Often, while watching betchy betch Ina Garten or Queen of Domesticity Martha Stewart, they’ll mention homemade stock, be it beef, veggie, or chicken. For most of us, this is a skip-able step. Why the fuck would you waste time and energy boiling veggies and or meat in water to be used in a recipe who knows when? Isn’t the stuff that comes boxed in the store just as good? I love the taste of saving time so I have more opportunity to read Bachelor recaps, right?
We’re here to rain on your parade. Yes, stock matters.
First off, the difference between stock and broth is what it’s made with. Broth – also called bouillon – is usually made with more meat whereas stock is made with more bony parts – think bits you wouldn’t be as likely to eat like wings and necks – which, by the way, lend a lot of flavor. Stock has a fuller mouth-feel because of all the gelatin from said bones, too. Say mouth-feel again.
So why shouldn’t you buy the boxed shit? Stock or broth or bouillon is the building block of the kitchen, for serious. The stock slash broth you can get in the store in a box is laden with salt and other shit which, by the way, you have total control over if you make your own. Also, making your own is hella cheap. You’re essentially keeping all your kitchen scraps from the week – chicken bones, onion scraps and ends, weird pieces of celery, carrots that may look like dicks, salt, pepper, and water – and boiling them together for something that can be frozen indefinitely and used when you do finally decide to execute Nana’s famous matzo ball soup. Some of the boxed shit – like Trader Joe’s organic stock – isn’t THAT bad, but really should only be used in a pinch if you simply can’t bring yourself to make or use real stock.
It doesn’t stop with chicken or beef or veggies. Buying at the store makes sense if you need chicken or beef or veggie stock, but what about coconut clam and shrimp stock? Yes, you can make that shit yourself with minimal effort. By boiling together shrimp shells, fish bones, veggies, and spices, you have the backbone for an awesome clam chowder. The possibilities are fucking endless.
To get you started, here’s a recipe for super basic chicken stock that can be used in everything from risotto to pasta to basic chicken noodle soup:
Throw everything in a big pot, cover with cold water, and bring to a simmer. Let this bitch simmer for like a few hours (like 5) – yes, really. Stir it every hour or so, but, otherwise, no real work needed. Once you deem it done, take the stock off the heat, let it cool, then strain it – discarding all the solids and keeping the liquid. Put the golden deliciousness into some sort of freezeable container and pop in the freezer for future use. Yay. Done.