I used to be a closet stock-maker because I was embarrassed to admit that I boiled bones. Making your own stock A.K.A. bone broth has become trendy of late. A trend which, I think, will not go out of fashion in a hurry.
Why make stock? Because it's highly nutritious, it's rich in proteins, minerals and gelatin and it's good for the digestive system. The Chinese traditionally give chicken soup made from chicken bones to children and old people and especially when you're sick. The Italians do the same and for Jewish families, it's the **star dish! **
This website gives a good and concise brief on stock AKA broth: http://nourishedkitchen.com/bone-broth/
Here are my 4 very basic stock recipes which I’ve stuck with for many years. I don’t measure. I don’t weigh. It all depends on how much you can fit into your stockpot. Add enough cold water to just cover the ingredients. You can add more water but the stock will not be as rich. With all stocks, bring to the boil, then cover and simmer. After simmering for the required time, strain out the bones and other ingredients to leave you with your stock.
If, after straining the stock, you find it is not as concentrated as you like, you can simmer it uncovered for up to 20 minutes. Monitor to make sure it doesn’t boil dry. Your stock is the basis for a multitude of soups and other dishes. I use it fresh or I freeze it.
I use carrots and celery. If they’re getting old I put the whole vegetable in. If I have a load of veg that’s fresh, I wash the exterior and use the peel. The veg gets used for something else. I also use onion skin, not the very outside but the thick inner skin which can be brown/white in colour.
I always use black peppercorns, I think they give a richer flavour. Just a tablespoon but sometimes I feel generous. Add bayleaves, about a handful. You can add other herbs like thyme and parsley if you have them.
I used to use a stockpot but it takes approx 3-4 times longer. I make stock frequently and time is precious to me, so I invested in one of these beauties. I’ve used it just about every week for almost 20 years. You must not fill more than 2/3 full.
Invest in one of these. They’re indispensable when you want to separate the fat from your stock. Alternatively, leave the stock with fat in a box in the fridge. When cold, skim off the fat. You could use the fat for roasting or frying.
Onion in halves
Put everything in a pot with enough cold water to cover the bones. Leave enough room above to bring to the boil without it boiling over. If using a pressure cooker, remember to not fill more than 2/3 full.
Bring to the boil, then simmer covered for 2 -3 hours, or 30-45 minutes in a pressure cooker. (See? That’s why pressure cookers are so great!)
BEEF OR LAMB STOCK
Beef or lamb bones
Blade of mace (optional)
Heat oven to between 200C/gas 6 and 230C/gas 8. Make sure the bones will fit in your cooking pot. Place them in a roasting tin, add onion, carrot and celery and roast for 45 minutes in order to brown the bones. Baste with the juices occasionally.
Transfer to cooking pot and add enough cold water to cover. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to the boil. Skim to remove the scum from the surface. Cover, leaving a little gap for steam to escape. Simmer gently for 4 hours. If using a pressure cooker, simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hr.
The stock will not be as clear from a pressure cooker so don’t use this for consommé.
STOCK FROM COOKED BONES
Bones or carcass from cooked chicken, or other cooked meat
Onion in halves
Put everything in a pot and add enough cold water to cover.
Bring to the boil. Simmer covered for 1½ - 2 hours in a pot, simmer 30-45 minutes in a pressure cooker.
Fish bones, including fish head
Place all ingredients in a pan with enough water to cover. Bring slowly to the boil, then cover and simmer for 20 minutes. No longer or the stock will become bitter. The head of fish can make fantastic fish stock.
Do not use plaice bones, they make the stock bitter. I rarely use a pressure cooker for fish stock since the time is so short.
Personally I don’t make vegetable stock as I tend to use up my veg making meat stock.
But here’s a basic veggie stock from the Queen of Cooking, Delia: