Basic Instructions for Making Stock, Broth or Bouillon
one of the most important things you can have in your larder at all times 
is an ample supply of stock, broth or bouillon. what's the difference? 
they are virtually the same however, the food processing industry has sort 
of sorted them out. stock usually refers to what you have made at home. 
broth usually refers to a canned product you can buy and bouillon usually 
refers to the powder or little concentrated cubes you can buy. they are 
all made by cooking bits and pieces of animal or vegetable together until 
the liquid is flavorful. this liquid may then be used for a soup on its 
own or it may be used as a cooking liquid that will add flavor to foods. 
there are a variety of methods for making stocks, broths and bouillon. 
all of them are good, depending on the situation and the eventual 
application. making a good stock by any method is a simple matter. to 
make a meat, poultry of fish stock you may begin with uncooked bones or 
scraps or you may use the remaining bones and scraps from already cooked 
products. there was a time when almost a pot was kept on the back of the 
stove and all meat and vegetable scraps went into it. the resulting 
liquid was used throughout the day in various dishes, or it could be used 
by itself as a soup. 
the basic stock: you may begin with raw bones and scraps of meat or you 
may prefer to "caramelize," them first. to do this, put a bit of oil or 
fat in a heavy pot, add your bones and scraps and sear them on all sides 
until they are nicely browned. the reason for doing this is that by 
browning you caramelize the natural sugars in the products, be they animal 
or vegetable, thus developing a bit more flavor. 
this is a good thing, but it is not absolutely necessary as the resulting 
stock will be perfectly good with or without caramelization. usually, the 
only time to caramelize is when making a vegetarian stock. the vegetables 
on their own need a bit of extra help. 
so, whether you caramelize or not, the process is extremely simple. put 
your meat, poultry or fish scraps, cooked or uncooked in a large pot. 
add an onion or two. don't bother to peel of chop it. just quarter it. 
the peel will help with the color of the stock. add a bulb of garlic. 
again, don't bother to peel, just cut the bulb in half and chuck it into 
the pot. add a tablespoon of mixed dried herbs (italian seasoning) or 
sprigs of your favorite fresh herbs. add any other vegetable peels, 
scraps or tired vegetables from the refrigerator you may have around. do 
not however use beets. they will turn your stock a nasty color. cover 
all with cold water, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a 
simmer, cover with a tight fitting lid and leave for an hour or two. 
to defat: to defat your stock, allow it to cool completely. the fat will 
solidify and float to the top. remove it. if the fat is not firm enough 
to easily remove from the top of the stock, you may need to refrigerate 
to clarify: even after straining, your stock will have some small bits and 
pieces in it. for most uses this doesn't matter. however, on occasion 
you may wish a perfectly clear stock you will have to clarify it. to do 
this, let the stock cool completely. then beat an egg or two and whisk 
into the cold stock. turn the heat to a low simmer and allow the stock to 
heat gradually. do not stir. when the stock is hot, the egg will have 
cooked and risen to the surface of the pot bringing the particulate matter 
with it. you may then strain the stock through a clean piece of cloth and 
your stock should be clear. occasionally it is necessary to do this more 
than once to get a perfectly clear stock. 
vegetarian stock or court bouillon: this is basically the same as making a 
stock with animal products except that you only use vegetables. to begin, 
heat a bit of olive oil in a heavy pot and brown a chopped onion or two 
and at least a dozen cloves of garlic, the more the better. add a chopped 
bell pepper and 2 to 3 stalks of chopped celery. you may add any other 
veggies such as carrots, cabbage, potato, leeks or green onions and 
continue to saute until all are lightly browned and softened. add enough 
water to stand 3 to 4 inches over the surface of the veggies. add sprigs 
of what ever herbs you like and bring to a boil. reduce the heat to 
maintain a simmer, cover with a tight fitting lid and simmer for about an 
hour. strain and season to taste with salt and pepper. 
cheaters stock: many people turn up their noses at using the powdered 
concentrated bouillon. this can be made into a perfectly valid stock. 
put as much water as you want stock into a pot. add powdered bouillon to 
taste. then add a quartered onion, a handful of chopped garlic, your 
choice of herbs and any bits of vegetable you want, bring to a boil, then 
reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for about an hour. strain and you have 
home made stock! 
storing stock: you need to have stock on hand all the times. it will only 
last for about a week in the refrigerator. to freeze it, put it into ice 
cube trays and freeze. then put the frozen cubes into zip-lock bags. 
this way they are readily available for use no matter how much or how 
little you need. 
-- william barfieldsr 
(ID: 10890) Mirror: Sun, Sep 14, 2003

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