Friday, 22 April 2011

Investing in Stock

Cooking as much as I do has the potential to generate a fair bit of waste.  Stock is an important tool in my kitchen:  It reduces waste and it provides a flavour base for many of my dishes. 

My stock pot can almost always be found simmering on the back burner of my stove.  The outside leaves of the cabbage, the ends of tomatoes, turnip peels, left-over carrot sticks, celery trimmings, small ends of cooked meats and deli cuts, chicken and turkey carcasses, and left over beef and pork bones all find a home there, together with aromatics like garlic and bay.. 

I usually start my stock on Sunday, and continue to add to it throughout the week.  I strain it, cool it, and refrigerate it each night.  The following day, I bring it to a full, rolling boil and check to ensure it’s wholesome before reducing it to a simmer and adding new ingredients.  I don’t salt my stock until I’m actually using it in a dish. 

I use stock for a lot of things.  I make soup from it, of course, and gravy.  I cook rice in it. If I’m making mashed potatoes I cook my spuds in it. I use it to flavour pasta sauces, and to cook dumplings.  If I have a surplus, I freeze it. A good supply of stock is invaluable.

We’re all thinking green these days so why not consider making your own stock?  It’ll reduce your kitchen waste, it’s economical to make, and you won’t be sending all those cardboard containers to the landfill.  It’ll probably taste better than the store-bought stuff too.

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