How To Make Your Own Stock

How To Make Your Own StockTaking Stock
Really good stocks are the way restaurants transform the flavor of their dishes from something that is pedestrian into something that is out of this world. The good news is that anyone can make a great stock if they have the time and patience—as well as the knowledge to pick the right components. The time you spend making your own stock will be well worth it once you taste what it can do to your favorite recipes. So much better than store-bought stocks!

First things first, a stock is not the same as a broth. What’s the difference? Stock is made with bones and tends to be more gelatinous due to the collagen that is released from the bones and joints during the long cooking time. Broth is thinner and doesn’t have as much flavor because it is made with more of the meat of the animal versus stripped bones.

The recent rise in popularity of bone broth has caused a lot of confusion. As its name implies, a proper bone broth is made with bones. And the bones are where all the stuff that makes bone broth good for you comes from. The use of bones though, by definition makes it a bone stock, not a bone broth. Head hurt yet?

How To Make Your Own Stock
To make a good stock, you will need to start with what is known to butchers as soup bones. These are knuckle bones and neck bones and any other parts of the animal that have meat and cartilage that will melt into your stock as it cooks. Do not use just marrow bones. Marrow is basically just straight up fat which tastes great when roasted and spread on toasted French bread but won’t give your stock that deep flavor and it won’t get you the gelatin. For best results, use a mix of bones. If you are making chicken stock, the addition of chicken feet will add the cartilage you are looking for. Chicken wings are great too.

Unless you have an Olympic-sized stock pot, have the butcher cut the bones for you so they will fit. A cow femur can be really big.

Some choose to roast their bones in the oven to get the richest flavor possible before putting them in the stockpot. This is a personal preference thing. If you do choose to roast your bones, put them on a baking sheet and slide them into a 450º F oven for about 30 minutes until they are browned.

Place the bones into a large stock pot with your choice of vegetables. The classic combination is onion, carrots, and celery but you could add parsnips, leeks, or whatever you have on hand. The possibilities really are endless. Cover everything with water by about 3 inches and bring to a boil. Skim the fat off the top every 15 minutes or so until it comes to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to simmer and let the magic begin. Skim the fat off the top every so often until the stock is done to your liking. This should take a minimum of two hours.

Slow Cooker Variation
Stock is easy to make in the slow cooker and can literally happen while you are sleeping! Just cover the ingredients with as much water as your slow cooker can handle, switch it on low, and cook for at least 12, and as long as 24 hours. Once cool, you can skim off the fat.

Strain your stock through a sieve and portion it out into containers for storage in the freezer or pour a little bit into a mug for your sipping pleasure. From there you can use it in sauces, soups or whenever your recipes call for stock.

Don’t be concerned if your stock moves like jello when it is cool. That just means that you got all that good-for-you gelatin out of your bones.

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