Add Profound Flavor To Almost Any Recipe With A Savory Stock!
Until a couple of years ago, I thought "store stocks" were medieval torture devices... but since discovering how darn good store bought cooking stocks actually were, I have wondered how I managed to do without them all this time. I was of the ol' skool which calls for you to make your own stocks as the ones that came off the grocer's shelves were fetid, tasteless, oversalted watery brews that possessed a distinct resemblance to panther pee.
I have spent many hours of my long life filling the house up with steam as (primarily) beef bones along with whole onions, garlic, and whatever root veggies I had hanging around boiled in a huge pot on the stove from morning until night, and then had to face the perennial problem of finding a space in my fridge large enough to hold that voluminous concoction overnight so that the fat could congeal at the top and I could remove it easily.
I got so retentive that I would even ignore my own very strong feelings against animal cruelty in the raising of veal and give in to my old French culinary academy teacher's statement that the "very best beef stocks can only be made from veal!" The reason for this dictum is that since the very young bones of the veal have a significantly higher collagen content in them, they create a lot more of the tasty gelatin which provides such a phenomenal flavor in the stock!
The use of quality ingredients to your dishes and stocks are key to the success of the dish. If you choose to make your own stock, here is a good way to make a good, basic vegetable stock. It has no fat, and adds a fantastic amount taste to almost anything you'll prepare as an entree. Here is a simple recipe for a quart of stock.
Basic Vegetable Stock
2 quarts Cold Water
1 Medium Onion (quartered)
4 Large cloves of Garlic (halved)
2 Ribs of Celery
1 small stalk of Broccoli
1 small stalk of Cauliflower (you can also use vegetable trimmings that equal the amounts of the above).
Add all the ingredients in the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Then simmer the ingredients for three to eight hours. Replenish the amount of water so that you will always have at least one quart of stock in the pot. After the pot is turned down to simmer, I leave the cover on the pan and slightly to one side, allowing the water to evaporate. When the time has elapsed, you will need to strain the stock in a chinoise. Allow the stock to cool, then refrigerate or freeze it until ready for use.
Keep in mind that for a richer, darker stock, you should brown the ingredients in a little oil before you add the water. Do not add green peppers or spices to your stock, because it will make the stock bitter. Don't even add pepper as it will just cascade down to the bottom of the pot. A good pinch of sea or kosher salt is all you need!
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