Making our own stock is a terrific way to fit healthy eating into our special diet and busy lifestyle.
You’re in full control of what goes into your stock, so that means you can make it low- or no-sodium, fat- and additive-free, and season it to suit your specific tastes. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, you can have a beautiful, satisfying vegetable stock full of all your favorite seasonal veggies! For the meat lovers, your possibilities are endless… chicken, turkey, beef, lamb, and even fish stocks are options.
You could also make this in a slow cooker if you like. When I do this, I add veggies, meats, herbs, cover with water, cover, and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.
Gluten Free Gigi Tip!
Use veggies, roots, starches like cabbage, yucca, and potatoes in small amounts, as they will cloud your stock. A little is fine. Cabbage flavor also tends to overpower stock and you may not like this. Of course, if you do, go for it! Use what you like best, and experiment!
Of course, you do not have to use scraps. If this idea is unappealing to you, select your favorite vegetables (and meats, if using) for your stock and simply cut them into chunks (about 2-inch is a good size, but whatever you like will work just fine!).
Uses for your homemade stock:
- Use it (in equal amounts) in place of water when cooking rice, quinoa, millet, or other gluten free grains for a huge flavor boost!
- Use it to replace fat in stir fry recipes; for example, instead of using 2 Tablespoons of oil to stir fry vegetables, use 1/2 Tablespoon oil and 2 – 3 Tablespoons of your homemade stock!
- Use homemade stock for the liquid (either water, milk, or cream) in your mashed potatoes. You’ll find you don’t need to add butter or dairy free butter substitutes for that added flavor! You can skip the gravy, too! Unless you really love gravy, in which case…
- Use your homemade stock to make gravy! Here’s how: For each cup of boiling stock, whisk in this mixture: 1 Tablespoon starch (potato, corn, tapioca, etc.) and 1 Tablespoon cold water, stirred until smooth.
- Enjoy your homemade stock plain and simple, from your favorite mug, to warm you all winter long.
Make your own stock super-affordable by…
- Using seasonal veggies; if they’re in season, they’re more affordable!
- Using your “scraps”. This means that poultry carcass you usually toss out, the bones you had your butcher cut out of the roast, and all those veggie “scraps” you usually throw away or compost. Store these in the freezer until you’re ready to make stock, then toss them in. You don’t even need to thaw them!
- If you’re eating a veggie-rich diet all week long, save bits and ends from any or all of these: onions (not skins), carrots, leeks, parsnips, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, citrus peels, dark leafy greens, and even apples (they add just a hint of sweetness that I love!).
- Using trimmings from fresh herbs; although stems do not work in recipes calling for fresh herbs, they are incredibly flavorful and most work well in stocks.
Suggestions for variety:
There are many options; these are a few of my simple favorites…
Add a chicken carcass or 1 to 2 large pieces of chicken (either dark or white meat, skin off)
Add vegetables like onions, carrots, celery, garlic
Add herbs and spices like sage, thyme, rosemary, white pepper
Optional: add 1 cup dry white wine with water
Add 1 to 2 pounds beef bones (ask your butcher to saw these into 3-inch long pieces for you)
Add vegetables like onions, celery, garlic
Add herbs and spices like peppercorns, bay leaves, thyme
Optional: add 1 cup red wine along with water
Add 1 to 2 pounds of fish bones with a little meat on them (ask your local fishmonger for leftovers, they may give them to you!)
Add vegetables like garlic, onion, celery
Add herbs and spices like pink peppercorns, capers, thyme
Optional: add 1 cup white wine along with water
How to Make Homemade Stock
- Vegetables, meats, herbs, seasonings *
- Place vegetables, herbs, spices, and meats (if using) in your stock pot.
- Add enough water to cover pot contents completely (about 2 inches over my veggies)
- Bring the water to a full boil
- Reduce heat to low
- Cover, and simmer for 1-2 hours or longer. ***
- Turn off the heat and allow the broth to cool (veggies, etc. still in it) to room temperature.
- Scoop out the contents
- Strain the broth
- Store it in a large airtight container or pitcher in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Stock will keep in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Do not add salt to your stock. Wait to do this when you are ready to use it.
* Amounts vary depending on what you have on hand, so I’m not providing specific quantities here.
** As long as your pot holds the amount of veggies and water you wish to use with enough space so it won’t boil over, you’re good!
*** Your stock should be “done” in a couple of hours; however, when I add meats, especially if they are frozen when I start, I tend to simmer my stock for up to 4 hours to make sure I’ve achieved a safe temperature for cooking meat products.