Friday, July 23, 2010

stocking up

For a dish to turn out wonderful, one has give it a good base to start from: goof quality home-made stocks. Prepare stock by boiling bones, scraps, vegetables and seasoning gently for four to five hours in a heavy-based stock pot. Skimming off the scum that appears on top of the boiling ingredients gives a clear and appetsing stock.

Meat scraps and bones give flavour to the stock and, in addition, contain gelatine which gives the stock body. Raw veal bones, especially the knuckle, and calf feet contain the most gelatine.

Stocks can be stored frozen for up to three weeks. Cool briefly and put in freezer bags or plastic containers, then label and date. Make up batches of beef, lamb, chicken and fish stocks and freeze them. Then you can just reach into the freezer and pull out what you need when you cook.

Chicken Stock
2 kg chicken carcass
1 1/2 kg chicken, fat trimmed
4 medium-sized young carrots, chopped
3-4 big onions, peeled and chopped
20-30 peppercorns, cracked
3-4 litres water

Place all the ingredients in a stock pot and simmer for 4 to 5 hours. Add more water, if necesocksary.
Strain stock through a fine strainer. Cool briefly and freeze. Makes up to 2 litres stock.

Lamb Stock
2 kg mixed lamb scraps and bones, fat trimmed
4 young carrots chopped
3 big onions, peeled and chopped
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
20 peppercorns, cracked
1 tbsp orange zest
3-4 litres water

Place all ingredients in a stock pot and simmer for 4 to 5 hours. Add more water, if necessary.
Strain the stock through a fine strainer. Cool briefly before freezing. Makes up to 2 litres stock.

Beef Stock
2 kg beef or veal bones, crushed
1 1/2 kg beef shank
3 big onions, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 tbs freshly ground black pepper
3 - 4 litres water

Heat the oven to 200C. Arrange the bones, beef and vegetables on a roasting pan and position the pan in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes. Turn the ingredients over occasionally so they brown evenly.
Remove from the oven and pour away any fat collected in the roasting pan. Pour the browned ingredients into a stock pot and add the black pepper and water. Simmer for 4 - 5 hours. Add more water, if necessary.
Strain the stock through a fine strainer. Cool briefly and freeze. Makes up to 2 litres stock.

Fish Stock
Fish fumet and fish court-bouillon are delicately herbed or spiced fish stock which is simmered gently for a shorter time.

2kg mixed fish heads and bones
1 small leek, chopped
1 small onion, sliced
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Water to cover

Place all the ingredients with enough water to cover in a stock pot. Simmer for 30 minutes, skim the scum off the surface and turn off the heat. Leave the pot uncovered during simmering.
Strain the stock through a fine strainer. Cool briefly before freezing.

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