Posts Tagged ‘stock’

It’s a rare thing these days, buying stock in a box or can.  Before the holidays arrive full of turkey, chicken, and family members visiting I spend time to prepare and freeze stock.

Stock will keep in sealed containers in the freezer for about 6 months.  Make sure to label anything you freeze for later use.  Portions that are easier to manage are a good idea.  Most of my containers hold 2 pints (about 4 cups), I use this as soup and stew base.  Smaller containers, even freezer bags, work well for gravy.  Sometimes when you roast drier types or cuts of meat, there’s not a heck of a lot liquid left in the pan.  That’s where a bit of stock can extend or replace the pan drippings when making gravy.

To make your stock you need any of the following vegetables, spices and herbs:

  • celery
  • leek
  • onion
  • carrots
  • bay leaves
  • black peppercorns
  • cardamom pods
  • cumin seeds
  • caraway seeds
  • dill
  • fennel
  • rosemary
  • thyme

Then, if you want meat you can collect chicken, turkey or pork bones and freeze them in freezer ziptop bags until you have enough to make stock.  When I buy whole chickens, I save the neck, wings, and legs.  Either roasted or raw, freeze the extra bits for your stock.  Bone marrow helps add richness to the stock.  Beef can be used too, we just don’t have many beef bones leftover at my house!

Salt, should you add any at all, should be minimal.  The stock is a component for something else, the destination might already contain salt so you don’t want to end up with sea water soup.

Ready?  Throw the chunks of veggies, palm full of seasonings, the optional meat components into the biggest pot you own.  Add water until everything is covered.  Bring to a boil slowly, then reduce to low heat for an hour or longer.  The longer you simmer the stock, the more concentrated it will be due to evaporation.

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While checking out the results for the best cardamom recipe on Food52, I had a message “…Congrats on the EP”.  No way!  The editors actually made my chicken stock.  Maybe one of these days they will choose my entry for the two finalists of the week.  They must be making a ton of food while deciding which recipes deserve to go head-to-head, whisk-to-whisk!

What surprised me was that the recipe tester used a completely different flavour profile than I did, so they didn’t actually test my recipe – could that have knocked me out of the finalist position?   This is what Food52 exchanged: 2 shallots and 3 slices of ginger in lieu of the vegetables and garlic.  That would make the stock much more Asian or Indian, right?  My version is earthy with lemon notes of the cardamom, if you would like to try it for yourself.

Makes 1 batch of stock
  • 1 – 2 whole chickens, roasted, bones reserved
  • 3 cups bits of onion, celery, carrot, and garlic
  • 1 tablespoon green cardamom pods
  • 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • water

  1. In a large pot, place the chicken bones, leftover vegetable pieces (these would be the ends of vegetables, save them in a plastic bag in the freezer until you accumulate enough for stock or soup), cardamom pods, salt and pepper. Cover with cold water.
  2. Bring the pot to a boil for 10 minutes. Reduce to a simmer and cover.
  3. Let the marrow flavor the broth. Be careful not to add too much salt as the water will evaporate and concentrate the salt in the stock. Simmer until the water as reduced by about 1/3 and is opaque from taking on all those flavors.
  4. Strain the stock to remove the bones, peppercorns, and cardamom pods. Return the stock to the pot. Taste for salt levels and adjust while simmering the strained stock.
  5. Remove the stock from the heat and let it cool. Divide into containers and freeze for up to 6 months. ( Hint: measure the stock into 1 or 2 cup portions and label accordingly. Freeze some of the stock in an ice cube tray then transfer to a plastic freezer bag for easy access.)

What you do with the stock is up to you, if you need suggestions just ask in the comments 🙂

P.S. Country Wife, my eyes are indeed sea green (forgive the tiredness!)

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Since finding cassoulet in my copy of Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking I’ve been trying to devise similar recipes which would lessen the time and cost of preparing such a cozy dish.

This rendition was the result of less than 10$ of ingredients and a couple of hours of stewing in the oven. Us working folk normally don’t have an abundance of time to devote to cooking, but stretching what you have in the pantry at this time of the month (and year) is inevitable and necessary. Weekends are the typical days where my craft can be let loose in the afternoon to bring a leisurely made meal to the family table by supper time. This dish could equally be made in a crock pot, on low while you’re away at work or running errands. I trusted a slow oven for this hearty and thrifty meal.

The measurements are not exact, for you can use more or less depending on what you have.  Go easy with the herbes de Provence, or it will taste like you mistakenly added your flower bed to the stew.

  • 2 slices of bacon, cut into 1/4″ slices
  • 8 chicken thighs, skin and visible fat removed
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 large onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 can white beans (Northern Beans or Navy Beans), rinsed
  • pinch or two of herbes de Provence (see note above)
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour (you can omit if gluten is a problem!)
  • 2 – 3 cups chicken stock, homemade preferably, or low sodium purchased
  • salt and pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF.

In a Dutch oven or equivalent roasting pan, render the bacon.  Slowly fry the bacon to release the fat and remove any crisp pieces as you go.  Use the bacon fat to brown the chicken thighs on each side, you don’t have to worry about cooking the chicken at this point, that will happen in the oven.  What you want is a bit of color on the chicken to add flavour!

Remove the chicken as it browns, split the chicken in two batches if the pan will be too crowded.  Crowds make for sweaty birds, not browned caramelized ones.

Once the chicken is out, check the pan for fat levels, add a few dots of olive oil if the pan looks dry.  Immediately toss in the onion and carrot, tossing them around to coat with the oil or bacon fat.   Sauté until the onions start to look tanned, as if they just came back from a sandy beach off the coast of nobodycares. 

Add salt and pepper, the herbs, (flour) and the garlic.  Stir until the garlic and herbs become fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Then add the stock and scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.  Add the beans and crispy bacon pieces.  Nestle the chicken thighs into the pot, the liquid should come half way up the meat.

Cover the pot and place in the oven.  Turn down the oven to 300ºF and leave it alone.  After 2 hours you will enjoy a rich broth with dark chicken meat falling off the bones! 

Serve alone, with cooked pearled barley (yum, this was what I made), with rice, or a slice of fresh bread (also what I had with the stew!).

This stew disappeared before I had a chance to do my photo shoot.  You’ll have to imagine this one 🙂

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