Monday, October 17, 2011

The Nitty-Gritty of Frugal Food | Stock

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I just wrote about how I use leftovers when I make soup, but soup in and of itself is well worth its own post when talking about frugal food.  Soup is warm, hearty, filling, nutritious and cheap to make.  But before I can get to soup, I have to start with broth or stock, because the first part to making a hearty, nourishing soup is to make your own broth or stock. (Don't worry, this is easy!)

There are quite a few details involved in the definitions of "broth" and "stock."  There also seem to be more than a few opinions on the true definitions.  But whether I'm technically making a stock or a broth is irrelevant to this post.  The point is that what I am making--which I am just going to call stock--is nutritious, cheap and flavorful and enhances the soups I make through depth of flavor and extra nutrition.

When you make your own stock, you are able to pull nutrients out of the bones and cartilage that are so beneficial for your body, namely gelatin.  Did you know that--for nutritional purposes--your stock should congeal in the fridge?  THAT is the sign of a gelatin-rich stock.  Besides being nutritious, homemade stocks are full of flavor and will bring a richness and depth to soup.  Store-bought chicken or beef broth is like mildly flavored water in comparison...and bullion cubes--bleh. Salty flavor (and preservatives to boot). 

Stock is also CHEAP to make.  You make it primarily from what you discard--the bones from the chicken or beef you just cooked and ate. And before you get overwhelmed...Making stock is EASY.  Very easy.  It takes a whopping 5 minutes to prepare. When I first started making stock, I didn't intend to never buy chicken broth again, but I seriously have not bought chicken (or beef) broth since 2008. It is that easy.

Whenever I roast a chicken and we've eaten the meat, or we've had drumsticks or a bone-in roast, I make stock the next day.  (And if I can't for some reason, I freeze the bones until I am able to make stock or have accumulated enough bones to make stock.)

1. Pull out your crockpot, plug it in, turn it on high.
2. Put in the bones.  (An amount roughly equivalent to 1 chicken carcass or a dozen drumsticks.)
3. Add 1 carrot (or a bunch of clean carrot peels).
4. Peel and quarter 1 onion, and add it to the crockpot.
5. Add 1 bay leaf.
6. Fill with water to within 1 inch of the top.
7. After about 1-2 hours (once it has come to a boil), skim off any foam at the top and turn the crockpot to low.  Let simmer for 12-24 hours.
8. Strain the stock by pouring it through a colander into another pot or bowl.

Of course you can also prepare the stock on your stovetop, but I find the crockpot to be much simpler.

There are more in depth and alternative ways to making broths and stocks--differing flavors, various techniques, ways that may be more helpful in pulling nutrients out of the bones.  But for the beginner this method is simple, flavorful and nutritious.  It's definitely a good place to start if you've never made your own stock before.

You can store the stock in your fridge for up to 4 days, or you can freeze it.  I freeze my stock in 2 cup glass pyrex storage containers

Linked to Sunday Night Soup Night!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Christy, I got my commenting issue worked out, yay! Thanks so much for sharing a good basic recipe for making stock with Sunday Night Soup Night. I'll be hosting weekly through fall and winter, so I'd love to see you again with your next soup/stock/chowder recipe!