You’ve heard it before—homemade stock is delicious. Whether you’re making risotto, simmering grains for your weekly salad jars, cooking pasta, or concocting a great bowl of soup, using your own stock will add that extra something special to your cooking.
What you haven’t heard is that making stock is also incredibly easy and economical. Sure, you can fancy it up if you want to, but that’s not necessary for amazing taste. If you’ve been on the fence about making stock yourself, now’s the time!
When the weather turns cold and rainy, I like to make stock every couple of weeks. It freezes and cans well, so I’ve always got it on hand when I feel like having soup for lunch.
Here’s my favourite way to make stock. It involves a bit of foresight, but hardly any effort.
I like to cook a whole chicken periodically, and when I do, I save the bones for this stock. If I think of it, I save my veggie scraps throughout the week.
When I’m ready to make the stock, I toss the bones, the veggie scraps, and some roughly chopped carrot, onion, and celery into a roasting pan. It’s up to you what you add here. If you’ve got herbs, peppercorns, or garlic, you can toss these in too. Put the pan in a cold oven, and turn the heat up to 350 F, then roast until the bones until caramelized, turning a few times.
Once the bones and the veggies are nicely caramelized, dump the lot into a large stock pot. Fill it up with cold water until all ingredients are just submerged, then bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat immediately, and leave to simmer for 6-8 hours. It’s a long time, but you don’t have to watch the pot. Just make sure that it will simmer rather than boil. This is a lovely thing to make on a rainy Saturday when you don’t want to go outside anyway, because your house will smell fantastic.
When the time’s up, strain your broth. You may have to do it a couple of times, once to remove the bones and again to remove the smaller ingredients. If you really want to get fussy about it, you can strain it through cheesecloth, but it’s not worth the effort to me.
Let your stock cool, then pour it in jars for storage. Mason jars are great for this (just let cool completely and leave an inch of headspace if you’re going to freeze it). A layer of fat will most likely form on the top of your container as it cools. You can skim it off and use it to cook with if you like. It’s a delicious way to cook scrambled eggs.