As grilling season is slowing approaching, one starts to daydream of the aroma of seasoned meats and charcoal. During those summer months we tend to cook a greater quantity of meats and seafood on either a charcoal or gas grill, tailgate with our friends or cook on an open camp fire. So this leads to the question of “What to do with all the meat, fish and poultry bones and seafood shells?” Well make homemade stocks of course!
When trimming off bones, carcasses and removing seafood from its shell, remember to save them for later use. Simply separate by type of bone and place in a food safe freezer container or zip top bag. Clearly label what type of bone or shell is inside along with the date. These should be placed directly in the freezer and will hold for up to a year.
Here are some items to save:
Chick bones and the carcass
Turkey bones and the carcass
Fish bones and heads
Lobster bodies, meat removed
Shells of clams, oysters, crab
Once you have saved enough bones or shells you are ready to make a stock. Locate a basic stock recipe for the amount of bones you have, these recipes will specify the weight of bones needed. Most stocks will call for the use of a mirepoix, which is chopped carrots, celery and onions. Darker beef, pork and veal stocks will also recommend baking the bones first to caramelize them and to draw out a richer flavor.
Always start a stock off with cold water, never hot, to keep the stock clear and prevent cloudiness. Add in aromatics is a cheesecloth pouch tied with butcher’s twine including parsley stems, peppercorns, and bay leaves. Lastly, remember to keep the stock at a gentle simmer to develop the flavor. Remove any grease off the surface with a spoon throughout the cooking process.
Here are the general cooking guidelines:
Fish Stocks 1-2 hours
Poultry Stocks 4-6 hours, (chicken, turkey)
Brown Stocks 6-8 hours (beef, veal, pork)
Cool your stock completely, preferably over an ice bath, and store in containers in the freezer. These stocks make a great addition to your homemade soups and sauces in the fall and winter months. Enjoy!