Here at Greenling, we’re constantly on a mission to use as much of the vegetable as possible. Beet greens? Sauteed and delicious! Skins? We eat ‘em on almost everything! But sometimes there are parts of the vegetable you just don’t want to eat (the bottoms of onions, tough ends of celery), or maybe you simply have too much to use before the vegetable goes bad. Don’t worry, there’s a tasty solution for that- homemade chicken or vegetable stock! Homemade stock is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to add flavor and depth to your meals all while reducing kitchen waste.
You probably won’t have to buy veggies to make your stock- simply scraps alone will suffice! A good plan of action is to simply keep an airtight container or gallon ziplock bag in your freezer that you can toss scraps/unused veggies in as you cook. You can do the same thing with herbs- if you’re not going to use them before they go bad, add them to the bag. It is important to make sure you scrub and wash your vegetables! Use common sense- cut and discard moldy or slimy parts. You’ll want to use each stock bag within a few weeks.
Similarly, if you’d like to make chicken (or beef) stock, buy a whole chicken and keep the neck, back, and wings, and any bones. Store in a separate bag or container in your freezer.
What to use
Onions, green onions, leeks, shallots (skins, peels, cores, trimmings)
carrots (vegetable and green)
celery (stalk and leaves)
mushrooms (and stems)
root veggies (and their leaves)
corn (and cobs)
(note: Brussels sprouts, asparagus, cauliflower, broccoli, fennel, and cabbage impart strong flavors, and beet skins have a tendency to make broth bitter. Avoid these, or add towards the end of cooking time.)
The key to a great tasting stock is to cook slowly, and use a variety of vegetables, herbs, and spices. Balance the strong (onions, celery) with the sweet (carrots, sweet potatoes.) Deb (from Smitten Kitchen, recipe below) simmers her stock uncovered for 3 hours. Similarly, a crockpot is a great solution for strong, delicious stock. You could set your crockpot on the lowest setting before you go to sleep and leave it for 10 hours or more. Taste as you go, the flavor will develop over time. After your stock is finished, you’ll want to strain it through a sieve or fine strainer. Discard or compost the solids. Store stock in the refrigerator for 3-5 days or frozen (in jars or ice cube trays!) for a few months.
Chicken Stock Recipe
Recipe and photo (above) from SmittenKitchen.com
Makes approximately 3.5 quarts
3 1/2 to 4 1/2 pounds chicken necks, backs and wings (omit if making vegetable stock)
Contents of your stock bag, cut into chunks (classic combination: onions, celery, turnips, carrots, sweet potatoes)
1 head garlic, cut horizontally in half
1-2 California bay leaf
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
1 tablespoon Kosher salt (optional)
a few bunches of herbs, like parsley or thyme (whatever is in your stock bag)
4 quarts cold water
Bring all ingredients to a boil in an 8- to 10-quart heavy pot. Skim froth. Reduce heat and gently simmer, uncovered for 3 hours. (Or use crock pot method described above.) Pour stock through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl and discard solids. If using stock right away, skim off and discard any fat. If not, cool stock completely, uncovered, before skimming fat, then chill, covered.