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The Basics of Making Stock

Stock adds flavour and depth to sauces, stews and soups, making it an integral part of cooking. Our guide explains how to make stock that will uplift your recipes and improve your culinary skills.

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Stock is much more than putting a bunch of ingredients into a pot and letting it simmer. In fact, stock is the basis for many dishes and sauces, making it vital to the taste and texture of several meals. Whether you are a home cook or an aspiring chef, knowing the best practices and techniques when making you???re a stock from scratch can be game changing.

Our following guide is going to explain the differences between white and brown stock, as well as how to make chicken and vegetable stock.

What???s the Difference Between White Stock and Brown Stock?

There are two types of stock: white and brown. White stock is used as the base of veloute sauce, whereas brown sauces are used for demi-glace and espagnole sauce.

Brown Stock

Roasted animal bones such as those from beef or chicken are required for brown stock, as well as tomatoes or tomato paste. By roasting the animal bones and using tomato products, your stock will develop a darker, brown colour.

White Stock

White stock can be made from beef or veal bones; however, these bones have to be blanched first, then drained and rinsed before being added to the pot in which your stock is going to be simmering in. Of course, you can also make vegetarian-friendly white stock. To make white vegetable stock, add your vegetables raw into the pot with water and leave to simmer.

Animal bones are typical for making stock because they contain collagen, which when simmered, forms a gelatine that adds more depth of flavour to your stock. That being said, vegetarian stock can be just as flavourful.

TIP: As the name suggests, stock pots are designed with stock or broth in mind. With the stock pot???s tall, lengthy sides and narrow surface, it prevents the contents (usually stock, broth or soup) from dissipating. This is ideal as you will be simmering your stock for long periods of time.

Add Acid to Your Stock

When making stock with animal bones, you need to break down the cartilage to accelerate the formation of gelatine. For brown stock, tomatoes are a great way to add acid, while also turning the stock a brownish colour. However, for white stock, you want to keep the stock clear and colourless. Add white wine to white stock, fish stock, or chicken stock.

Much like the five mother sauces, there are four different types of stocks that act as the foundation of many sauces and dishes, making them an integral part of the cooking process. Knowing how to create these stocks at home can add delicate flavours to your stews, soups and sauces. Here are the four different types of stocks and how you can create them within the comfort of your own home.

White Stock (Fond Blanc)

As mentioned before, white stock is made from animal bones that have been blanched rather than roasted. Common animal bones used for white stock include those found with white meat or beef, such as chicken carcasses and veal bones. These animal bones are then simmered with aromatic vegetables ??? usually a mirepoix.

When it comes to making a white stock, you want to avoid any colour from developing as this can cause your white sauces to seem ???off???. Avoid discolouration by keeping a close eye on your mirepoix and ensuring that it does not burn.

Brown Stock (Fond Brun)

Made from animal bones that are roasted before being added to the mix, brown stock is used for meat dishes and gravies. Beef, veal, and poultry bones can be cooked and used, however, ensure that the animal bones are golden in colour and not burnt. Add a tomato product such as tomato paste to the pot along with mirepoix.

Vegetable Stock (Fond de Legume)

Vegetable stock, as the name suggests, is made from vegetables and herbs that have been gently sauteed before being cooked in liquid. Typically, vegetable stock is vegetarian friendly, and if you sauteed the vegetables with dairy-free butter, this stock can suit a plant-based or vegan lifestyle.

Vegetable stock is often a replacement for meat stocks like chicken stock.

Fish Stock (Fume de Poisson)

Fish stock can be quite fragrant, and because of this, it has its limited uses. When making fish stock, only use the bones of white fish such as cod, bass and flat fish. Oily fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel are too fatty for stock and will make it greasy. You may also wish to add a fish head as this can produce a lot of gelatine, but make sure that the fish head and fish bones are properly cleaned and free from gills as this can create a bitter and unpleasant taste.

What are the Different Types of Stocks?

Learning how to make chicken stock is a great way to add flavour to several dishes due to its versatility. You can add chicken stock to numerous recipes like chicken soup and a chicken veloute sauce. That being said, chicken stock can be added to almost all stews and soups due to its subtle but full bodied flavour.

