As food becomes scares and budgets are tightened, it’s important to minimize waste as much as possible. A great way to do that is to learn how to make a good stock. A great ingredient for hundreds of recipes, stock is great tasting, healthy, and easy to make. We’ll get to the recipe in a second (skip to the INGREDIENTS heading if that’s what you’re here for), but first, a few words about learning to cook in this strange time. I think it’s important to keep your neighbor in mind when cooking and buying ingredients. There are many people that only have access to food via food stamps, so be sure to check that you aren’t buying out a store of a food-stamp-eligible items. Additionally, it’s important to keep yourself from buying in bulk. This can be wasteful and waste is not something we need right now. This is what makes stocks easy. Anything can go in a stock. Carrot peels, chicken bones, any food scraps you’d usually throw away (except for egg shells) can be made into a stock. Keep your scraps in the freezer and when you’re ready, toss everything is a big pot, cover with water and add garlic, herbs, pepper, and whatever other seasonings you have on hand.
Here is a simple chicken stock recipe to get your gears turning:
- A couple pounds of chicken scraps
- Onion scraps or one large onion
- Carrot scraps or one large carrot
- Leak scraps or one large leak
- Two cloves of garlic (or equivalent)
- One large stockpot (12 quarts if you have it)
- If you are using whole vegetables, rough chop. Peel garlic cloves and rough chop. If you are using whole herbs, wrap in cheesecloth and tie with butchers twine (this isn’t necessary, but it will make them easier to pull out later). This is called a Bouquet Garni!
- Throw everything into you pot and add enough water to completely cover.
- Cook on high until you see bubbles break the surface. Do not let it boil.
- As soon as you begin to see bubbles, turn heat down to medium low.
- Keep the stock at a gentle simmer for 6 to 10 hours, depending on how much stock you have.
- After the time, strain out the solids and turn off the heat. Allow stock to cool and store in the fridge overnight.
- There will be solidified fat on top of the liquid. The liquid is your stock, but don’t toss the fat! Both can be used in soups!