Stock is something that I always like to have on hand. A great stock can transform a dish, adding depth, complexity and a wealth of flavours. Homemade stock is terribly easy and relatively cheap to make. I store my left over roast carcasses in the freezer until I've collected enough to make a broth, or until the room runs out. You can alter your ingredients to suit your palette or to what is readily available. Here's what you'll need:
Basic, anything goes stock
3 poultry carcasses or large bones (lamb, beef, pork etc), or a mix of both 4 garlic bulbs 6 generous slices of ginger 4 large onions (white, brown, red - it doesn't really matter which) 4 carrots (turnips also work well) 4 sticks of celery with leaves 4 spring onions 1 1/2 teaspoons of sea salt 8-10L of water (adjust bases on the volume of the bones)
- Pour 8L of water into a large stockpot and place on medium heat. Add salt.
- Slice onions into quarters and garlic bulb in half (horizontal to base). There's no need to remove the papery layer as this will be later strained. Add to water.
- Slice carrot, celery and spring onions into 2cm chunks and add to water.
- Add your bones into the water, no need to defrost if your taking it straight from the freezer. If you have purchased stock bones, roast in the oven at 220* Celsius for 20-30 minutes prior adding to the water.
- Top up your broth with extra water if desired, cover with lid and bring to the boil. Reduce down to a medium low heat and leave to simmer for 6 hours or more. Sometime I leave my stock on the lowest setting overnight and wake up to a rich sumptuous broth.
- Allow the stock to cool for an hour or two before straining off the bones & vegetables. I use a ladle and fine metal sieve, spooning the stock into Tupperware. You can also strain through cheesecloth if you would like a cleaner finish. Leave the last few millilitres in to pot as this will be full of sediment.
- I let my stock sit in the fridge overnight, removing the layer of fat that hardens on the surface after a few hours. Ideally at this point I would love to freeze my stock in ice cubes, but I simply don't have the space. However I find reusing 300mL yoghurt containers work just as effectively.
We use our stock in everything from curries, to soups, sauces, stir fries, pasta and rice. You can easily alter the stock to suit your needs. I omit ginger and increase the amount of garlic and onions if I know I'm going to be using the stock for Italian style dishes. For soups I use only chicken carcasses and mixed veg, I find red meat bones can be too strong for many broths. Stocks for sauces really need richness, so that means more onions, more red meat bones (even a rasher of bacon) and the addition of peppercorns and mixed herbs - usually rosemary. For Thai, Indonesian and Malay, stick to chicken and add lemongrass and lime leaves, use galangal rather then ginger. You can even add cabbage. Voila! Stock!