|Stock and the making thereof
||[Apr. 5th, 2012|03:13 pm]
I keep hearing people saying they do not have time to make stock, so they use unsatisfactory bouillon cubes or stuff from tetrapaks (which some ain't bad, mind you) but is all high sodium and can contain stuff that various people are sensitive to (onions, yeast, etc.). |
But making stock is not difficult. Oh yes, you can jump through massive numbers of hoops, roasting the bones, adding herbs, spices, onions/garlic/ginger, and so on. But it ain't necessarily so!
Currently I have, well, more than ten, less than twenty Ziploc freezer bags of stock in my freezer. Have I jumped through the hoops? I think not.
Anybody with about two contiguous hours and some bones can make stock that is tasty and useful.
Take bones. These can be from a pre-cooked beast (chicken, turkey, beef, pork). Oh, I dunno about fish. Not my area of expertise. Or they can be uncooked. If so, buy something with a lot of tendons or cartilage. Pork neck bones, readily available around where I live at the local markets are wondrous. Either way put bones, skin, fat in a largish pot. Add a splosh of some form of vinegar. Cider vinegar is good, especially with pork, but for those with a yeast intolerance, distilled vinegar is preferred. Lemon juice is not acid enough, alas. Cover bones with water, put on stove, bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer, cover, and go away. About every thirty minutes, lift the lid, give it a stir (chopsticks are good for this) and then go away again. At about two hours, turn the heat off. Wait about thirty minutes. While you are waiting, get out a strainer, a fairly fine-grained one, and a heat-safe bowl. _I_ use Pyrex ones that I got from my mother, but whatever. When you can handle the stock pot, pour the contents into the strainer that is poised over the bowl. Discard the solids. Cover the bowl of liquid with some form of plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator. Wait.
On the next day, there will be gelatinous goop in the bowl with the fat on top. Skim the fat off (as much as you please, myself I err on the side of taking some of the stock). Save the fat if you are cooking potatoes or something else congenial. Then line up a bunch of one quart _FREEZER_ Ziploc bags. I say FREEZER because the failure mode is to leak when thawing. Not pleasant. Using a Sharpie type felt tip label them. (I have to do this because I use four different bone sources for three different households and three different food type requirements.) Prop open the Ziploc in a cup/bowl/1 Quart carryout container. Ladle the gelatinzed stock into the Ziploc bag. Do not overfill (see also headspace and freezing). Express the remaining air, flatten (should be about an inch thick) and stash in freezer.
I get about four bags of stock per chicken, five or six per turkey. When I buy pork neck bones, I get four or five bags for two pounds of bones/meat/sinew/cartilage.
Nobody I have made stock for has done anything but say that it is delicious. And it takes about two contiguous hours and about fifteen minutes to strain and another fifteen to skim and bag and freeze.
(Oh, BTW, the point of adding a form of vinegar? It extracts calcium from the bones. Nutritional. I guess if you cooked the stuff in a cast iron pan you would get dietarily available iron. Also good.)
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