Homemade chicken stock is easier than you think it is to make. There is no comparison in taste between making homemade stock and something bought off the shelf, containing a whole variety of preservatives with a high dose of sodium. I don’t know how one could make a Risotto taste really good without using proper stock.
There are no shortcuts to making stock, but it doesn’t take for much preparation as long as the pot is slowly bubbling away on the stove, then you can get on with something else. I usually make a few containers every week and freeze them.
You can even freeze them in ice trays and use the cubes to flavour your favourite sauces. For larger quantities like for soups such as consommé made with vegetable stock or a stew, you can thaw this out in a saucepan on a gentle heat which doesn’t take long and is so worth it.
photo credit: flickr.com/photos/insatiablemunchies/8403659458
Terminology - some kitchen French regarding homemade stocks
You may come across some of these terms in traditional French cookbooks, so it may be woth your while going through them:
Mirepoix – combination of carrots, onions, celery and leeks adding flavour and aroma
Bouquet Garni – a bundle of herbs usually tied together with string (typically bay leaf, thyme and parsley)
Volaille – chicken used for stock
Gibier – game used for stock
Veau – veal used for stock
Glace/glaze – glace de viadide – reduce while skimming, this is important so the fat is not left behind.
Four elements of a homemade Stock or Fond
- Nourishing Elements, including meat, bone, fish heads, fish trimmings and vegetable
- Aromatics and spices from the mirepoix bouquet garni herbs and roots
- Liquid- water or remouillage
- Seasoning- salt only added to stock once it has cooked
Basic Homemade Chicken Stock
- 3 kg chicken bones, cut into pieces
- 2 carrots, rough chopped
- 1 leek, split, washed and rough chopped
- 1 onion, rough chopped
- ½ bunch table celery, rough chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- Salt and pepper
- 5 lt water
photo credit: flickr.com/photos/gudlyf/4387699205
- Drop the chicken bones into boiling water and coagulate the blood.
- Remove and place another pot and fill with water
- Add the vegetables cut in mirepoix (rough chop)
- Bring to the boil and skim with a ladle to remove all the scum
- Allow to simmer and reduce by half (30 minutes)
- Strain and allow to cool
- Place in the fridge overnight so that the fat can form a hard crust on top
- This is removed before use
Brown Beef or Chicken Stock
A brown stock is made with beef or veal bones. It is basically the same recipe as for using Brown Chicken Stock.
- 1 carrot
- 1 leek
- ½ celery stalk
- ½ onion
- 2 kg beef or chicken bones
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 10 peppercorns
- 3 bay leaves
- 3 litres water
- 1 tsp tomato paste
- Set the oven to 200°c.
- Dice the carrot, leek, celery and onion roughly into equal sized pieces and place onto a roasting tray with the bones
- Place this in the oven
- When the vegetables start to brown take the tray out of the oven
- Place everything in a pot on a medium heat and add the tomato paste.
- Add the water and then add the thyme, peppercorns and bay leaves
- Leave to simmer for 1 hour and then strain the stock
Makes 2 litres
Fish Stock is different from the other stocks in that it only requires 20 minutes of cooking time, more than that and the stock will start to taste bitter. The only mirepoix you would use are onions.
- 4 ltr water
- 400-500 g mirepoix (no carrots), onions – 200 g alone
- 2 kg bones
- Bayleaf, bouquet garni
- 12 peppercorns
- 50 g butter – sweating mirepoix
- Simmer for 20 minutes
The Difference between White and Brown Stock
If you were thinking that stock is simply just stock, then I hope I have convinced you - even enough to try it out for yourself. Does the colour really matter? If you are not convinced, then try it out for yourself - you will see what I man. You most certainly can't make Risotto with a couple of stock cubes. Imagine how salty that would be?! In my mind there are so many classic dishes you just cannot do without homemade stock.
If you are adding parma ham or bacon to your meal, you won’t be able to eat it because of all the salt. Best of all it is dead easy to make. So you have no excuse, just carry on with your normal life while your pot is simmering on the stove.
We make stock for different dishes and occasions and it’s not always the same. A white stock is perfect for consommé, because you only want a hint of flavour from the stock, whilst using a brown stock roasting the bones to give more of an intense flavour can be used for great sauces and a whole host of soups and stews to add extra flavour.
A brown stock is made with beef or veal bones. Roasting the bones gives a richer flavour. The stock will reduce usually by half so keep the lid on and make sure it simmers and not boils away to nothing.
You can either boil the bones or roast them in the oven with the vegetables. Roasting them will give you a richer stock, which we call a brown stock. The stock will usually reduce by half. Boiling everything on the stove will be called a white stock
Foods you would you white chicken stock for
Risotto with lighter meats like chicken or pork
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