Friday, 4 February 2011

A Good Stock

Mrs Beeton writes a recipe for Pocket-Soup.  An elaborate recipe, bringing one step-by-step through a lengthy process in which an animal carcass is slowly transformed into a dehydrated stock cube – an art indeed.

While the sight of a pot of Bisto, a stock cube and even an artisanal organic bouillon horrifies me, I will uphold the merits of a good stock.  Primarily, a Stock is an excellent example of the beneficial use of waste products, it’s a sort of alternative to the compost… and it doesn’t have to contain meat, one of the best summer stocks is the simple combination of Pea-Pods and Onion Skins.  

My Uncle has sent through pics of his post-Christmas Goose Stock.  The Recipe is as follows: add one Onion in its skin + 2 large Carrots + 2 Celery Sticks to 1 Goose Carcass, cover with water and simmer for +/- 8 hours, adding water when needed to cover carcass. 
Made by covering the ingredients in water, bringing to the boil and then allowing to simmer very slowly, preferable overnight, it is then strained, and the liquid kept.  The liquid can be used in soups or stews, where it adds a depth of flavour and structure to a dish, as a consomm√© on its own or as a simple addition to rice.

The joy of a stock is that you can use anything you can find, and each is a unique creation.  An excuse to let your creative juices run, Carrot tops, Bay leaves, Garlic Skins, Giblets and Lemon Rind are just some of the ingredients I like to stuff into the stock pot.  It is not quite alchemy, but certainly has something of the potion about it.  I never add salt to a stock but alter the salt levels when actually using the stock to cook with.  It can be used immediately (if it contains a lot of fat cool first and skim off with a metal spoon) or frozen and saved for another occasion.

p.s. More Stock Recipes avidly awaited!  Send to


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