Ingredients

  • 1kg of chicken bones (chicken carcasses and wings are best)
  • 1 large onion, skin left on and cut into quarters
  • 1 carrot, cut into chunks
  • 1 leek, cut into chunks
  • 1 stick of celery, cut into chunks
  • 1 crushed garlic clove
  • 1 tbsp of black peppercorns 
  • 2 parsley stalks
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 bay leaf

Equipment

  • Paring knife (to cut the vegetables)
  • Large stock pot
  • Cheesecloth
  • String
  • Slotted ladle
  • Sieve

Method

Before you start cooking, decide on whether you wish to make a white or brown stock with your chicken bones. If you wish to make a white chicken stock, blanch the chicken carcasses. However, if you wish to make a brown chicken stock, roast (but do not burn) the bones in the oven.

  1. Prepare your vegetables, cutting them into chunks. You can leave the skin on your onions and carrots for additional flavour.
  2. Place your parsley, thyme and bay leaf onto your cheesecloth and use the string to tie it into a parcel. This will add flavour while keeping the herbs together.
  3. Add water to your stock pot before adding vegetables, your cheesecloth of herbs, and blanched or roasted chicken bones to the liquid. Add a pinch of salt before bringing the liquid to the boil, then reducing the heat so it simmers.
  4. Leave the liquid to cook for 3 hours, using your slotted spoon to skim the top of impurities when needed.
  5. Pass the liquid through a sieve and add to your intended recipe.

You might need these:

How to Make Chicken Stock

CookwareParing & Peeling KnivesUtensil Sets

How to Make Vegetable Stock

A good vegetable stock can add flavour to many soups and stews, and is ideal for vegetarians and vegans who need to substitute recipes that require a chicken stock. 

Ingredients

  • 2 onions, skin left on and cut into chunks
  • 3 carrots, cut into chunks
  • 3 celery stalks, cut into chunks
  • 3 medium mushrooms
  • 4 sprigs of thyme
  • 3 parsley stalks
  • 1 bay leaf

Equipment

  • Paring knife (for cutting the vegetables)
  • Large stock pot
  • Cheesecloth
  • String
  • Slotted ladle
  • Sieve

Method

  1. Gather your vegetables and chop them into chunks. Create a pouch with your cheesecloth and string, so it can hold the parsley, thyme and bay leaf.
  2. Add the vegetables to the stock pot that is filled with water. Cover the stock pot with the lid and bring to a boil, reducing the heat and leaving it to simmer for approximately an hour. Stir the liquid every now and then to circulate the vegetables. Use the slotted ladle to remove any impurities that may have risen to the surface.
  3. Take the stock pot off the stove and pour through a sieve or strainer. By doing this, you easily remove the vegetables and herbs, leaving you with a clear and smooth vegetable stock.

Looking for these?

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How to Store Stock

Making a batch of stock and storing it can be a great way to always have stock on hand. Thankfully, stock can be easily stored and frozen, so you can keep it for several months.

If you???ve made stock with the purpose of freezing it for a later date, make sure you cool the stock as quickly as possible before storing it. Ideally, you want the stock to cool within 2 to 3 hours, which can be accelerated by pouring the stock into shallow food containers.

Refrigerator ??? Homemade stock can be kept in the refrigerator for approximately 4-5 days if kept in an airtight container.

Freezer ??? Can be frozen and stored in the freezer for approximately 6-9 months. Make sure it is stored in a glass container with straight sides. You can also freeze stock in ice cube trays and remove when needed.

Store your stock with the following containers:

ProCook Glass Ovenware Airtight Storage Set
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Typical Price £28Only £14.99Shop Now
ProCook Lock & Fresh Airtight Storage Set
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Additional Tips for Making Stock at Home

  1. Only use the right kind of vegetables. Hardier vegetables such as carrots, celery, onion and leeks are the staple when making stock as they do not tend to breakdown as quickly or as easily. Softer vegetables like butternut squash and sweet potato can soften and become problematic when trying to create a clear stock for sauces. Traditionally, mirepoix is the go to when making white and brown stock ??? this consists of carrots, onion and celery.
  2. Never let your stock come to the boil. You want to keep your stock to a simmer, as boiling can cause the animal bones and mirepoix to break down and cloud your stock ??? you want to keep your stock clear or rich in colour. 
  3. You may witness impurities floating to the top. If so, use a slotted ladle to remove them from the surface of your stock. Remember to clean your ladle after each use, so you keep your stock clean.

Cook delicious beef stew with a full-bodied vegetable or beef stock!

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