top of page

Stocks

Updated: Jul 27, 2020


All kinds of recipes, from soups and stews, to rices, pastas, beans, and sauces will require some sort of stock. As a fundamental ingredient in the kitchen, anyone serious about cooking should get comfortable making their own. They take time to cook, but very little work. They're really easy to make, and the store-bought alternatives generally don’t hold a candle to an even half-hearted homemade stock.


You can make stocks any time you have the ingredients, and freeze them for later use. You can reduce them way down to a very concentrated state to save freezer space. Just add water, as needed when you use them. Stocks generally will keep for about a week if cooled down and stored properly in the fridge, but in the freezer, they will last pretty much forever.

Keep bags of different scraps in your freezer, some with chicken bones, another with beef, lamb, or pork bones, others with shrimp shells and fish scraps, another with mushroom and vegetable scraps. Corn cobs that have been stripped of the kernels and the bottoms that you trim off Asparagus both add a ton of flavor to stock. So make sure that you throw those in the freezer instead of the trash. When the bag fills up, or you need more of a certain stock, you are ready to go.

For all stocks, the fat will rise up and float on the top where you can easily skim it off with a spoon or ladle. This is much easier after a night in the fridge when the cold fat solidifies.

When making generic stocks for later use, I always keep the flavors quite simple. If I want to add strongly flavored things, it’s easier to wait until I am making a specific dish that calls for them. If you add strong flavors to stocks, they can be overpowering for some dishes.

Salt is never added when making stocks. Stocks are often reduced and concentrated for different recipes, which would make them way too salty. Thus, you only add salt when you use the stock to make a dish.

 

Chicken Stock

In households I’ve been in around Spain, chicken stock is often just the left-over liquid from some dish involving boiled chicken. The boiled chicken might be served on its own, or the meat used to fill canelones or croquetas. Meanwhile the cooking liquid gets repurposed and used later as stock. If you are ever making boiled chicken for anything, you can just save that liquid as chicken stock, BUT making chicken stock from scratch is very easy.

Basic chicken stock ingredients

  • 2 or 3 pounds of chicken bones, rinsed under cold water and patted dry

  • (or use the leftover carcass from a roasted chicken and skip step 1 below)

  • 2 large carrots, cut or broken in large pieces

  • 2 or 3 celery ribs, cut or broken in large pieces

  • 1 large onion, peeled and cut in half

  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 5 or 6 black peppercorns

  • Parsley scraps or stems

  • 1½ gallons cold water

Instructions

1. If using raw chicken bones and scraps, put them on a baking sheet, and place in a preheated 375F oven. Roast, turning as needed, until well browned. This will take about 45-60 minutes.

When they come out of the oven, place the bones directly into a large, heavy-bottomed pot, along with all of the remaining ingredients, and cover with the cold water.

While the tray is still hot, pour a little bit of water onto it and try to scrape off the stuck on browned bits with a large spoon. Add the liquid and browned bits to the pot with the boiling chicken.


2. Bring the pot of water up to a boil on high heat. As soon as the water comes up to a boil, lower the temperature to maintain a gentle simmer.

Use a spoon to scoop off any scum as it rises to the top, throughout the process.


3. Let the stock simmer for at least 3 hours and up to 8 hours. You want the liquid to reduce and concentrate, but if it gets too low, you can always cover with a bit more water.


4. Strain the stock, discarding all the solid leftovers.

You can use the stock for a recipe at this point. If using immediately, skim the fat off the top with a spoon or ladle.

You can cool it down faster by putting it in an open bowl or pot inside of an ice bath. When it has cooled down to about room temperature, you can put it in covered containers in the fridge. Let the containers sit in the fridge over night.


5. The next day, remove the stock from the fridge and scoop off any fat that has collected on the surface. You can save this for other cooking purposes or discard. It’s MUCH easier to remove the fat when it has cooled off, floated to the top and solidified.

At this point, portion and freeze the stock.

Rabbit Stock

You can follow the exact same recipe for the chicken stock above, using rabbit bones, or a leftover carcass from a roasted rabbit.

Seafood and/or Fish Stock

Save the bones, heads, and tails from fish in a bag in the freezer. Do the same with shrimp shells and heads. You can make the stock with just the shrimp shells and heads or just the fish scraps. Both together, though, make a rich, deeply flavored stock.


Ingredients

  • Shrimp shells and heads

  • Fish Scraps (bones, heads, bodies)

  • 1 large onion, peeled and quartered

  • 3 or 4 garlic cloves, peeled

  • 3 or 4 celery ribs, cut or broken in large pieces

  • 1 or 2 carrots, peeled and cut or broken in large pieces

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 5 or 6 black peppercorns

  • Parsley scraps or stems

  • About 1¼ gallons of cold water


Instructions

1. Heat a large, heavy-bottomed pan on a medium-high flame. When hot, add the shrimp shells and heads, and stir often until they get a deep red color.

Stir in all of the remaining ingredients, then cover with the cold water.


2. Bring the pot of water up to a boil on high heat. As soon as the water comes up to a boil, lower the temperature to maintain a gentle simmer.

Use a spoon to scoop off any scum as it rises to the top, throughout the process.


3. Let the stock simmer for at least 1 hour and up to 3 hours. You want the liquid to reduce and concentrate, but if it gets too low, you can always cover with a bit more water.


4. Strain the stock, discarding all the solid leftovers. Skim any fat off the top with a spoon or ladle.

You can use the stock for a recipe at this point.

You can cool it down faster by putting it in an open bowl or pot inside of an ice bath. When it has cooled down to about room temperature, you can put it in covered containers in the fridge or portion and freeze.

“Mixed” Stock

Many Spanish recipes requiring stock feature rabbit or chicken, as well as seafood. For these recipes, if desired, you can make a stock using both seafood and chicken or rabbit. Follow the recipe for the seafood stock above, but prepare roasted chicken or rabbit bones as in the chicken stock recipe and add them to the seafood stock when you add in the vegetables.

Alternatively, you can follow the recipe for the seafood stock, but replace some or all of the water with chicken or rabbit stock.

42 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Aioli

Comments


bottom of page