How do I make a stock?

Question? How do I make a stock from scratch?

Answer: Everyone probably has a few pre-made bouillon cubes hiding out in the back of our cupboard, but homemade stocks, especially meat stocks, take some love to perfect. The remains of a roast make a great starting point for your stock, whereas stock from raw bones, trimmings or giblets will have a bigger flavor profile.

Basic Ingredients
For a versatile stock, the basics ingredients are water, bones from your favorite meat, trimmings or giblets from your favorite meat, celery, onions, carrots and a few herbs such as parsley stalks, a bay leaf or thyme sprigs (or ideally all three tied in a bundle), plus six or so peppercorns. Tip: Stock isn't salted, to avoid over-seasoning your finished dish.

Meat stocks can take a few hours, so big batches are most economical. Save bones and trimmings in the freezer, or buy cheaply from the butchers.

I don't have an exact recipe for a stock, only ensuring that you add enough water to cover the main ingredients (1.5kg bones will make roughly 1 liter of unreduced stock), and following these four key steps:

  • Boil then skim: All stock is boiled once to begin with, bringing froth to the surface of meat and fish stocks. Sweep a large spoon across the pan to remove as much as you can. This will help the stock not get too greasy as well as keep the flavor profile in tact.
  • Getting the flavor takes time:A good, clear stock is simmered slowly and gently. Once it boils, reduce the heat until bubbles bob lazily to the surface, then cover the pan. It won't need much attention, except a quick stir now and again. A slow cooker is perfect for this, and can be left all day to simmer, if you can wait that long.
  • Strain it: Lift the veg and bones from the stock, then pass it through a sieve and cool completely. Scoop away any fat.
  • Reduce and store: To boost flavor and to save space, boil strained stock down by half (you can always add water back again). Chill and use within 3 days, or freeze to save for another day.

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