Home made stock makes a big difference in some dishes!

Home made stock makes a big difference in some dishes, such as risotto and gravy. Others, like soups that are very flavorful on their own, don't depend on stock much, so store-bought (or just water) works well enough. But there are very few things that won't be better if you use a well-made stock from your own kitchen.

Stock is not difficult at all, it just takes time, most of it unattended. A few guidelines will help you make good stock every time.

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Contrary to what you may read in some cook books, you shouldn't use scraps from just any old vegetable. Inferior ingredients will make inferior stock. If something is too bitter or past it's prime to eat on it's own, don't throw it in the pot. The same goes for using cooking liquid from steaming vegetables from previous nights, unless it is very fresh and you are using the stock soon or freezing it.

The holy trinity of stock making is onion, carrot and celery. Good restaurants will rough-chop these three ingredients, oil a tray and coat the vegetables with the oil, lay the stock basics out in a single layer (usually bones, too), and roast them in a 450 degree oven for maybe 45 minutes before adding them to the water in the pot. Shaking the roasting pan to turn things is required. For an upgrade, I use leeks in place of onions, and you can use shallots as well. If you are planning on making a big batch of stock, a trip to Costco might be in order. Add to this trio unpeeled garlic cloves and potato and you have the basis of any vegetable stock. You can omit the roasting step to speed up the process. Once the vegetables are added to the water, parsley stems, salt and pepper are the other essential ingredients. Use about three times the volume of water to vegetables, bring to a boil and then simmer for at least half an hour and up to an hour if you can. Strain.

If you have more time for your stock, for instance if you know you will be roasting or you know you have an hour, you can add mushrooms, soy sauce, and white wine. Try an apple some time. For risotto, if your stock is dark you should decant it before you use it. After straining it, let it sit and let the darker, heavier bits settle to the bottom. Gently pour the top, more clear liquid off into another pot. You can keep the darker stock for another use.

How much stock you make depends on the size of your pot and how much you can store. You can reduce strained stock as much as you like to take up less room, and you can freeze it. If you keep it in the fridge, you can bring it back to a boil every few days and keep it until you use it up it should keep a long time. If you have the space for that, I envy you, but considering how much stock we go through, you shouldn't need to store it for long.

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Posted in Home Improvement Post Date 02/08/2019


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