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to make a
chicken or veggie stock | 1
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Essentially, you can use whatever you want for your stock. The stuff
you’d normally discard when cooking – chicken bones, onion peels,
carrot trimmings, scallion roots, shiitake mushrooms stems, celery
leaves, you get the picture – all can be used for stock. I like to
throw my discards into ziplock baggies in the freezer; then, whenever I’ve
accumulated a few bags worth, toss them into a pot and cook up a simple
stock. You can use other vegetables as well – broccoli, asparagus,
cabbage, beets – but bear in mind that these stronger-tasting
vegetables will give your stock a very distinct flavor, making it
perhaps less versatile than if you stick with the basics.
As for herbs, I keep it simple with just thyme, peppercorns and a bay
leaf. You could tie up your herbs in a cheesecloth sachet, if you don’t
want to inadvertently skim away the flavorings as you cook, but frankly,
I’m lazy, and can’t usually be bothered to go to the trouble.
A few technical tips …
A good stock should be clear and not greasy. The secrets to a clear
stock are, fortunately, pretty straightforward:
with cold water, not hot, as hot water can contain sediments that will
lead to murkiness.
you first bring your stock to a boil, a frothy scum will form; skim off
the gunk, then add veggies and seasonings after the boil.
After the first boil, turn the heat down to medium-low immediately and
keep the liquid at a low simmer for the remainder of the cooking time.
This is very, very important, as a continuous boil will cause the fat
and scum to be re-incorporated into your stock.
Chill the stock to solidify floating fat. Once you’ve cooked your
stock, you’ll want to cool it rapidly, uncovered, in an ice-water bath
before placing it in the fridge. (Rapid chilling reduces the possibility
of bacteria proliferating). The next day, skim off the fat – which
will have solidified into a thin, solid layer -- with a spoon. Pour
stock over ice cubes in a strainer to remove remaining fat.
Should you still end up with a grayish, murky stock, however, don’t
despair. In all probability, the stock will still taste fine. Just do
your best to pour out the liquid and discard any sediment that settles
to the bottom.
Stocking up …
Homemade stock will keep for 3-4 days in the fridge, and 3-4 months
in the freezer. I store mine in 2-cup and 1-cup sized deli container
portions, which make it easy for me to use as little or as much as I
need for a given recipe. If you’re short on freezer space, concentrate
your stock by boiling it down after you’ve strained and de-fatted.
Freeze the concentrated stock in ice cube trays (once the cubes have
formed, pop ‘em out and store in a ziplock bag) and you’ll have
handy little shots of stock ready-to-use.
way please ...
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