BF Basics: Making Stock

~~posted by Jen

Veggie pieces hit the stock pot

Leftovers week continues, so today I’m sharing an easy way to make stock. This is a terrific use for all those leftover vegetable stems and pieces, plus it utilizes the bones from your turkey, chicken, or beef. This is more the basic “method” for making stock, not so much an actual recipe. It starts out as straight up vegetable stock, then change it to meat stock based on whatever bones you add to it.

My turkey carcass and all the veggies I used during roasting all go in the stock pot

Since I now have a resident vegetarian, that is how all this started. He will only eat fish or seafood, so I can’t use chicken stock in any of the things I make for him. Vegetable and mushroom stock from the store get kind of pricey, so I figured there had to be a cheaper way to make this at home. And there is!

What I do is this, every time I cut up fresh vegetables, I save all the peels, stems, etc that would normally go down the disposal get stashed in a zip-top bag in the freezer. Then when I’m ready to make stock, I just take it out of the freezer and away we go! (Yes, even onion peels, I know it sounds weird, but just go with it.) You can also freeze the bones and roasting vegetables whenever you roast a chicken, they’ll keep in the freezer for up to 2 months if you don’t want to make stock right away.

Pot full of goodness, ready to simmer all night

I make mine in the crock pot, this is the easiest way I have found and doesn’t require standing over a hot stove or stirring all the time. I use a 6 quart Crock Pot. Here’s how it’s done:

Jen’s Easy Basic Vegetable Stock
Stems, peels, and pieces of assorted vegetables from my “Stock Pot Bag” (usually includes: carrot ends; celery leaves & core; cabbage core & outer leaves; potato peels; onion stems, peels, & cores; pepper stems, cores, & seeds; mushroom stems; asparagus stems; eggplant stems; stems from fresh herbs; root ends from scallions.)
2 full heads of garlic cut in half, peelings on
8 large tomatoes cut into chunks, core, peel, and all (or 2 large cans whole tomatoes)
3 large carrots, cut into pieces, peels and ends included
4 celery stalks, cut into pieces, ends and leaves included
3 tbsp Salt
1 tbsp Pepper
4 tbsp Garlic Powder
4 tbsp Onion Powder
2 tbsp ground Cumin
2 bunches Fresh Herbs of your choice: good ones include Parsley or Chives 

Directions: Add the vegetables to the crock pot, then cover completely with water. Add the seasonings and top with the herbs. Stir together, then cook on high for 2 hours just to bring it to a good simmer.

Reduce the heat on the crockpot to low and let it simmer all night, for at least 10 hours. Cool completely, then strain through a mesh strainer. Pour into ice cube trays and freeze. Once the trays are frozen, remove the cubes to a freezer bag for storage.

My cooled and strained broth, ready for ice cube trays and the freezer

Poultry or Meat Stock Variation:
Add the meat bones or poultry carcasses (don’t forget the veggies and herbs you used during roasting, add those too!) to the pot first. I usually use an 8 quart Crockpot for Chicken or Beef Stock. Then follow directions as above for the vegetable stock. Your choice of herbs may vary, for chicken or turkey stock I usually add some fresh rosemary, sage, and thyme. For beef, I use lots more mushroom stems and fresh thyme, also add some Montreal Steak Seasoning with the herbs. 

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