Thursday, January 13, 2011

Homemade Stock

I try my best to use every last bit of everything that enters my house. Fabric gets tucked away for future projects, wrapping paper gets labouriously rescued to wrap once again, scrap paper becomes note pads, green trimmings become rabbit food, excess produce becomes marmalade, chutney or dinner, and meat bones become stock. Stock is healthy and simple to make, and something I believe everyone should get in the habit of doing. Read the back of your Maggi stock next time you are mixing some up for soup or risotto, as ask yourself if you really want all of those chemicals going into your body. Trust me, you don't; especially not when there is an alternative.  This basic process can be altered to suit your needs. Stock can be made with any bones, or, completely vegetarian. I like to add a lot of herbs to mine, as I find it makes the end flavour richer, but again, this can be altered to suit your tastes.

If I don't have time to make stock when we have eaten chicken, I will freeze the carcass whole, along with some carrots and celery, so it is pretty much all ready to go in a pot when I have a bit of spare time.

Basic Chicken Stock
1 chicken carcass, leftover from the roast
A few carrots (if fresh, leave the tops on)
An onion, peeled and halved
A few stalks of celery, leaves included
Herbs and spices of your choice- I use any herbs I currently have in the garden, usually a combo of rosemary, parsley, lemonbalm, mint, sage, thyme and oregano, a bay leaf, and a few peppercorns
Water to cover

Boil all ingredients for an hour or so. Stock can also be made in a crockpot, which is even easier! Strain and discard bones and vegetables, pour stock into pottles to store. I freeze mine in 1 litre lots, which is the perfect amount for homemade risotto or soup.

Ingredients, before boiling

After boiling for an hour

And, stock becomes soup!
For the batch I photographed for this post, Paddy also added a few leftover roast veges, leftover gravy, some cabbage, wrinkly ginger that had been in the fridge too long and a handful of goji berries, as this stock was destined to become healing broth. It made the most rich and delicious broth we had ever had, and Paddy and I are kicking ourselves for not writing down the exact recipe!

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