Martha Stewart's Cooking School: Episode 4, Stocks
Squid Ink is going back to basics with Martha Stewart's Cooking School, airing every weekend through the end of the year on PBS. Join us.
A. Trachta Vegetable stock, simmering
See also: Martha Stewart's Cooking School: Episode 1, Eggs
See also: Martha Stewart's Cooking School: Episode 2, Sauces
See also: Martha Stewart's Cooking School: Episode 3, Vegetables
You've heard this claim time and again, from Mark Bittman, Michael Ruhlman, nearly every Food Network personality and certainly from Martha Stewart: Homemade stock is better than anything you could pour out of a carton or can. And you've never doubted it. But that doesn't necessarily mean you've taken the time to make it.
The hours it takes isn't really the problem -- slow cooking is the easy part. What's hard is being an organized enough person not to discard the scraps that you could later turn into stock when cooking other meals. That's an art, and probably the biggest lesson we learned from this episode of Martha Stewart's Cooking School: to be ever-stingy with ends of squashes and carrots, beef bones, chicken backs and the like. Keeping and freezing those bits until you're ready to use them is what makes the stock-making process truly economical.
First, turn the page to see recipes for chicken, beef and vegetable stocks, courtesy of the Martha Stewart team.
Basic Chicken Stock Makes 2 1/2 quarts 5 pounds assorted chicken parts (backs, necks, legs, and wings), rinse 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into 2-inch lengths 2 celery stalks, chopped into 2-inch lengths 2 medium onions, peeled and cut into quarters 2 dried bay leaves 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns 1. Place chicken parts in a stockpot just large enough to hold them with about 3 inches of room above (an 8-quart pot should do) and add enough water to cover by 1 inch (about 3 quarts). Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, using a ladle to skim impurities and fat that rise to the top. 2. Add vegetables, bay leaf, and peppercorns and reduce heat to a bare simmer (bubbles should just gently break the surface). Cook, skimming frequently, for at least 1 1/2 hours and up to 4 hours. 3. Pass stock through a cheesecloth-lined sieve into a large heatproof measuring cup or another bowl or pot; do not press on solids. Discard solids. 4. Skim off fat if using immediately, or let cool completely (in an ice-water bath, if desired) before transferring to airtight containers. Refrigerate at least 8 hours to allow the fat to accumulate at the top; lift off and discard fat before using or storing stock. Cook's Note: Stock can be refrigerated up to 3 days or frozen up to 3 months; thaw completely in the refrigerator before using.
Brown Beef Stock Makes 3 1/2 quarts 4 pounds veal bones, such as knuckles and shin 2 pounds short ribs or oxtail (optional; add 3 more pounds veal bones if not using ribs) 3 tablespoons sunflower or other neutral-tasting oil 2 tablespoons tomato paste 2 onions, unpeeled and quartered 2 celery stalks, each cut into thirds 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces 4 garlic cloves, unpeeled and crushed 1 cup water or red wine 6 sprigs flat-leaf parsley 4 sprigs thyme 2 dried bay leaves 2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns 1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. 2. Arrange bones and short ribs in a single layer in a large, heavy roasting pan. Drizzle with oil and turn to coat. Roast, turning once and stirring often for even browning, until beginning to brown, about 45 minutes. Remove from oven, add tomato paste, and stir to combine. Cook over medium heat for about 30 seconds (to let it brown a little, which cooks out some of the acidity and intensifies the sweetness), then add vegetables, stirring well. Return to oven and roast until vegetables are browned and tender and bones are deeply browned, about 40 minutes. 3. Transfer bones and vegetables to a large stockpot, then spoon off fat from roasting pan and discard. Set the pan over two burners. Add water and bring to a boil, scraping up any brown bits from bottom with a wooden spoon. Boil until liquid is reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Pour contents of pan into the stockpot. 4. Add enough water to stockpot to cover bones and vegetables by 2 inches (about 6 quarts). Bring to just under a boil, then reduce heat to a bare simmer (bubbles should just gently break at the surface). Add herbs and peppercorns and very gently simmer, uncovered, over low heat for 8 hours, adding more water as necessary to keep everything submerged. 5. Carefully pour stock through a cheesecloth-lined sieve (do not press on solids) into a large heatproof bowl or another stockpot; discard solids. Stock will be dark brown. Skim off fat if using immediately or let cool completely (in an ice water bath, if desired) before transferring to airtight containers. Refrigerate at least 8 hours to allow the fat to accumulate at the top; lift off and discard fat before using or storing. Cook's Note: Brown stock can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months; thaw completely in the refrigerator before using.
Vegetable Stock Makes 2 quarts 3 tablespoons olive oil 1 large onion, peeled, half coarsely chopped, the other half kept whole 2 large celery stalks, sliced 1/2-inch thick 2 medium carrots, unpeeled and sliced 1/2-inch thick 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced 1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns 8 sprigs flat-leaf parsley 8 sprigs basil 4 sprigs thyme 2 dried bay leaves Salt and pepper 1. Heat the oil in a medium stockpot over medium until hot but not smoking. Add chopped onion and cook, stirring often, until beginning to brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Add celery, carrots, garlic, and peppercorns; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. 2. Pour in enough water to cover vegetables by 1 inch (8 to 10 cups) and add herbs and remaining half onion. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer and cook, uncovered, 1 hour. 3. Pour stock through a fine sieve into a large bowl or another pot, pressing on vegetables to extract as much flavorful liquid as possible. Discard solids. If not using immediately, cool in an ice-water bath before transferring to airtight containers. Cook's Note: Vegetable stock can be refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 3 months; thaw completely before using.
Next up, see how our first attempt at homemade stock went.