"What's for dinner?" the children yell at me as they come stampeding in the door. This is a dangerous moment. Answer correctly and all will be well.
Answer incorrectly and all will be lost.
Lost to those contagious howls of "yuck!" and "I don't like it!"
But I know I'm fine. I have my secret ingredient.
My homemade stock.
I know. I know. You’re busy. You really don’t have time to do things like make stock. People who have nannies have home made stock. The rest of us have stuff that comes out of a carton.
This is what I used to think.
Until I actually tried it.
Now I think that home made stock is awesome.
It’s quick. It’s easy. It’s healthy.
But the best bit is that it makes your food REALLY tasty.
Your kids will be asking for more!
As a really busy mum with with 6 hungry mouths to feed I find it a really good use of my time. Plus, I’m not prepared to compromise on health or taste!
Why is Home Made Stock so Great?
- It’s cheap. I use bits and left overs that would otherwise go in the bin.
- I don’t have to worry about salt content. I don’t add any salt.
- It makes my food really tasty. I can use the stock to add to soups or sauces. It gives them a real lift and makes them super tasty. The kids will eat pretty much anything that I make using home made stock.
- It’s convenient. You can keep it in the fridge for a few days and just use it when you need to.
- It’s quick to make. It takes about 5 minutes to put everything into a stock pot and about 2 minutes to drain it. That’s it. That’s all I do.
How to Make Vegetable Stock
I make vegetable stock every week. I save up bits of vegetables, the stalk of a broccoli, the end bit of celery in the fridge. Or I use the outside leaves of a cabbage. I also sacrifice a few bits and pieces, namely the odd carrot and onion.
The Basics of a Vegetable Stock
- A carrot
- An onion
- Bay leaf
Other good things to put in your Vegetable Stock
- Cabbage leaves
- Leeks (especially the dark green bit that’s a bit old to eat)
- Bits of broccoli
How to Make Vegetable Stock
You can’t go wrong, it’s so easy.
Put everything into a large stock pot and cover with hot water. (I use 2 kettles full, that’s about 2.5 litres.) Simmer it for half an hour and that’s it. Drain it and leave it in the fridge for when you want to use it.
Do I need to Reduce my Stock?
You can if you like, but I don’t bother. You can boil off the liquid so that you’re left with a more concentrated version that you can store in the freezer without using up loads of space. My stock never makes it to the freezer so I don’t bother.
How to Make Chicken Stock.
Do the same but add some chicken! You can either use raw bones or a cooked carcass. (Cooks recommend using raw bones but I often use a cooked carcass and it turns out fine.) Make sure you only simmer the stock as if you boil it vigorously it will turn cloudy. (You can still use it, it just doesn't look so great.)
"What's for dinner?" the kids yell.
"Risotto!" I answer, knowing that I'll be met with cries of "hooray!" and "yum! my favourite!"
And you've guessed it, it's made with my secret ingredient.
Homemade chicken stock