hours, I make stock.
This time I made chicken stock, because I had got a good stockpile plus giblets from the chicken I was roasting for dinner. I also planned to use the leftover meat from dinner to make a risotto and I'd need stock for that.

No matter which bones you're using, the format of basic stock is pretty much the same:
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Onion
  • Bay leaves
  • Parsley stalks
  • Whole peppercorns
  • Cold water

That's it. Shove the bones and other ingredients in a big pan and cover them with water. Bring to the boil, turn down to a gentle simmer and leave for a couple of hours. Check it every so often to make sure it isn't evaporating too quickly, if it is add a little bit more water and put it on a lower heat.

When ready, drain it through a sieve and leave to go cold. Pour it into some old plastic containers and freeze what you aren't going to use in the next few days. Whenever you need stock just take it out to defrost the night before.

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