Stock making is a critical part of cooking for a real food kitchen. Many of you are just starting out but I have a lot of readers who make stock regularly for the health benefits as well. I am going to share my Dos and Don’ts for making a really killer stock that gels and jiggles! These tips are from my eBook The Homemade Mommy Handbook, which is chock full of tips and tricks to cooking real food the traditional way.
…Here are some reasons for making homemade stock
Using stock will instantly add umami flavors to your recipes. Making bone stock is also very economical because bones are inexpensive. Any meats added to the mix can be used for other recipes later like salads or enchiladas. Stocks are perfect to use for cooking rice, making soups and stews and for making pan sauces.
Stock is full of beneficial nutrients as well. Many traditional real foodies drink stock like ‘tea’ daily for breakfast as a tonic. I do this with chicken stock because I love the flavor but have never been able to just drink beef stock straight!
There are two types of stocks: white and brown.
White stocks are made by simmering meaty bones and bones with vegetables and herbs. Brown stocks are prepared by first roasting the meats and bones. Roasting the bones first adds more complex flavors to the finished stock. Veal and chicken stocks are traditionally white stocks (not roasted), while beef stock is traditionally brown (roasted).
Alright…let’s get to the reason why you are here: The Do’s and Don’ts to Stock-making. Following these tips will help you achieve a nice gel to your stock and also ensure it tastes delicious!
Stock-making Do’s and Don’ts
- DO start with COLD liquid when filling the pot.
- DON’T ever allow a stock to get to a roaring boil. The stock should be heated slowly to only a calm simmer. At a slow simmer, scum will rise to the top and can be skimmed off. If the water boils, the scum will churn back into the stock and become emulsified. The resulting stock will be muddy and have a greasy, off-putting flavor.
- DO skim scum and fat from the simmering stock every 15-30 minutes for the first hour. For the next few hours the stock can be skimmed once every hour. After that point the stock can be left alone to simmer for a total of 18-24 hours for chicken or veal stock and 24-48 hours for beef stock.
- DON’T overfill your pot with too much liquid. The higher the proportion of solid ingredients to liquid ingredients, the more flavorful the stock will become. It is best to use only enough liquid to come three quarters of the way up to the top of the ingredients.
- DON’T move the contents of the stock during cooking. Just let them be. As the stock cooks, the scummy proteins settle along the bottom and sides of the pot. If the stock is disturbed, these solids will break up and cloud the stock.
- DON’T press on the ingredients when straining. It is best to let them drain naturally.
- DO make sure to cool large batches of stock by chilling the stock in an ice-bath to chill it before refrigerating or it will raise the temperature of your entire fridge.
Other Time and Money Saving Tips
- Save onion ends, celery ends and carrot ends and peels and freeze them. When it is time to make stock, you can use these scraps without having to make a special trip to the market.
- Always have stock on hand for use in various recipes. Store in the freezer in 1-2 cup containers for easy and quick thawing.
- Keep the ladle in a bowl next to your stockpot to make it convenient to skim.
Want More Tips and Techniques for Real Food Cooking?
Check out The Homemade Mommy Handbook and learn how to do all kinds of things in your kitchen including:
- How to roast, braise, steam, grill and saute anything
- How to dry and store herbs and spices and see what they pair nicely with
- All about fermented foods
- 60+ recipes to get you started!
Get your copy today and start cooking like a Homemade Mommy.