At some point during the last couple of years I decided that I did not want to keep using store bought stock. It is full of salt, taste enhancers and chemicals and I wanted to do something else. So I started looking at making my own stock and I thought it would be a lot more difficult that it is. But it is really not. I have even found that it helps me use more of the scraps that you get in a normal household. I use my freezer to save scraps from preparing and carving meat, bits of bacon, vegetables gone soft, spinach and herb stems from my garden and so on. All good things that you can use.
Actually you can use a wide variety of ingredients but these are some of the ones I use.
For 4 pots giving about 1.5 liters after reducing.
8 carrots – two pr. pot
4-8 onions including peels – 1-2 pr. pot
1-2 leeks – 1/2 pr. pot
Pork or beef scraps – as many as you have and evenly distributed among the pots
Asparagus gone soft
Bacon scraps – as many as you have and evenly distributed among the pots
No salt – I don’t use salt as I prefer to add the salt to the dish the stock is going into. It also prevents that your stock gets too salty when reducing.
You start of by searing the meat scraps and then you add the rest of the ingredients chopped into chunky pieces except herbs.
After searing the ingredients with the meat for a bit add the herbs.
Add as much water as the pots can hold and bring to a boil. Leave at a slow boil.
When the stock is boiling remember to skim of the foam. There is a lot of grit in the foam and it is not nice to eat. So at regular intervals skim the foam into a bowl and throw it out.
It is looking good and you just have to wait for it to reduce. This is the part that takes time but it is something that can more or less mind itself. You just need to check on it once in a while.
As it reduces I empty the pots into each other. I try to keep as many of the ingredients but at some point they will not fit any more. At that point drain the liquid through a strainer into a pot. There is no more use for the vegetables unless you have pigs or chickens you can feed them to. If you make vegetable stock you can put it on your compost but if there is meat it has to go in the bin.
You now need to reduce the liquid until you have a stock with an intense flavor. For me 10 liters become about 1.5 liters of good stock.
Then the big question becomes – how do you save it in a way that allows you to use it over time. Some use bottles and keep it refrigerated and that works well if you plan to use it in the near future. I need it to keep longer than that so I use ice cube bags and put it in the freezer. I can then take the cubes I need for the dish I am doing.
I make stock 3-4 times a year and I find that it is time well spent because it tastes great, helps me use scraps and helps me avoid some of the nasty things in store bought stock.
I hope I have inspired you to experiment with your own stock – enjoy Sara