Tips For Properly Making Stock

Tips For Properly Making Stock

A great tasting stock is one of the many basic things every cook needs to know how to make. Whether you’re a professional chef or just trying to make your family dinner every night, stock is one of those cooking components that’s at the base of almost everything. From soups to sauces to risotto and so much more, all kinds of stock are used. Generally, people tend to make either chicken, beef, vegetable or fish stock and each one of them is easy to make. However, there are steps that need to be taken in order to make stock properly so that it greatly enhances your dish, rather than detracting from it.

Yes, you can easily buy stock from the grocery store. However, there are so many more benefits to homemade rather than store-bought. It’s a great way to use up vegetable scraps and leftover meat bones. Plus, making it from scratch means you can adjust it to your taste. Stock also freezes really well, a great way to freeze it is to pour it into an ice cube tray and just pop a cube out every time you need one.
The chef instructors at L’École Culinaire have some tips for getting your stock just right. Following these simple rules will help you prepare a stock that is flavorful and of the right consistency.

Never Boil It
The number one rule of stock making is to never boil, always just let it simmer. Bringing stock to a roaring boil can make it cloudy and greasy and can sometimes lead to a bitter taste.

Cool It The Right Way
Cooling a stock can be just as important as cooking it, especially when making chicken stock as not cooling it quickly could lead to salmonella. To cool quickly, plunge the stock pot into cold water. Ensure that it is not completely covered while cooling, the steam needs to escape otherwise the stock could turn sour.

Thickening and Thinning Are Easy
Depending on how your stock has turned out you may need to either thicken or thin it. Both of these are easy to do and don’t take much time. To thin just add extra water until it is at the consistency you prefer.  To thicken, add a small amount of unflavored gelatin to the mix.

Skim Fat At The End
You’ll notice that when you make a meat stock, fat tends to float to the top. It’s best to wait until the stock is fully finished cooking and then remove all the fat. This ensures a cleaner removal of any unwanted product left in the stock.

For more cooking tips and tricks try one of L’École Culinaire’s public cooking classes, designed for the at-home chef. To learn more or to register click here.