So how many stocks do you keep on hand?

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by stirfrychef, Dec 8, 2015.

  1. stirfrychef

    stirfrychef

    Messages:
    29
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    Hello!  This is my first post in what looks like a great community.

    I'm a pretty green home cook (been cooking for about a year), and I want to take my cooking to the next level by making my own stocks.  I've yet to make a stock, and I'm a little confused about how to go about it.  I see multiple recipes from multiple cookbooks I own that call for using their proprietary stock for the recipe -- but if I did this I'd have to make at least three different types of chicken stock!  That's a lot of work.  Clearly there has to be some kind of compromise. 

    In the past, when a recipe called for stock, it would say to use the recipe's stock or any low-sodium chicken broth.  But now I'm looking at some of the more ambitious recipes, and they all call for using their own stock.

    I'm specifically looking at Chinese dishes, and there are three different chicken stocks in the books I own.  Can I guess that the one with the most basic ingredients would be the one that is most "safe" to use universally, and would at least be an improvement over store-bought stuff?  And can any of these stocks be used for ANY recipe, not just Chinese?

    Below are the three stocks in question, starting with the most basic and going to the most elaborate.  Could someone tell me if any of these stocks/broths would be good for a) most Chinese/asian dishes and b) any dish.

    Thanks!

    STOCK 1:

    -(1) 4-lb chicken

    -2 tsp salt

    -(2) 1/2" thick slices ginger

    STOCK 2:

    -2 lbs chicken bones

    -1 pound chicken parts (wings, backs)

    -2" piece of fresh ginger, unpeeled

    -a couple scallions

    STOCK 3:

    -2 whole chickens with giblets (about 8 pounds)

    -4 lbs chicken wings

    -8 ounces fresh ginger, unpeeled

    -6 whole white garlic cloves, peeled

    -1 bunch scallions, cut into thirds

    -4 onions, quartered

    -4 ounces coriander sprigs

    -1/2 cup sauteed onions

    -1/2 cup boxthorn seeds

    -3 tbsp salt
     
  2. chefbuba

    chefbuba

    Messages:
    2,223
    Likes Received:
    483
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    Just make a basic stock, if all you cook is Chinese then add the ginger, if not, leave it out so that you can use the stock in something else.
     
    flipflopgirl likes this.
  3. teamfat

    teamfat

    Messages:
    3,986
    Likes Received:
    387
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    Chicken feet, wing tips, necks and backs all are good additions to stock. Salt is usually not needed in making stock, it can be added later when you are actually doing a specific dish. Roasting the bones and bits in a hot oven before tossing in the stock pot can add a bit of color and flavor.

    Having your stock turn out like this is a good thing:


    Nice gelatin formation. This is the day after, what it can look like after overnight in the fridge.

    mjb.
     
  4. chefbillyb

    chefbillyb

    Messages:
    2,076
    Likes Received:
    417
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    It may be easier for you to have beef and chicken base on hand. Look for " Better than Bouillon " at your grocery store. 
     
  5. brianshaw

    brianshaw

    Messages:
    2,989
    Likes Received:
    290
    Exp:
    Former Chef
    For everyday cooking at home I use chicken or beef base that I keep in the refrigerator. For special occasion cooking I make a stock, but not in the quantities that your recipes infer, and not as complex. I make mine rather basic and adapt that to specific recipes.

    One popular TV chef that I really respect on this topic is Lidia Bastianich. Her mantra is use whatever stock you have, and if you don't have any use water. Her attitude is one I can agree with. There are other aspects of a dish that I think are worth slaving over more than the stock.
     
  6. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

    Messages:
    4,436
    Likes Received:
    397
    Exp:
    Retired Hospitality
    All great tips.

    I just want to reinforce the notion of no/very little salt and very basic ingredients when making an all purpose stock.

    I save up my bones and scraps in a tub that lives in my freezer.

    Sometimes I will be lucky enuf to run across spare parts ( see @teamfat  's post) and then I will lightly roast them (way richer flavor...try it both ways).

    Bones into the pot with cleaned and chunked up carrots, onions and celery.

    This is the perfect time to use up all of the "ugly but still fresh" veg in the reefer ;-)

    Add water to cover, bring to a boil and then lower to simmer.

    I cover at the beginning just to make sure there is plenty of liquid to leach the flavor from the ingredients and remove to reduce when the veg is completely limp and flavorless.

    Strain and freeze in ice cube trays then into a freezer container (perfect size for smallish family dish).

    The only time I use the whole chix is when making a casserole or salad.

    When that happens I remove the chicken before it overcooks but then I only have a broth.

    mimi

    Look around in the soup section of a largish grocery store and you may find good basic stock pastes (Better than Bullion is my go to) along with assorted demis.

    No shame in using those if you find they fit your needs.

