These Recipes have
been copied with permission from the Better Times
Almanac of Useful Information, 5th Edition
Bob Waldrop, founder The Oscar Romero Catholic
No, we aren't talking about Wall Street. A great
soup, sauce, or gravy begins with a great "stock",
that is, beef, pork, chicken, or vegetables simmered
in water so that the water becomes intensely
flavored. The best restaurants make their own
stocks, and that is one of the secrets of their
success. You can add a lot of quality and flavor to
your home cooked meals if you make your own stocks.
You can also save a lot of money too.
Leftovers are fine!
Use leftover chicken, or the "less favorable" pieces
like backs and necks, leftover veggies, leftover
roast, trimmings from vegetables (like potato
skins), and bones. Don't use any leftovers, however,
that are too far past their prime. These recipes can
be adapted based on what you have on hand. If you
have doubts about a particular vegetable, cook it by
itself in some water and see how it tastes.
if you ask at the meat market for soup bones, you
will get bones with meat attached and they are more
expensive. Ask for bones for your dog, you'll
probably get them for free or they will be very
cheap. When roasting the bones in the oven, DO NOT
LET THEM TURN BLACK! You want a nice brown, NOT
black. If they burn, trim the burned part off or get
more bones and start again as burned bones will make
the stock bitter. You can also ask for "beef
trimmings", which will be bits of meat and fat, if
you use trimmings (or stew meat, which some people
do but that cut is more expensive), add it to the
roasting pan when you put the bones in the oven.
An alternative to roasting the carrots and onions is
to dice them and then saute them in butter or olive
oil until they caramelize (turn a bit brown). This
is also achieved by roasting them with the bones.
The point of this is to add rich and robust flavors
to the beef stock. Add the celery towards the end of
the saute process as celery has so much water it
doesn't caramelize very well. You can also
substitute tomato paste for a whole tomato. Don't
use vegetables in the cabbage family (cabbage,
broccoli, kale, turnips, cauliflower) Don't use
ground or powdered herbs, use whole peppercorns
rather than ground black pepper.
Stock Cooking Notes:
The best pots for making stock are tall and narrow.
Meat stocks benefit from long, slow cooking (5 to 8
hours), vegetable stocks are done in less than an
hour. Always skim off any scum that rises to the top
during the cooking process. When the stock is
finished, strain it to remove any bits and pieces.
If desired, it can be further reduced by boiling
until it's consistency is sort of like a bouillon
cube that has been mixed with a small amount of
water. This is called a demi-glace. Since stock
making can be quite a production, make more than you
will need and freeze it for later. It would be easy
to make stock for a month in one day. One great way
to freeze it is to put it in ice cube trays and use
each cube as you would a bouillon cube.
Chicken Soup Stock
4 stalks celery, chopped 6 carrots, chopped 2 yellow
6 black peppercorns
1/2 bay leaf
Chicken necks and backs or other misc pieces or the
bones from two chickens
Peel onions before chopping. Chop the vegetables in
large pieces, do not include the leaves from the
celery (they can be bitter). Put the chickens in
soup pot and cover with water. Simmer for 1 hour.
Skim off any scum or froth that rises to the top,
also any fat.. Add the vegetables. Note that
"simmer" is not a rapid boil. When finished, strain
and use immediately, or refrigerate or freeze it for
use later. After Thanksgiving and Christmas, use the
bones from your turkey to make turkey stock.
2 stalks celery | 3 large Carrots | 1 large Onion |
1 large tomato | 1/2 cup cubed potatoes | 2 cloves
Garlic | 8 peppercorns } 4 sprigs fresh parsley |1
bay leaf | 2 tsp dried thyme | 1 tablespoon salt |
12 cups water | 5 or 6 pounds beef bones, best if
cut into 2" pieces.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (230 degrees C). Slice
onion. Chop scrubbed celery and carrots into 1-inch
chunks. In a large shallow roasting pan place soup
bones, onion, and carrots. Bake, uncovered, about 30
minutes or until the bones are well browned, turning
occasionally. Drain off fat. Place the browned
bones, onion, and carrots in a large soup pot or
Dutch oven. Put the empty roasting pan on a burner
and add about a half cup water and move it around
with a spoon or spatula in order to "deglaze" the
pan, pour this and any little bits and pieces of
meat or vegetables into the soup pot. If you want to
know, these bits and pieces are called "fond" and
add LOTS of flavor. Add celery, tomato, parsnips,
potato parings, peppercorns, parsley, bay leaf,
salt, thyme, garlic and water. Bring mixture to a
boil. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 5 hours.
Strain stock. Adding the vegetables at the beginning
of the simmering process will enhance the flavor of
the vegetables in the stock. The carrots will give
it a sweeter taste. If you want a less sweet stock,
or want the flavor of the vegetables to be more
subdued, add them in the last hour of cooking..
Basic Vegetable Stock
1 tbsp olive oil |1 large onion | 2 large carrots |1
bunch green onions, chopped | 8 cloves garlic,
minced |8 sprigs fresh parsley | 6 sprigs fresh
thyme | 2 bay leaves |1 teaspoon salt |2 quarts
water | 2 stalks celery
Chop scrubbed vegetables into 1-inch chunks.
Remember, the greater the surface area, the more
quickly vegetables will yield their flavor. Heat oil
in a soup pot. Add onion, celery, carrots,
scallions, garlic, parsley, thyme, and bay leaves.
Cook over high heat for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring
frequently. Add salt and water and bring to a boil.
Lower heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
Strain. Discard vegetables. Other ingredients to
consider: mushrooms, eggplant, asparagus (butt
ends), corn cobs, bell peppers, pea pods, chard
(stems and leaves), celery root parings, marjoram
(stems and leaves), basil, potato parings . . . Get