By reader request, we’re going to cover the basics of making soup stock today: how to make it and how to use it.
Let’s start with the why you’d make it and how you use it.
Why you make stock:
- It is the basis of good cuisine: everything tastes better with stock
- It boosts the nutritional value of anything you cook with it.
- It’s thrifty: it puts all your odds and ends and slightly past-prime veggies and leftover meat and bones to good use.
- Because boxed and canned stock is foul. Seriously. It’s terrible. In an emergency you’d be better off using a bouillon cube than that stuff.
- It’s easy.
How do you use it?
Think of it as super water. Substitute stock for water whenever you can. Use it:
- As the basis of any soup or stew
- To make sauces and gravy
- To cook beans
- To cook rice
- To cook any whole grain
- To cook pasta and couscous
- To make risotto
- To make polenta
- For braising vegetables or meat
- For sauteing vegetables
- Straight, as a broth
Preparing for stock:
Stock is traditionally made with scraps. So you may want to start a scrap bin for stock in your fridge or freezer. Save those parsley stems, that half onion, those carrot stubs and celery tops! Similarly, meat stocks are made with scraps and bones. Chicken stock can be made with a whole chicken carcass. Fish stock is made with fish bones, shellfish stock is made out of shrimp, lobster or crab shells. Save it all!