    Welcome to Chef Talk!

    m.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2015
    meezenplaz likes this.
  7. mike9

    mike9

    Messages:
    2,404
    Likes Received:
    338
    Exp:
    Former Chef
    Welcome aboard - If you use onions, or garlic in your stock don't peel them the skins will add flavor and you're going to strain it anyway.  I leave my stock pot in the fridge, or in my mud room when it's cold.  Then I can remove the solidified fat on the top.  As for how many I keep on hand I have "meat" stock made from beef and veal bones, goose stock, chicken stock and I'm fixin' to make some duck stock tomorrow.  I freeze it in gallon zip lock bags laid on their side so they are flat and stack then in the freezer.  Don't forget your sharpie - I hate "stock surprise". 
     
  8. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

    Messages:
    4,436
    Likes Received:
    397
    Exp:
    Retired Hospitality
    I HAVE to peel.

    Some sort of genetic flaw I suppose lol .

    mimi
     
  9. jimyra

    jimyra

    Messages:
    888
    Likes Received:
    163
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    I keep chicken broth, beef broth or stock, and ham or pork broth in the freezer in pint containers.  If I am out in a pinch I will use Better Than.  Buba is correct make a basic stock and add salt and flavor for each dish. 
     
  10. dreamshards8

    dreamshards8

    Messages:
    73
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Line Cook
    I always have a very basic chicken stock in my freezer. Carrots, onion, celery, and a sachet. When I am really on top of it I have a beef stock but it doesn't last long. :p I also love making extra ramen broth to freeze when I am making ramen. You can find a great recipe but usually it had pork as the base. Having chicken, beef, and pork stock on hand would be my choice but I wouldn't bother with having different kinds of chicken stock.
     
  11. kaneohegirlinaz

    kaneohegirlinaz

    Messages:
    4,998
    Likes Received:
    330
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    The other stock that I keep in my deep freeze (in the same manner as @chefbuba

    is Vegetable.  And a big yes to NO SALT ADDED.


    I portion mine in 1 cup sizes as well in an ice cup tray, which is approximately 1 Tablespoon (mine is anyways).

    We've dramatically cut back on our salt consumption, so I stopped using any of the jarred/dried stuff, too salty for us.
     
  12. happyhound

    happyhound

    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    23
    Exp:
    Former Chef
    I would agree in using "better than bullion" for everyday cooking but the one thing I must have in the freezer is several containers of a nice dark and rich homemade duck stock. Oh baby...
     
  13. jimyra

    jimyra

    Messages:
    888
    Likes Received:
    163
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    If I use other than house made I do not add additional salt.  I have been on a low salt diet for many years.

    Good post about the cubes.
     
    kaneohegirlinaz likes this.
  14. annieskitchen

    annieskitchen

    Messages:
    55
    Likes Received:
    16
    Exp:
    At home cook
    After making homemade turkey sausage patties from frozen turkey breast, I make stock from the bones and can it in a pressure canner.

    Beef bones are collected and frozen one by one as meat is cooked until there are enough to make a batch of beef stock.

    I use them as clear soup and as bases, as needed.

    It's "free food" as the bones would have been discarded anyway, and it good, clean food without preservatives, etc.
     
    kaneohegirlinaz likes this.
  15. teamfat

    teamfat

    Messages:
    3,986
    Likes Received:
    387
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    The Asian market down the street has frozen duck feet. Lately I've been adding them to my chicken stocks. A nice boost in flavor and richness.

    mjb.
     
  16. phaedrus

    phaedrus

    Messages:
    1,550
    Likes Received:
    121
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    At home I don't have much in my fridge except soda waters and condiments in case I ever get food./img/vbsmilies/smilies/wink.gif   At work I keep chicken stock and jus on hand, both made from commercial bases.  The only stock I make from scratch is veal because...veal!/img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif
     
  17. planethoff

    planethoff

    Messages:
    445
    Likes Received:
    194
    Exp:
    Other
    Experiment with variations of all three recipies (and more) and find the one you like best.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2015
  18. ce catering

    ce catering

    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Professional Caterer
    Nice tips about the freezing in bags and also leaving the skins on the garlic.. love learning new tips every day...
     
  19. jake t buds

    jake t buds

    Messages:
    857
    Likes Received:
    77
    Exp:
    Other
    Chicken stock

    Beef stock

    Vegetable stock

    Fish stock. I like to poach fish, and make sauces for. . . fish. 

    I've gotten into the habit of roasting bones first. Add the veggies after half way through. Adds a great depth of flavor and color. I should also add that stocks aren't only made with bones. Meats add great flavor. 

    I also make triple strength iced cubes of stock, then bag them. 

    It should also be noted that once you bring your stock to boil, lower to barely a simmer, skim periodically as necessary. Fish stock takes about 30 minutes. 

    Once I have a base stock, I add ingredients to target the flavor - star anise, cinnamon, ginger etc. Chinese, Pho, etc. Ramen stocks are a different thing altogether.