Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Makin' Stock

Making stock is something that I've thought about doing for far too long.  But, at long last, we finally did it!  I must say I don't know what took me so long....it really was very simple.
And it tastes super.  And is so inexpensive it is nearly absurd!  As an added plus there are no worries about all the potentially scary stuff found in oh-so-many store-bought stock and bullion.
 
The first step is to save up a bunch of vegetable scraps in the freezer.  The only thing to steer clear of is strongly flavored items (like broccoli).  My bag was full of carrot and potato peels, garlic and onion skins, bell pepper cores, carrot tops, squash guts and skin, etc.  Stuff that I usually send to the compost pile.
Once you have a bunch of scraps you can make stock!  I used my pressure cooker, but you could certainly do it in a regular pot it would just probably take longer.
Vegetable Stock
Add a couple tablespoons of olive oil, a few pepper corns, and two bay leaves to the pressure cooker.
Put the pressure cooker on the stove over high heat.
We added several sliced up several mushrooms too as my bag of scraps didn't contain any mushrooms and from what I've read they really add to the flavor.  We also added a few stocks of celery we had as well. 
Saute the mushrooms and celery for a few minutes.
Add the vegetable scraps and begin to saute them.  Be sure to rotate the veg every couple of minutes so that the stuff at the bottom gets brought to the top and vice versa.  Everything needs some time at the bottom of the pot. Tongs would probably be perfect for this task, but we don't own any so we just used a big spoon.
The pot starts out full nearly to the brim, but after 15 minutes or so it has shrunk considerably and by 25 minutes the pot should be only about half full.  Also, brown bits (called fond) should be starting to form at the bottom of the pot.
Add a cup of water and try to loosen the fond, scraping as much as possible off the bottom. 
Add nine more cups of water, but be sure you aren't overfilling your pressure cooker.  It shouldn't be filled more than 3/4 of the way full.
Secure the lid and bring the pot to pressure (our pressure cooker does 15 psi).
Cook for 45-60 minutes.
Remove from heat and allow the pressure to fall on its own accord.
Press everything through a funnel hand press (chinois) and tada!  Stock!
And then, after all that, the scraps still end up in the compost pile.   

We ended up with about two quarts of stock.  I froze a few cups of it in an ice cube tray as an experiment.  The rest was just gobbled up fresh in soup, chili, stuffing, risotto, etc.
It so nice when new ventures work out so well.

2 comments:

  1. Very interesting! I would not have used tongs for that chore, but I own several pair of tongs. A big spoon would have been my choice. What will you do with the cubes. Have you ever considered pressure canning your stock? It sounds delicious.

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  2. I have not really thought about canning the stock, but I certainly will if I end up with more than I can reasonably use. The cubes are going to be used in upcoming soups. Tis the season! We'll have to see how many I need to add. Frozen bullion cubes, sort of....

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