July 12, 2013
Homemade Stock 101
This year, because of all the warm water, the lobster population is through the roof. Here in my little world, we can even get them for $5.88 a pound. I bought two and had them steamed.
I can get three meals out of two little one pound crustaceans and at that price, it's a bargain.
I took all the meat out of the shells and that will be dish #1.
I roasted the shells and then covered them in water and slow cooked them for 10 hours. The best lobster stock, with minimal work.
Dish #2 and #3.
Not many people make their own stocks and as easy as they are, I am not sure why not.
Whether you want poultry, meat or seafood, the basic ingredients are always the same. It's the herbs and spices that change the game.
I am going to give you the basic base for all stock. You could add tarragon to the seafood stock and sage for the poultry stock. I would not herb the basic beef stock but some cognac would go well.
You will need a slow cooker or a Dutch oven and a few hours of unattended time.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 10-12 hours
Yield: 1 1/2 quarts (can be multiplied)
* 2 pounds bones (beef, lamb,) or shells from 2 lobsters or 2 pounds shrimp shells
* 1 large onion
* 1 large carrot
* 1 celery stalk
* 2 large cloves of garlic
* 2 bay leaves
* 8-10 whole peppercorns
* bunch of parsley, stems and leaves
* handful of thyme stems
* 1 tablespoon tomato paste
* 1 cup white wine
* 2 quarts water
* olive oil
Make sure the chest cavity of the lobsters is cleaned out. Crack it in half and it will pop right out, promise.
Use a processor to mince the onion, carrot, celery and garlic.
Now let's get stocking!!
1. Roast bones sprinkled with olive oil for 1 hour in a 400° oven. Remove to a bowl to cool.
2. In a heavy bottomed stock pot, saute vegetables in olive oil until softened. Once the vegetables are soft add the tomato paste, the bay leaves and herbs. Saute until the tomato paste starts to brown and add white wine (to deglaze), the whole peppercorns and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
3. Add the bones to the vegetable mixture and add the 2 quarts of water. Bring to a simmer. With cover slightly ajar, simmer for 3-4 hours.
For slow cooker: Add mixture to the insert of the slow cooker, cover with the 2 quarts of water and set to LOW for 8-10 hours. Strain the solids from the liquid and taste for salt.
1. Roast shells sprinkled with olive oil for 1 hour in a 400° oven. Remove to a blender and add 1 quart of the water. Puree until the shells are pulverized. Reserve.
2. Strain blender mix through a sieve into the slow cooker or Dutch oven. Add remaining 1 quart water.
3. In a heavy bottomed stock pot, saute vegetables in olive oil until softened. Once the vegetables are soft add the tomato paste, the bay leaves and herbs. Saute until the tomato paste starts to brown and add white wine (to deglaze), the whole peppercorns and simmer for 2-3 minutes.4. Add the pureed shells to the vegetable mixture and add the remaining 1 quart water. Bring to a simmer. With cover slightly ajar, simmer for 2 hours. (Shells release their flavor in half the time of meat bones).
For slow cooker: Add mixture + 1 quart water to the insert of the slow cooker, set to LOW for 8-10 hours. Strain the solids from the liquid and taste for salt.
You may need to simmer your stock, uncovered, to evaporate some of the water to intensify the flavor.
You are now ready to make a soup or bisque, pasta sauces, gravies, and risotto.
Cooks hint: I save the ends of all my vegetables in a bin in the freezer for when I am planning on making a stock. When you accumulate 4 cups of odds and ends you have enough to make your own vegetable stock. Substitute the bones or shells for the vegetables and just add what is not in your bin (peppercorns, tomato paste, bay leaves and white wine.