Home made stocks are essential for any commercial kitchen that’s worth its’ salt, and can also help transform a home cooked meal into a thing of glory.

They are the base of great sauces, soups and stews.

They are the shit!

A basic stock can be made at home with whatever you have on hand, in that big heavy based pot you just bought yourself. It can then be frozen down in the collection of Chinese takeaway containers you have from your days of food crimes* before you discovered that life is really to short to eat bad food, and, food really is the best shit ever!

What vegetables do you have in your fridge? Some carrots, maybe celery, mushrooms, some tomatoes, onions and garlic? And you have some parsley and thyme in your herb garden (Yes. There’s that fucking herb garden again!). And you have some dried spice? Coriander seed, peppercorns, bay leaves? Well, chop 5-6 cups of veg into a rough dice, add 1 tablespoon each of peppercorns and coriander seed, a bay leaf, a stalk of parsley and a sprig of thyme. Cover with water and simmer over a low heat for 1 hour, strain, and there you have it. A homemade veg stock ready to boost the flavour of soups, risotto, curries, etc.

Freeze some down in ice block trays for easy access later.

This could quite easily be made into a light chicken stock by the addition of a few chicken carcasses (available from butchers), or some chicken wings, or both.

If you want to go super exciting why not make a batch of beef stock and turn it into jus for you next steak night or dinner party. Oh, and wack some in the freezer for standby deliciousness…. You need to start this recipe the day before, or in the morning at the very least…

5kg beef bones

1kg beef shin rings (osso bucco)

1 pigs trotter for glossiness

2 brown onions, peeled, large dice

2 carrots, large dice

2 celery, large dice

2 tomatoes, chopped

1/4 cup dried porcini or forest mushrooms, or a handful of fresh mushies of you can’t get hold of dried

5 sprigs thyme

a handful of parsley stalks

1 star anise

1 teaspoon each coriander seed, white peppercorns, black peppercorns

1 head garlic, cut in half

1 lt red wine

Preheat oven to 180C. Cook bones and osso bucco until nice and brown and caramelised and smelling like good roast beef. In a large heavy based pot big enough to hold everything plus a little more, saute the vegetables, herbs and spices and starting to brown. Have a glass of the red wine and then use the rest to deglaze. Reduce by half. Add bones to pot and cover totally with water. Simmer on a very low heat, so it’s just ticking over, for at least 8 hours. Skim the fat and other crap off the surface from time to time. Don’t be temped for whatever bizzare reason, to stir your stock (This will make it cloudy and quite frankly you want  it to look glossy and awesome). Now strain your stock through a fine mesh sieve, and then strain it again through a sieve lined with muslin or a clean chux if need be. This will make sure all the little bits and pieces are gone and your stock is clear and glossy. Put your stock back into a pot and onto a medium heat to reduce until it reaches the consistancy of … engine oil I guess. Pour some over a big fat steak or sausages or something, taste, bask in your glory!

Let me know how you go….

*food crime; a crime against food. The opposite of what I am on about. The product of every fast food chain world wide. A topic that needs a full page devoted to itself.

2 responses to “Stocks”

  1. Yo, tip for young players – if you like to cook recipes that call for a certain amount of stock, freeze it in clip lock bags in 1 & 2 cup measures! Then you don’t waste it by thawing it out and finding you have too much. Otherwise if you don’t care, cut fully sick on the Chinese containers!!

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