Thursday, October 21, 2010

stock tips

    When I was growing up, my mom would never dream of discarding the carcass of a bird or bones from a roast without extracting everything out of them first. To this day, in fact, even though she lives alone and cooks mainly for herself, my mother makes homemade stock. 
      Making your own broth or stock is simple. Long after a sumptuous meal of roasted chicken, whether cooked in your own oven or a rotisserie bird from the market, the fowl in question continues to contribute to your menu plan, budget and health. You can easily produce a stock that is far superior to store-bought brands. 
     As the weather cools and we reach for an extra blanket, nothing says lovin' like something from the soup pot... oops. That didn't rhyme! 
     But it's so true. The tomato crops are waning. Firewood is stacked neatly outside the local market hinting of brisk days to come.
     So come on. Drag out that big, ole pot and dust it off. Your family will sing your praises with every spoonful of homemade soup they put in their mouths:) With the money you save, you're that much closer to those new boots you've been eyeing...
Chicken Stock
Chicken carcass (Bones and skin, leftover from roasted chicken)
One large onion, quartered
2 or 3 carrots, halved
2 stalks celery with leaves
2 cloves garlic, slightly crushed
2 bay leaves
A few stalks of fresh parsley
1 t. whole peppercorns
½ c. dry white wine (optional)
1 t. salt
4-5 quarts of water
Place carcass in a deep stockpot with all other ingredients. Don't bother to neatly chop the vegetables. They will be discarded when you strain the finished broth. Make sure the bones and veggies are completely immersed in water. Bring to slow boil on medium heat. Reduce and simmer uncovered for 3-4 hours or until dark, rich gold in color. Taste for salt content. Adjust if needed. Let cool in refrigerator, then skim fat off top. (To de-fat further, pour stock through a large colander filled with ice cubes, set over a large pot or bowl.) Will keep in refrigerator for up to 5 days or can be frozen in small containers for future use.
Beef Stock
2 T. olive oil
3 pounds beef or veal with bones
3 pounds lean stew beef, chuck, sirloin or bottom round
3 carrots, sliced
3 stalks celery with leaves, cut up
Large onion, quartered
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 bay leaves
1 t. whole black peppercorns
Several sprigs fresh parsley
½ t. dried thyme
½ c. dry red wine
4-5 quarts water
Preheat oven to 375. Pour oil into large, shallow roasting pan. Place bones and meat in pan, coating with oil. Roast uncovered for 30 minutes.
Add remaining ingredients, except wine and water. Roast 30 minutes more. Place meat and vegetables into a large stockpot. Place roasting pan on burner and pour wine in pan. Scrape up any bits from bottom of pan. Add 1 quart of the water to wine and bring to a boil over medium heat.
Pour contents into stockpot and add additional water to cover meat and bones. Slowly bring to boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered 3-4 hours.
Skim off film as it rises to surface. Strain stock through a fine sieve. Refrigerate for several hours to solidify fat. Remove from surface. Stock can be used in up to 5 days refrigerated or can be frozen in small batches for later use.
Variations:
Beef Glace’:
Place 1 quart of the beef stock into a small saucepan. Cook uncovered over medium heat for 1 to 1 ½ hours. As stock is reduced, it will become slightly thick and syrupy. (It will coat the back of a metal spoon.) When cooled, it will solidify.
Faster method:
Use leftover beef bones from oven roast instead of roasting just bones. Add to water and other ingredients in stockpot. Simmer as directed.

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