Taking Stock: The Base of Flavor

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Staci Strauss

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Recently, I read an article by Rachel Tepper over on yahoo.com/food entitled “There’s Life Beyond Bouillon Cubes” that got me thinking about how much I value stock.

She rightly makes the case that store bought, canned stock ‘or worse, those tiny cubes of salt-shocked bouillon’ are not an option. There’s no contest–making your own is the only way to go.

Ms. Tepper goes to an expert for a different slant. Scott Drewo, Executive Chef at The Source in Washington, D.C. shares his technique with her for his ‘double stock’.

She explains:

Making your own broth involves a whole new level of flavor customization. That appeals to Drewno, who forgoes a standard chicken stock in favor of a “double stock,” which are two different stocks that he combines. The first is an Asian-inspired stock of ginger, green onions, celery, carrots, and chicken scraps. The second is made with roasted pork bones, pig head, pig feet, and whole chickens.

The whole process takes nine hours and produces five gallons of stock—which only last three days. “We’re just constantly going through it,” Drewno says. He uses it in everything from soups to marinades. “There’s always a stock on!”

There’s no contest–making your own is the only way to go.

OK, that those are restaurant quanitites and not all of use have a spare pig head or pig feet lying about, but you can see that the list of ingredients you can use is wide open.

Stock is so easy to make and as an extra added bonus, making it allows you to use all those ingredients that you just can’t bring yourself to waste.

Especially in these winter months, stock is there at the beginning of a lot of my cooking, so like Chef Drewo, there is always a simmering stockpot at our house.

I’ve pulled together some sources to get you started making your own delicious stocks.

Take a look and make some stock! When it’s time to rattle those pots and pans, you’ll be glad to have some delicious, homemade stock to use.

1) Over at Wellness Mama, Katie has a terrific tutorial on making bone broth.

2) Kim Knoch is the Nourishing Cook. She does a great job explaining how to make grass fed beef stock.

3) The BBC Good Food site weighs in with an illuminating video on stock-making techniques.

4) Francis Lam used to write for salon.com and he knows what’s what when it comes to how-to. Check out his recipe.

5) On myhumblekitchen.com, Diana Bauman has a very flavorful recipe for rich and flavorful vegetable broth.

Do you have a stock secret you feel like sharing?

Photo credit: Staci Strauss