This article was originally published in November 2012
In French, stocks are known as fonds de cuisine, or “the foundations of cooking.” Lynne Vea, local chef and PCC Cooks instructor agrees and likens a stock to the “artistic backdrop of a great play, with all other action defined by it.”
The most important thing to remember when making stock, says Lynne, is to start with fresh ingredients and resist the urge to use limp, old vegetables in your stock.
Begin by cutting the joints of chicken or turkey parts to enrich the stock by releasing collagen. Add whole vegetables, such as onions, leeks, carrots and celery; fresh, woody herbs, like thyme or rosemary tied into a bouquet garni; tomatoes or vinegar; and cloves and peppercorns. Cover with cold water by at least two inches.
Starting with cold water maximizes flavor and nutrients and helps prevent the stock from becoming cloudy. Simmer gently and skim the foam from the stock periodically. Cook for 3 hours, adding liquid if needed to keep the meat and vegetables covered. When finished, strain the stock, pushing down on the ingredients to release every drop of goodness. Season lightly with salt and pepper. To remove fat, refrigerate overnight and strain off the fat layer that forms. Refrigerate for 3 to 4 days or freeze for several months.
Use the same basic techniques and vegetables as those used for poultry stock. Lynne suggests adding sea vegetables in the last 30 minutes of simmering to add a savory, umami flavor.
Tip: Tomatoes or vinegar will gently increase the acidity and draw calcium from the poultry bones. According to PCC Nutrition Educator Leika Suzumura, just 1 teaspoon of vinegar will triple the calcium content of your stock.
Pacific Foods Simply Stock
Just south of Portland, Ore., Pacific Foods is responding to the growing demand for ingredients that form the building blocks of great recipes. Their new line of organic stocks based on classic culinary traditions has our grocery staff absolutely raving about the authentic flavor.
Organic Simply Chicken Stock is made by simmering meat, bones and mirepoix (celery, carrots and onions) for hours, adding each ingredient at just the right time and letting rich, complex flavors develop. The result is a savory stock that adds depth and enhances the flavor of sauces, gravies, sautés and braises.
All the chickens used in Simply Stock are raised and sourced from Pacific’s own farms to ensure the organic chickens were raised with the best animal welfare practices and guarantee every package can be traced back to its source.
Both the Chicken Stock and Vegetable Stock are unsalted, so you control your own seasoning.
PCC is the exclusive retailer in the Seattle market to carry these stocks for six months.