In my last post, a simple roast chicken, I confessed that the reason I decided to make a roast chicken was to have enough bones to make a nice big pot of stock. A huge plus of the recipe I used for the chicken is that you place the peel of a lemon in it to roast, which adds great flavour when added to the to the stock too, what a bonus!! I love having home made stock on hand, usually frozen in portions, to add depth to any recipe that calls for it; much more than from supermarket stock cubes.
To make a stock you just need some old bones, an onion, some garlic, any peelings, the odd old vegetable (such as a carrot) and any herbs, peel or anything else you wish to add, Parmesan peel/crust works great too!Weekends when I know I’m going to do lots of cooking, I have a ‘stock tub’ on hand to store anything that might be wasted (peelings etc) and I make a habit of freezing any bones from any meat we eat during the week, ready for an impromptu stock day. Home made stock really is a great way to absolutely make the most of your food, a way to recycle your waste even; you can’t get much more resourceful than that! Another great bonus with home made stock is that it isn’t full off salt or any hidden ingredients/preservatives.
There isn’t really a recipe for stock, just a general method, you really can add whatever you like. In this stock pot I had the bones from pork ribs, chicken thighs and the carcass of a roast chicken, along with a quarter onion (skin on), 3 cloves of garlic (skin on), lemon peel and bay leaves out of the roast chicken, rosemary and a carrot. I didn’t put any peelings in this pot but I usually do, it is a great way to add flavour and nutrients without putting whole vegetables in.
Another tip, that I learned from Russ Crandall is to brown the bones in an oven for 20 minutes, I put them in at about 180°C.
Once you’ve got all your bones, peel, onion etc in the pot, cover it with water until there is about an inch of water above the contents of the pan. Bring to the boil and then cover, lower the temperature and leave to simmer for at least two hours. Stock can be left to simmer for 2-12 hours or even in the oven over night. The longer it is left, the better the flavour.
Once simmered, strain the stock and discard the bones and vegetables and store your stock in approximately cup sized portions and refrigerate or freeze, ready to use as required.