You see recipes calling for stock all of the time and in your mind, you may think to just run down to the market and buy some because of course you don’t have any at home. Why would you?
Well, before I tell you why you would and should have home made stock in your fridge/freezer let me first tell you how you are throwing money and resources out the window if you don’t. Buying stock only for a recipe, if you don’t know what to do with what’s left afterward, can be costly; you buy it, you measure out what you need and the rest, goes in the fridge. Then before you know it, it’s months later and that stock that’s been in the fridge now goes in the trash along with the food, water and labor it took to make it. Also, If you are not mindful, buying pre-made stock means buying product with insane amounts of chemical additives, processed oils, sodium galore and MSG and if it’s packaged meat stock, GD help you. There are very few CLEAN stocks/broths on store shelves and they are super expensive so if you are on a budget or you are like me and just prefer to eat your own clean food, it’s best to just make your own.
By now you know me well enough to understand that I am here to motivate you in the kitchen! I want you cooking your own food because relying less on others to do it for you is the key to a healthy body and a fat wallet. My goal is to teach you how to cook simple and tasty food and help you set realistic goals in the kitchen so today let’s start with why you have to be stocked up (pun intended) on stock.
Why Stock Is Essential!
Cooking with stock means you can easily elevate the flavor of all your quick meals! Stock can be used to puree your roasted butternut squash, cauliflower, zucchini, tomato or carrot to make the easiest and most delicious soup. Use stock to cook rice, make grits, polenta and to cook those beans you soaked overnight. Combine stock with noodles, chopped garlic and a handful of spinach to make a quick brothy soup for when you aren’t feeling well. Use stock whenever liquid is needed in a savory recipe so for example use it in stuffing or savory bread pudding and instead of milk in a savory pancake batter, use stock. Also having it on hand for deglazing your hot skillet or wok or that roasting pan to make a luscious gravy is essential. Why use water when you can use stock? Stock is also the perfect food for transitioning your body after a fast or cleanse. Sip and enjoy…
Making stock is also inexpensive when you look at al that value! Yeah, your organic chicken may be $15 and a bunch of carrots, celery and onions another $5 but that’s $20 for a gallon of delicious, nutritious and mineral rich broth that you can use all week long. You’ve spent $20 on fast food in a day AND now the moist, succulent chicken that is falling off the bone is a week’s worth of wraps, chicken salad, sandwiches and tacos.
And making veggie stock is even less expensive because a) you probably don’t need to buy anything out of your day-to-day pantry. If you are prepping meals for the week and you’re using carrots, onions, garlic, herbs and greens, all those stems, skins, end-cuts and tops as well as the leftover herbs will make your stock and b) those veggies in the fridge that you don’t want to go to waste can also be added to the pot. So basically, you’re getting stock from food that would otherwise be throw away or composted.
Below is my easy breezy recipe for making a veggie and / or chicken stock:
BASIC CHICKEN STOCK
Omit Bird For Veggie Stock
1 whole certified organic chicken at room temperature (no more than 3 lbs andwithout innards)
1 head celery – rinsed and coarsely chopped from leaves to end
4 large carrots coarsely chopped – do not peel
2 large yellow onions halved – paper skins included
1 -2 heads garlic cut across in half – paper skins included
2-3 bay leaf
8-10 peppercorns – slightly crushed or approx 1 tbsp ground pepper
coarse salt to taste
2-3 tbsp. onion powder
1 head parsley chopped with stems
A few fresh dried thyme sprigs
Enough FILTERED WATER to cover 2-3 inches above all ingredients
ADDITIONAL FLAVOR BOOSTERS:
Stems from greens like Kale or Collards
Paprika (not smoked!)
Zest and juice from 2 whole lemons – juice added after first hour of cooking and zest added close to finish
1 jalapeno – seeds and veins removed unless you like it hot. NOTE: Make sure you rub hands with half a lemon and wash with soap after handling. You don’t want to accidentally rub eyes with those peppery fingers.
1-2 cups white wine added after 1/2 hours of cooking (add in 2d hour only if you’re cooking for three hours!)
Chopped parsley, dill and/or cilantro
Basil – added close to finish
Herbes de Provence
Sprig fresh rosemary
Mint – about four fluffy stems
FOR CHICKEN STOCK
Put all ingredients in a heavy tall pot and pour enough filtered water to cover everything by at least two inches. Bring to a slow boil and cook for five minutes before lowering the heat to a low simmer. Cover and let cook for at least two hours (I usually cook mine 3-4 hrs.) however make sure to check-in every 30 minutes or so, stirring, tasting and seasoning along the way. Add boosters from the list to enhance flavor. Some of my favorites are lemon, white wine and lots of herbs (and stems from fresh herbs). If you have a cold definitely add ginger and jalapeno! After cooking, let cool and separate chicken and store in glass storage containers. Also save those cooked carrots and celery. They’re super tasty!
FOR VEGGIE STOCK
Simmer on low for atleast two hours. Turn off heat, cover and let sit overnight out of fridge. Don’t worry, nothing will spoil. In the morning strain and make sure to also squeeze the liquid out from all those veggies. That is concentrated goodness that you not want to go to waste. Save the cooked carrots and celery. They are tasty and the carrots can be mashed and added to any savory pancake batter! Recipes for that coming soon