Monday, February 7, 2011


Those who didn't grow up with a European immigrant grandmother (as I did), may find stock an intimidating task when reading cookbooks. However, stock is not only simple, nutritious, and cheap, but a staple in every kitchen, and is one of the easiest things you can make (even easier than sorbet or pate!).

Take your kitchen scraps. Sort meats into poultry, fish, beef, pork, or lamb (don't mix the meats together). Throw one (or no) kinds of meat into a slow cooker. Fill the slow cooker three-quarters full with water. Add vegetable ends, peels, leftovers. If desired, add a light sprinkle of fresh or dried herbs. Turn on your slow cooker and leave for eight hours (I do this after preparing dinner and leave it overnight). Strain your stock and if desired, pick out pieces of meat and add back in. Now pour into a heatproof measuring cup, or use a ladle, and pour off stock into dedicated ice cube trays. Don't use those ice cube trays for any other purpose, and it's even better if you have dedicated ice cube trays for each kind of stock you will make. Take out the bones from the debris, and throw the rest onto the compost pile. When the stock freezes, pop it out of the ice cube trays and put the cubes into freezer-safe containers. Label the containers and use within four months.

So why should you make stock, and what is it good for? First of all, you will be turning into food that which would otherwise go into the trash. Second, stock is the basis for soups, stews, gravies and sauces, so it's always useful to have around. And, of course, we will be saving money not buying broth or stock, and keeping waste out of the landfill, and if you compost, you will have gorgeous fertilizer for your garden!

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