A Guide to Homemade Stock
Making stock at home is so easy and a wonderful way to add even more flavor to your dishes. Read through to learn how.
“Stock is like a magic wand,” says David Carrier, the chef of
Certified Burgers and Beverage
. “There is simply nothing on a store shelf that can replace something you can make—it’ll just turn out so much more rich and succulent if you do it at home.” And with our
12 Quart Stock Pot
, you can make enough stock to last you for months.
Whether you’re adding it to soups or stews, Carrier believes that “having homemade stock on hand is a must.” After all, not only does making your own stock help with food waste (all your vegetable scraps are saved) but stock is a great foundation for so many recipes and meals. Carrier says that “as we’re getting into the cooler months adding some to a soup or stew and then putting the remainder away for another meal down the road is key.”
And while making your own stock at home may be intimidating, Carrier argues it's actually easier than most people think. “It’s a no-brainer, and nearly fool-proof.”
That’s because the best thing about stock is this: there is no exact recipe. You can add whatever vegetables you have and whatever leftover bones or meat you have on hand.
As a result, no two stocks will ever be the same. How long you cook it for, the veggies you throw in, and the spices you choose will all create different flavor profiles. Experiment with different things and use the following as a baseline.
Keep Those Scraps
The first step to making homemade stock takes place way before you turn on the stove. Carrier likes to accrue all of his vegetable scraps and bones and keep them in the freezer. “You’d be surprised how quickly you can collect enough for a batch of stock,” he laughed.
Each time you cook, set out a bowl for your peels, end pieces, and any other parts of vegetables you don’t use. At the end of cooking, throw them in a Zip-Loc bag and keep that bag in the freezer, constantly adding to it when appropriate. Veggie scraps can take form in carrot peels, onion peels, garlic and garlic peels, shallots, leeks, chives, or scallions.
While you might see celery frequently used, Carrier likes to omit it. “The long cooking time of stock tends to draw out the bitterness of celery,” he said. He also mentioned that “if you’re adding herbs to just add the leaves and avoid the stems—they can impart a woodiness to your stock.”
The same process above goes with any bones or meat you have leftover. Whether that’s a rotisserie chicken, or half-eaten wings (as long as they’re just seasoned with salt and pepper), keep them in your freezer until you’re ready to make a batch of stock. You can even go to your local butcher shop or grocery store and ask if they have any bones in the back.
Bay leaves, parmesan cheese rinds, and leftover ginger root are flavorful and will add great depths of flavor to your stock. While they are wonderful additions to any stock, they do have the ability to add lots of flavors and can be quite noticeable in the end result.
Start by adding a knob of ginger, or a parmesan rind in the last few hours of cooking and see how you like it.
Get to Simmering
Once you’ve got all your ingredients, break out your Stock Pot and add in your bones (if you’re making veggie stock, go straight to adding in your veg). Fill it up with water (don’t be afraid to bring the water to the brim of the pot) and then bring it up to a boil.
The bones will start to release foamy bits of protein called “scum,” which should be skimmed off as they begin to build on the surface. Once all scum is gone, return your pot to a simmer, where it is gently whispering. Allow this to simmer for a few hours before you add your veggies.
Adding your veggies after your bones have had time to simmer allows the meat flavor to come through a bit more, and the veggies won’t get in the way of skimming the surface. Once you add your veggies, you should let it cook until you are happy with the flavor. The longer you leave the stock simmering, the more flavorful it will become.
Allow the stock to cool and strain it out. Pour it in quart and cup containers. These will last in the fridge for around one week and in the freezer for months. But you’ll probably use them up before then, whether that’s in soups,
, cooking rice, or pan sauces.